Norwich City 4, Barnsley 0
David Cuffley Norwich City bounced back from a turbulent week with a thrilling victory as they subjected Barnsley to a four-goal hammering at Carrow Road in the first match under caretaker manager Bryan Gunn.
Norwich City bounced back from a turbulent week with a thrilling victory as they subjected Barnsley to a four-goal hammering at Carrow Road in the first match under caretaker manager Bryan Gunn.
The Canaries turned on the style in the second half to finish runaway winners with goals from Wes Hoolahan, Jamie Cureton, a Sammy Clingan penalty and Darel Russell to put a smile back on the faces of their supporters after the sacking of Glenn Roeder.
Hoolahan broke the deadlock after 55 minutes with his first goal for the club after splendid work by Russell.
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Cureton, recalled from his loan spell at Barnsley, then turned the tables on them by grabbing his first goal for the Canaries since March as he cashed in on an error by skipper Darren Moore.
With three minutes left, Sammy Clingan scored the third from the penalty spot after substitute Matty Pattison was fouled by Marciano Van Homoet.
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And, with the game in stoppage time, Russell headed home from a centre by substitute David Bell to complete a memorable afternoon in front of a bumper crowd.
It was City's first victory since Christmas, one they desperately needed and one which was thoroughly deserved thanks to a splendid team effort in which Russell, Hoolahan and Lee Croft in particular were outstanding.
City's head of recruitment, Bryan Gunn, in caretaker charge of the side, made five changes to the starting line-up picked by Glenn Roeder for Tuesday's FA Cup defeat by Charlton.
Striker Jamie Cureton, recalled from his loan spell with today's opponents, Barnsley, went straight back into the team and there was an immediate recall in defence for the on-loan Jonathan Grounds, who was ineligible for the FA Cup tie.
Ryan Bertrand, Wes Hoolahan and Darel Russell, all of whom appeared as substitutes on Tuesday night, were also back in the starting 11.
Full back Adam Drury was ruled out by a knee injury and there was no place in the 16 for Elliott Omozusi.
David Bell, Arturo Lupoli and Carl Cort were all relegated to the bench after the midweek defeat.
Barnsley manager Simon Davey made three changes to the team beaten 1-0 at home by Southampton last Saturday.
He had lost the services of Cureton and defender Stephen Foster was ruled out by injury, while Mounir El Haimour was relegated to the bench.
Back into the side came defender Rob Kozluk, plus Diego Leon and Anderson De Silva.
Before kick off, winger Lee Croft was presented with the player of the month award for December.
The Canaries went into a huddle before the game got underway and it was the hosts who kicked off, attacking the Barclay goal.
Barnsley were awarded a free-kick in the opening minute, taken by Kozluk, but Bertrand was well placed to head clear.
The visitors won the first corner after two minutes when Bertrand cut out a cross from Van Homoet. Leon took the kick, but over hit it and City were able to break quickly through Croft.
There was a lucky escape for Norwich after just three minutes when Anderson's through ball found Rigters, who managed to get the wrong side of Grounds, but the striker who was on loan with City last season, poked a right foot shot just past the post.
Cureton had his first attempt on goal against the team he was playing for last week, heading wide from a centre by Croft, who had made a lively start to the afternoon.
A good challenge by Bertrand almost enabled him to put Cureton through moments later, but Muller was off his line quickly to beat the striker to the ball.
Gunn was in his technical area, trying to urge his players on and there was certainly an increase in volume from the crowd compared to recent matches, especially Tuesday night's FA Cup tie in a half empty stadium.
In the 11th minute, Rigters cut in from the left touchline and fired in a low right foot shot, which was on target, but gathered by Marshall by his right hand post.
The Canaries won their first corner as they counterattacked and Russell got in a shot from Clingan's flag kick but his effort was blocked and it was Russell who glanced a header wide when Clingan returned the ball into the danger area.
Barnsley played some neat football going forward and Campbell-Ryce spoiled one good move with a poor cross after Rigters found him in space on the left.
Moore and Macken combined to find Anderson as Barnsley pushed forward again and the tall midfielder twisted and turned before finding space to test Marshall with a rising right foot shot, but the keeper was right behind it.
A determined run by Croft could have sparked an opening for City, but when Hoolahan attempted to find Otsemobor wide on the right, the fullback was rather slow to anticipate his pass and could not keep the ball in play. Apart from Cureton's header and Russell's blocked effort, there had not been too much for the home crowd to shout about but they nearly had something to celebrate when Hoolahan made a fine interception and teed up Russell for a powerful shot, which was blocked.
Norwich won a free-kick a few yards outside the penalty area when Leon tripped Clingan and was shown the yellow card. Clingan took the dead ball kick but curled a right foot shot about a yard wide of Muller's left hand post as the keeper dived to his left.
Leon was on dangerous ground with his next tackle when he fouled Hoolahan close to the right touchline, but escaped with a quiet word from referee Hooper.
There was an angry reaction from fans close to the corner flag when Moore appeared to foul Doherty but the official only awarded a throw in to Barnsley.
Bertrand was having a much better match than in recent weeks and pushed forward promisingly, only for his cross from the left to fall between two yellow shirts.
Russell was angry when he was caught on the back of the head by Van Homoet as they jostled while waiting for a throw in to be taken, and the referee had a word with the Barnsley man.
Bertrand did well again when he blocked a shot by Macken after Hassell had sent Campbell-Ryce clear on the left for the winger to deliver another dangerous cross.
Croft's persistence earned City their second corner on the half hour, Clingan taking it, but Doherty's header was a yard or two off target.
At the other end, Doherty was forced to concede a corner under pressure from Rigters. Leon's initial kick was cleared but when the same player floated in the return with Moore getting his head to the ball, it was Grounds who managed to volley clear.
Clingan took a free-kick midway into the Barnsley half as Norwich threatened again and Doherty won the header but was adjudged to have fouled Moore.
Great work by Croft set City moving again and Hoolahan slipped the ball wide to Bertrand, but the fullback's cross was blocked at the expense of a corner.
The flag kick was initially cleared but Bertrand regained possession and moved into the area, with Russell just unable to connect with his cross.
After 36 minutes, Hoolahan earned applause after twisting and turning just outside the Barnsley area to make room for a right foot shot, but Muller was right behind it.
Leon was living dangerously and appeared to shove Bertrand before knocking a long ball forward, but the referee allowed play to go on.
With three minutes to go to the break a poor header by Kozluk, who was wearing a protective eye shield, handed Norwich a corner and as Hoolahan took the kick there were appeals for hand ball against Anderson, but the official was unimpressed.
Russell was certainly taking some punishment and when he was shoved in the back by Souza, City gained another free-kick but wasted the opportunity by failing to get the ball into the penalty area.
Bertrand and Hoolahan then combined well on the left, with Souza just beating Croft to Hoolahan's centre and as City continued to push forward, Russell had a shot blocked by Souza and Otsemobor made a surging run into the area but just overran the ball.
t Half-time: Norwich City 0, Barnsley 0
During the interval, the surviving members of City's 1959 FA Cup giant-killing team were introduced to the crowd and did a lap of honour to a great reception from supporters in all four stands as the final part of their 50th anniversary weekend celebrations.
There were no changes to either side and Norwich pushed forward first when Bertrand's cross was cut out Van Homoet.
Anderson set off on a powerful run as the visitors counterattacked but just ran the ball out of play.
The second yellow card of the day went to Kozluk when he tripped Croft just inside the Barnsley half but as City took the free-kick quickly, Croft's centre was easily cut out by Muller. Muller had to work harder moments later when he stretched to gather a cross from Clingan as Russell moved in at the far post.
Russell was certainly involved in much of Norwich's best work and after gaining possession with a fine challenge on Leon he let fly with a long range effort, left footed which flew just past the post.
Barnsley made their first change six minutes after the break when Butterfield replaced Leon.
Cureton was having a fairly quiet afternoon so far but Russell almost played him through when he flicked on a Hoolahan pass, but just a shade too strongly.
The Canaries made the breakthrough much to the delight of the home crowd, after 55 minutes when Hoolahan scored his first goal for the club. Clingan supplied the initial pass and Russell did superbly to turn Souza and slide a pass into the path of Hoolahan, who took the ball wide of the keeper and slid it home from a narrow angle.
The crowd began chanting Gunn's name as the noise level increased and the caretaker boss responded with a quick wave towards the Barclay.
But City had to be on their guard when Grounds conceded a free-kick by handling about five-yards outside the Barnsley area. Anderson curled the kick into the wall but Butterfield followed up with a shot which Doherty did well to block.
The visitors were down to 10 men for a while when Rigters hobbled off for treatment and while he was off the field, City won a free-kick when Moore flattened Russell. Before the kick could be taken, Odejayi was allowed to come on as a substitute for Rigters and from the dead ball opportunity, Fotheringham curled a fairly harmless effort over the bar.
Cureton won a corner when his cross was cut out and Clingan's kick was played short to Hoolahan, who wriggled past one challenge but fired into the side netting.
Croft appeared to be hobbling a little after he was penalised for a foul on Butterfield but for the moment he was still giving it everything, perhaps a shade too enthusiastically when he slid in to tackle Kozluk and was spoken to by the referee.
Bertrand, enjoying an excellent match, produced an excellent 50-yard ball towards Cureton as City broke quickly but Moore just managed to get there first and eliminate the danger.
Barnsley had not given up the fight and substitute Butterfield fired just wide with a shot on the turn from just outside the penalty area.
Cureton produced one moment of inspiration with 20 minutes to go when he intercepted a poor ball out of defence by Kozluk and tried to float his shot over Muller but the keeper managed to grab it above his head.
City won a free-kick deep in Barnsley territory when Moore blatantly blocked Hoolahan's path but when the ball was tapped to Clingan, his powerful shot was blocked.
Happy days were well and truly here again after 74 minutes when Cureton scored his first goal for the club since March. Grounds knocked the ball forward and Moore made the mistake of trying to usher it back to Muller, but Cureton nipped between the two and despite a tug of the shirt from Moore, the striker flicked his shot over the keeper into an empty net.
Macken attempted to give Barnsley some hope with a spectacular volley, but it slammed into Doherty and City were able to clear.
The home crowd were in good voice by now as they anticipated City's first win since Christmas and there was a standing ovation for Hoolahan with 10 minutes to go when he made way for Pattison.
Still Barnsley were going for it and Doherty did well to deny Odejayi a shooting chance as the ball bobbled in the Norwich area.
City won a corner when Croft's centre was deflected behind by Souza and when Clingan took the kick it whistled across the six-yard box, but no one was able to apply the finishing touch.
With seven minutes to go, Gunn made his second change when goal scorer Cureton made was for Lupoli.
Bertrand headed clear from a free-kick by Hassell and then did well again to cut out a Campbell-Ryce centre as the visitors continued to go forward.
With four minutes to go, City were awarded a penalty when Croft found Pattison on the edge of the area and Pattison was bundled over by Van Homoet. Referee Hooper pointed straight to the spot and showed the yellow card to Van Homoet.
When Barnsley's protests had died down, Clingan stepped up confidently to blast the spot kick past Muller.
Before play restarted, Norwich made their final change with Bell replacing Croft, who had run himself into the ground in his side's cause.
As the game entered the final minute, Pattison had a shot blocked after a surging run forward, then Russell brought Muller into action with a curling effort.
With injury time being played, Russell headed Norwich's fourth goal from a cross by substitute Bell to complete a marvellous afternoon for the Canaries.
t Result: Norwich City 4, Barnsley 0
t Norwich City: Marshall, Otsemobor, Doherty, Grounds, Bertrand, Croft, Clingan, Fotheringham, Hoolahan, Cureton, Russell
Subs: Nelson, Bell, Lupoli, Pattison, Cort
t Barnsley: Muller, Van Homoet, Moore, Guedes, Kozluk, De Silva, Hassell, Leon, Campbell-Ryce, Macken, Rigters
Subs: Steele, Odejayi, El Haimour, Butterfield, Potter
t Referee: Simon Hooper (Swindon)
t Attendance: 24,685
t MoM: Darel Russell