Norwich 1, Barnsley 0
David Cuffley Captain for the day Jamie Cureton got Norwich City back on the winning track with the only goal against Barnsley at Carrow Road.Cureton, handed the armband in a team showing six changes from last week’s 4-0 defeat at Leicester, struck after 25 minutes with a crisp volley after Lee Croft’s attempted cross rebounded off the head of defender Dennis Souza.
Captain for the day Jamie Cureton got Norwich City back on the winning track with the only goal against Barnsley at Carrow Road this afternoon.
Cureton, handed the armband in a team showing six changes from last week's 4-0 defeat at Leicester, struck after 25 minutes with a crisp volley after Lee Croft's attempted cross rebounded off the head of defender Dennis Souza.
It was Cureton's ninth goal of the season and his first for two months, and it completed a double over Barnsley after City's 3-1 win in the away fixture last month.
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Prior to that goal, a goal line clearance by Jon Otsemobor had prevented Daniel Nardiello giving the visitors the lead, and in the second half, goalkeeper David Marshall made an excellent save from substitute from Jon Macken.
It was not a classic but it was a winning return to action for Darren Huckerby and there was an impressive debut at centre half for another of Glenn Roeder's loan signings, 19-year-old Alex Pearce.
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City boss Roeder made a total of six changes to the starting 11 from last week's 4-0 defeat at Leicester.
As well as the suspensions for Darel Russell, Dion Dublin and skipper Mark Fotheringham, defender Jason Shackell and winger James Henry were dropped to the bench, while Mo Camara was omitted from the 16 completely.
Defender Alex Pearce, the 19-year-old on loan from Reading, made his debut for City in place of Shackell, with Ryan Bertrand recovering from illness to replace Camara. There was a recall for Darren Huckerby, starting his first league match since December 29, in place of Henry.
Jamie Cureton returned in attack in place of Dublin and was honoured with the captain's armband.
The two midfield vacancies were filled by Matty Pattison and Kieran Gibbs.
There were a couple of surprises on the bench with Robert Eagle, yet to make a first team appearance this season, and this week's new signing, 30-year-old Spanish full-back Juan Velasco, named among the substitutes.
For Barnsley manager Simon Davey, things were a lot simpler. He named the same 11 who started last week's FA Cup tie at Liverpool, where they recorded a memorable 2-1 victory.
The only two changes were on the bench, where Lewin Nyatanga and Jon Macken, both cup-tied last week, were recalled at the expense of Sam Togwell and Michael Coulson.
The biggest cheer before kick off greeted the announcement of Huckerby's name and the Canaries kicked off on an overcast afternoon, attacking the Barclay goal.
A foul on Croft handed City an early free-kick, which Pattison took left footed from the right touchline but his cross was headed away.
As Barnsley broke, a determined run by De Silva won the first corner of the match. Skipper Howard took it, but his in-swinging kick was an easy catch for Marshall.
With just four minutes gone, there was an angry reaction from the home crowd when De Silva blocked off Huckerby as he attacked down the left, but referee Hegley merely waved play on. As play continued, Huckerby carried on protesting to the official.
There were several free-kicks in the early stages and after Bertrand wasted one of them, Barnsley broke again and Pearce was involved for the first time with some neat tidying up to stop a Nardiello getting a run at goal.
Hassell made an excellent tackle on Huckerby to halt his progress in the next City attack, but Huckerby regained possession moments later and his cross reached Cureton who, with his back to goal, was just unable to get the ball under control and the visitors crowded him out and were able to clear.
With nearly 12 minutes gone, Norwich produced their first real attempt on goal with Huckerby laying the ball back to Bertrand, whose cross to the far post found Evans, whose header went just wide of Steele's left hand post. Croft then tried his luck from long range but his right foot shot was well off target.
A foul by Ferenczi on Gibbs gave City another free-kick, which was quickly taken, with the ball being worked out wide to Huckerby, who advanced into the Barnsley area and found Cureton, but the striker's shot was inadvertently blocked by Huckerby as he carried on running.
There was a double scare for City in the space of a minute when Barnsley could easily have taken the lead. First Nardiello latched onto a long clearance out of defence and managed to lob the ball goalwards past Marshall, but Otsemobor came to the rescue, racing back to clear off the line. Moments later, Howard found himself clean through against Marshall and the keeper did well, falling to his left to parry Howard's low shot.
It was certainly a warning to the home side, who had not found any real fluency in the opening 20 minutes.
A comedy of errors in the Barnsley goalmouth almost handed City the lead, however. First Huckerby's ball reached Evans, where the striker's off-target effort was cut out by Kozluk, only for the defender to tee-up a shooting chance for Croft. The winger was perhaps too surprised to take advantage and his follow up shot struck Kozluk and the chance had gone.
Evans spoiled one promising move when he shot well wide with other players better placed, but after 25 minutes, City did take the lead through the captain for the day, Cureton.
Evans appeared to take a blow in the face as he challenged Souza, but the ball dropped for Croft, whose attempted cross then struck Souza and dropped obligingly for Cureton to let fly with a powerful right foot volley which gave Steele no chance. It was Cureton's ninth goal of the season and his first since the home game against Wolves just after Christmas.
Huckerby's persistence won a corner on the left but when he took the kick, it was easily caught by Steele. But Huckerby was beginning to have more influence on the game and another cross found the head of Croft, but the winger was unable to get any direction or power into his effort and Steele made another easy catch.
A foul by Doherty on Nardiello gave Barnsley a free-kick about 15-yards into the Norwich half. The striker was left hobbling as Howard floated the dead ball kick towards Foster, but the centre half's header was well wide.
A push by Pearce on Ferenczi gave the visitors another free-kick, which De Silva aimed towards the penalty spot and it was surprising that Marshall chose to punch rather than catch it, but City were still able to clear and as they pushed forward, Gibbs sent a long range effort off target. In the build up to that Gibbs effort, De Silva turned his ankle badly in trying to control the ball and play was held up while he received attention from the physio and four stretcher bearers. After a short delay, De Silva left the field on a stretcher with his leg strapped and he was replaced by Van Homoet.
An excellent through ball by Doherty sent Croft racing away and Steele had to race from his goal to concede a corner. Huckerby took the kick but only found the head of Kozluk.
Evans was left hobbling for a moment after colliding with Huckerby as they combined to block a clearance from Foster, but the loose ball fell kindly for Barnsley and they were able to snuff out any danger.
Cureton and Croft played a neat one-two in the final minute of the half and Croft aimed his centre towards Gibbs, but the youngster was just unable to get on the end of it.
As the half entered two minutes of stoppage time, Howard exchanged passes with Leon and attempted a shot from the edge of the area, which Marshall was right behind.
Souza was shown the yellow card for a blatant block on Evans as City broke forward. Evans took the resulting free-kick but his shot took a deflection and looped into the air, making a comfortable catch for Steele.
t Half-time: Norwich City 1, Barnsley 0
There were no further changes to either side at the break. Two minutes into the half there was a brief scare for Barnsley when Steele collided with Kozluk in collecting a through ball from Pattison and almost dropped the ball but he managed to grab it at the second attempt.
At the other end, there was a brief hold up while Devaney needed attention after being caught on the thigh in a collision with Pearce.
Norwich made a bright start to the second period with Croft sending Otsemobor racing away and although his centre was cleared, the Canaries kept up the pressure and Huckerby won a free-kick when he was fouled by Van Homoet close to the left hand corner flag.
Huckerby's free-kick was met by the head of Pearce, whose effort was deflected over the top for a corner. Huckerby also took the flag kick, but this time Evans headed wide of the target.
As Barnsley hit back, Kozluk tried his luck from around 25-yards, but his shot was far too high and cleared the bar by several feet, bringing jeers from the home crowd.
There was more anger from the home crowd when Nardiello went down after a challenge from Otsemobor but when the referee stopped play so that he could have attention, he immediately got to his feet and appeared to be none the worse for the collision.
As Barnsley pressed again, Nardiello managed to flick on a cross from Van Homoet, but Marshall reacted quickly and made a clean catch.
Croft set up another opportunity moments later with a pass to Evans and the youngster managed to find enough space to flash a powerful left foot shot just past the post.
Barnsley used their remaining two substitutes after 58 minutes when strikers Macken and Odejayi replaced Nardiello and Leon.
Still Norwich attacked and Cureton sent a first time shot just wide from Otsemobor's cross.
Both new substitutes were quickly into the action and, on the hour, Barnsley might have drawn level when Macken was denied by an excellent save from Marshall and Odejayi, following up, might have done better than send a wild right foot shot wide of the target.
The visitors seemed to be rather injury prone and Hassell was next to sit on the turf, protesting after a challenge by Croft, but eventually he got to his feet and carried on, although he seemed to be examining his right ankle and was not moving too freely.
Gibbs decided to let fly in City's next attack, but he was a long way off target.
There was a glimpse of Huckerby at his best after 69 minutes when he set off on a determined run as far as the edge of the Barnsley area before slipping a pass sideways to Croft, who tested the keeper with a right foot shot.
Still City had to be careful and Otsemobor was a little casual when his clearance was charged down by Howard, leaving Marshall to race out and hammer the ball clear as Ferenczi closed in.
Kozluk conceded a corner when he had to deal with an awkward cross from Bertrand and Croft's flag kick was headed away by Hassell. As Barnsley pushed forward, there was a brief argument between Bertrand and Odejayi after the striker fouled the Norwich man and earned a ticking off from the referee.
Huckerby won another corner after a cross from Bertrand was cut out, but he played it short to Evans and the striker's centre was easily cleared.
Huckerby went down in some discomfort after an attempted tackle on Devaney but play carried on and he was soon back on his feet winning a throw in after harrying Van Homoet.
Apart from Macken's effort, Barnsley had not threatened too much since the break, but City still needed that second goal before they could feel more comfortable.
Henry had begun to limber up on the touchline but with 12 minutes to go, Roeder had yet to use any of his substitutes.
Bertrand conceded a corner under pressure from Odejayi but Doherty was in the right place to head clear from Howard's kick.
Sure enough, with nine minutes left, Henry was sent on but it was perhaps surprising that Evans was the man to make way for him.
Pearce made an excellent block from a shot by Devaney as Barnsley continued to look for that equaliser and then Otsemobor did just enough to prevent Odejayi from getting a sight of goal as he tried to find room for a shot.
Ferenczi was next to let fly but his snapshot from outside the box was far too high to trouble Marshall.
City were coming under more pressure as the minutes ticked away but the back four had performed well and Pearce, growing in confidence, made a couple of important clearances with his head.
With just over a minute left, Devaney got away from Otsemobor and burst into the Norwich area and Doherty did well to get back and divert his shot out for a corner.
Marshall then had to make a timely save from Ferenczi's header to preserve Norwich's lead.
As the game entered stoppage time, Huckerby again broke at speed and set up Croft for a right foot shot which Steele had to beat away, diving to his right.
New signing Velasco was given a late debut as substitute in place of Pattison and immediately took up a midfield role.