Norwich 2, Coventry 0
DAVID CUFFLEY The victory Norwich City so desperately needed was finally secured at Carrow Road this afternoon as goals from Luke Chadwick and Jamie Cureton sank Coventry City. It was the first win in 12 Championship games for the bottom of the table Canaries as manager Glenn Roeder’s decision to make five changes to his starting line-up paid dividends with a battling display.
The victory Norwich City so desperately needed was finally secured at Carrow Road this afternoon as goals from Luke Chadwick and Jamie Cureton sank Coventry City.
It was the first win in 12 Championship games for the bottom of the table Canaries as manager Glenn Roeder's decision to make five changes to his starting line-up paid dividends with a battling display.
Chadwick opened the scoring after 34 minutes when he fired home after Dion Dublin had got his toe to a cross from the on-loan Matty Pattison, making his home debut.
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Cureton made the game safe after 76 minutes when he finished off an excellent move involving substitute Lee Croft, Dublin and Pattison.
Those precious three points do not lift Norwich off the foot of the table, but will put them in much better heart ahead of Tuesday night's trip to Blackpool.
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Norwich boss Roeder wielded the axe in no uncertain fashion after the 3-0 defeat at Plymouth two weeks ago, making five changes to his starting line-up. Back into the side after hamstring injuries came Dion Dublin and Luke Chadwick, while midfielder Mark Fotheringham made his first appearance for three months after suffering ankle ligament damage. Two of Roeder's three new loan signings, full back Mo Camara from Derby and midfielder Matty Pattison from Newcastle were also in the starting 11.
Four of the 11 who began the Plymouth game did not even figure in the 16 - Simon Lappin, Ian Murray, Chris Martin and Michael Spillane, and there was no place either for Julien Brellier.
Winger Lee Croft was relegated to the bench, where he was joined by 18-year-old striker Ched Evans, on loan from Manchester City, defender Gary Doherty, striker Chris Brown and 18-year-old goalkeeper Steven Arnold, standing in for Matthew Gilks, out of action for the next three months with an ankle ligament injury.
Coventry made two changes to the team beaten 4-0 at home by West Bromwich Albion in their last match. The suspended Michael Mifsud and injured Leon Best were replaced by David McNamee and Kevin Kyle. Former Norwich keeper Andy Marshall was on the bench but striker Leon McKenzie did not make the trip to his old club because of fluid on the knee.
Before kick off, a minute's applause was held in memory of former Norwich midfield star Graham Paddon, whose death at the age of 57 was announced on Monday.Paddon began his career at Coventry, so the tribute had special significance for both sets of fans.
Coventry kicked off on a chilly and damp afternoon and in the second minute, Kyle almost set up Adebola for a close range shot, but keeper Marshall was quickly off his line to beat the striker to the ball.
Pattison was operating in a wide left position and he tried to find Cureton with a long through ball, but the striker was flagged offside.
The visitors won a free-kick just into the Norwich half, which was taken by skipper Doyle and met by the head of Adebola, but his effort fell harmlessly wide.
A promising run by Chadwick was halted by a timely challenge from De Zeeuw as the Canaries attacked down the right.
With seven minutes gone, Camara won a throw in on the left touchline and took it quickly, finding Russell, who produced Norwich's first attempt on goal but Konstantopoulos was right behind the midfielder's low right-foot shot.
Norwich were playing some neat football without threatening too much in the early stages and when Fotheringham aimed a cross towards Dublin it was a little too strong and drifted out behind the goal.
A foul by Camara gave Coventry another free-kick wide on the right but the new signing made amends by jumping to head clear as Doyle floated the ball towards the penalty spot.
The visitors look quite spritely and Kyle was next to threaten when he headed over the top from a corner by Doyle.
Kyle then headed wide from a cross by Hall, ducking low and taking a bang on the head from the boot of Taylor in the process.
Excellent work by Russell almost provided the home side with an opening after 16 minutes when he exchanged passes with Otsemobor and crossed low towards the near post, but the keeper was just able to get there ahead of Cureton and snuff out the danger.
Norwich pushed forward again when Otsemobor fed Chadwick. His attempt at a cross was diverted by Turner and although Cureton did not have room for a shot, the ball fell nicely for Fotheringham, whose powerful drive was deflected out for a corner. Fotheringham's flag kick towards the near post was headed clear but still the Canaries kept up the pressure and Russell flashed a header wide from a cross by Otsemobor.
At the other end, Taylor almost got into trouble by trying to dribble clear from around the six-yard box but he managed to recover well.
The Canaries had conceded half a dozen free-kicks but won the first of their own after 24 minutes when Tabb fouled Chadwick, and it led to a comical disallowed goal. Pattison's free-kick was punched away by Konstantopoulos as Dublin challenged him, but the ball fell for Russell, who lobbed it goalwards and it struck Dublin, seemingly unaware, on the back and dropped over the goal line. Just as the home crowd began to celebrate what they thought was a bizarre goal, they were brought down to earth by an offside flag from the linesman.
As Coventry went on the attack, there were muted appeals for a foul when Shackell challenged Adebola on the edge of the area and moments later, Hall spoiled a promising break with a poor left-foot shot which trickled wide.
Adebola took advantage of a fortunate rebound off the referee to test Marshall with a left foot shot, but the home keeper was right behind it.
Finally, the big boost that Roeder and the Canaries so desperately needed arrived after 34 minutes when Chadwick scored his first goal of the season and only his second for the club. It was a well worked move with Otsemobor and Fotheringham getting the ball wide to Pattison on the left and his cross just caught the toe of Dublin before dropping to Chadwick, who managed to tuck it just inside the post as he swivelled to hit a low left-foot shot. It was only the second time Norwich had scored in the first half of a league match at Carrow Road this season.
Coventry were anxious to get back into the match and went forward in numbers but McNamee spoiled one attack with a cross which was too long and dropped behind for a goal kick.
Russell played a neat one-two with Cureton on the right touchline before delivering an excellent cross towards Dublin but the big striker was penalised, not for the first time, for his challenge on Konstantopoulos.
McNamee conceded a free-kick on the halfway line with a clumsy challenge on Pattison which angered the home crowd, but the kick, taken by Camara, was too long and Coventry breathed again.
Dublin was becoming increasingly frustrated by the number of times he was penalised for fouls against his old club.
In first half stoppage time, Adebola almost scored an equaliser when his header from a McNamee cross was grabbed almost on the line by Marshall.
Norwich then wasted a free-kick opportunity when Pattison curled his dead ball effort straight out of play.
In the first minute of the second half, there was a half chance for Cureton but his first time shot from Chadwick's cross flew high into the crowd.
As Coventry pushed forward, Kyle should have done better than plant a header horribly wide from an inviting cross by Adebola.
The visitors were down to 10 men for a period when Kyle hobbled off accompanied by the physio and Cairo began stripping off, ready to replace him. Sure enough, the substitution was made seven minutes into the half.
Moments later, Russell reacted angrily to a reckless challenge by Doyle but Mr D'Urso stubbornly refused to produce the yellow card.
There was controversy when the Canaries felt they should have had a penalty when Otsemobor's cross was clearly blocked by the arm of Turner, but the referee waved play-on and as Coventry broke, Pattison was booked for a foul on Hughes, proving that the official did have a yellow card in his pocket.
A potentially useful move was spoiled when Cureton was ruled offside as he took a pass from Pattison. It was the seventh time Norwich had been caught offside in less than an hour's play.
The referee's baffling decisions continued when a cross by Adebola, which was hit far too hard, went straight out of play on the opposite touchline, yet the visitors were awarded a throw-in.
Adebola then had a header comfortably saved by Marshall before Fotheringham was caught by two bad challenges in quick succession. The first, a late tackle by Adebola, went unpunished but the second by Doyle yielded a free-kick. Still the referee had not booked any Coventry players.
As Norwich pressed again, Camara produced a teasing cross from the left but Dublin's header was blocked, as was the follow up shot by Chadwick.
It was becoming a full-blooded battle, not always pretty to watch, but it certainly got the home crowd going, none more so than when Chadwick produced an excellent tackle to dispossess Adebola.
Coventry made their second change when Andrews replaced Hughes with 25 minutes remaining.
Coventry still looked dangerous and as the game entered the final quarter, Andrews glanced a header just wide from a cross by fellow substitute Cairo.
With 20 minutes left, Pattison produced an excellent pass to Cureton in the inside left position but the striker, cutting inside on to his right foot, curled his shot across the face of the goal.
The Canaries made their first change after 72 minutes when goal scorer Chadwick was withdrawn and replaced on the right side by Croft.
A foul on Croft handed the home side a free-kick five yards in from the right touchline and Fotheringham curled it towards Dublin, whose header, from eight yards out, flashed past the keeper's left-hand post.
The Sky Blues made their final change with a quarter of an hour left when Gray replaced Osbourne.
One minute later Norwich took a real grip on the game when Cureton made it 2-0 with his sixth goal of the season. It was a beautifully worked goal; Croft setting off on a diagonal run and playing a one-two with Dublin before picking out Pattison on the left and his cross towards the far post was knocked gleefully into the roof of the net by Cureton.
There was a hold up in play when Croft fouled Gray and the substitute needed treatment but he was soon back on his feet and firing a left-foot shot wide as Coventry tried desperately to get back into the game.
Pattison was in the thick of the action and after Cureton played him into a good position in the area, he was foiled only by a brave save from Konstantopoulos at the expense of a corner.
There was almost trouble for Norwich with seven minutes left when Taylor completely sliced a long ball from Turner, leaving Andrews with a one-on-one against keeper Marshall who came out bravely to smother the substitute's first effort, before chasing back to tackle him again and prevent the visitors from gaining a lifeline.
As the minutes ticked away, Cureton had a chance to make it 3-0 but was foiled by the keeper.
Camara was left hobbling by a late challenge, but the referee seemed strangely unwilling to give anything and as Coventry pressed again when Cairo had a header saved by Marshall.
In the last minute of normal time, Dublin hobbled off to be replaced by Brown.
There was a lucky escape for Norwich in the first minute of stoppage time when Gray's left-foot shot slipped through Marshall's fingers and struck the post but bounced back kindly for the keeper to collect.