Norwich City 2, Tranmere Rovers 0

David Cuffley Second-half goals from Wes Hoolahan - from the penalty spot - and Gary Doherty gave Norwich City their sixth win in seven League One games at the expense of struggling Tranmere.

David Cuffley

Second-half goals from Wes Hoolahan - from the penalty spot - and Gary Doherty gave Norwich City their sixth win in seven League One games at the expense of struggling Tranmere.

It took the in-form Canaries an hour to get their noses in front however, Hoolahan tucking away his eighth of the season after John Welsh had handled an attempt by Adam Drury.

Doherty scored 10 minutes from time from Hoolahan's pass to make the game safe.


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A crowd of more than 25,000 witnessed yet another home victory for Paul Lambert's promotion-chasers.

In a game played in awful conditions, gusty wind and driving rain, Tranmere had their moments and City had to be grateful for one fine save by Fraser Forster and a bad miss by Chris Shuker before they broke the deadlock.

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Only three of the City side that started Tuesday's Johnstone's Paint Trophy tie at Swindon retained their places, while Michael Theoklitos was named as substitute 'keeper after Declan Rudd suffered a knee injury in training.

Tranmere, second from bottom with just one away win in the league, had injury problems of their own and were able to name only six substitutes.

Before kick-off, Hoolahan was presented with the Anglian Player of the Month award for October. It was also announced that Holt had been named League One Player of the Month for October.

The game kicked off in teeming rain and gusty wind with Tranmere defending the Barclay goal.

Smith came close to making the breakthrough in the sixth minute when he dispossessed Curran and let fly with a right-foot shot that flew just over the bar.

Shuker produced Tranmere's first threatening moment in the 10th minute when he set off on a twisting run and struck a low right-foot shot that forced Forster to dive to his right to push round the post for a corner.

The early downpour eased and with 16 minutes gone, Martin teed up Lappin for a shot, but his low left-foot drive was a yard wide.

Referee Deadman produced the yellow card for the first time after 17 minutes when Welsh fouled Russell.

Forster was brought into action again when Welsh set up Fraughan for a shot from the edge of the area, but the 'keeper was right behind it.

Holt had been given little chance to impress in the opening 25 minutes and one long-range effort was horribly wayward.

Russell was caught in possession by McLaren in his own half, enabling the Tranmere man to set up Shuker for a shot was blocked by Askou at the expense of the visitors' second corner.

An astute pass by Lappin and good battling by Holt earned City a corner, which was played short but cleared for a second flag-kick, Holt's header being blocked at close range by Bakayogo.

Martin did well to create enough space to test Daniels with a low right-foot shot 10 minutes before the break - and conditions were becoming very difficult with torrential rain returning and the wind picking up again.

Drury and Martin did well to create a half-chance for Lappin, but his right-foot shot, off balance, did not trouble Daniels.

There was a big scare for City three minutes before the break when Forster produced a miraculous one-handed save to keep them on terms. McLaren intercepted a pass by Doherty and burst clear, playing a one-two with Ricketts and another with Shuker before sliding in for the return pass with Doherty, but Forster managed to claw his goalbound effort away with his right hand.

From the resulting corner, Goodison prodded the bouncing ball over the top from six yards, but was penalised for a foul.

In the final minute of the half, Holt rose at the far post but headed over the top from Lappin's cross.

Hoolahan had one ambitious attempt on goal after 51 minutes when he tried to beat Daniels from the halfway line after gathering a clearance from Martin but his effort drifted off target.

Hoolahan was closer, but still not close enough, with a curling left-foot shot after a one-two with Martin.

Tranmere's football at times belied their lowly position and Shuker did superbly to create a chance for himself after the interval following a fine run and one-two with Ricketts, but as Forster closed down the angle, he managed only to strike the outside of the post.

That miss proved costly when the goal City had been looking for came on the hour, Hoolahan scoring from the spot.

Drury had two shots at goal in quick succession, the first blocked and the second, with his right foot, striking Welsh's raised arms, referee Deadman pointing immediately to the spot. After lengthy protests from Tranmere players, Hoolahan tucked away the penalty left-footed for his eighth goal of the season.

Shortly after, Askou's header was diverted narrowly wide by Broomes as City went in search of a second goal.

The goal that effectively finished the contest came 10 minutes from time when Doherty grabbed his first of the season.

Lappin's cross from the right was too strong but Hoolahan retrieved it at the far post and threaded a pass through to Doherty to tuck it home from close range.

Bain became Tranmere's third substitute eight minutes from time and showed his pace with one quick break before firing a powerful left-foot shot over the top.

As the game entered stoppage time, Martin missed a golden chance to make it 3-0 when Hoolahan put him clear and he rounded Daniels but fired into the side netting.

Martin was then denied by Daniels with a fine save after he got his head to Lappin's cross.

t Norwich City: Forster; Otsemobor, Doherty, Askou, Drury; Russell; Smith, Lappin; Hoolahan; Holt, Martin. Subs (not used): Theoklitos, Nelson, Hughes, Adeyemi, McVeigh, McDonald, Cureton.

t Tranmere Rovers: Daniels; Broomes, Taylor, Goodison, Bakayogo; McLaren, Welsh, Fraughan (Bain, 82 min); Shuker, Ricketts (Thomas-Moore, 74 min), Curran (Gornell, 74 min). Subs (not used): Collister, Cresswell, Baker.

t Referee: Darren Deadman (Cambridgeshire).

t Attendance: 25,025

t Goals - City: Hoolahan pen (60 min), Doherty (80 min).

t Bookings - Tranmere: Welsh (17 min), Goodison (62 min).

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