Norwich City 4, Brighton 1
SLIDESHOW: Norwich City produced another Carrow Road goal spree as they powered to their fifth successive home win in League One at the expense of Brighton.
Norwich City produced another Carrow Road goal spree as they powered to their fifth successive home win in League One at the expense of Brighton.
First half goals from Grant Holt and Wes Hoolahan gave the Canaries the interval advantage and although James Tunnicliffe reduced the arrears on the hour, a Tommy Elphick own goal and a late effort from Chris Martin wrapped up victory.
Manager Paul Lambert was able to name an unchanged starting eleven, which meant midfielder Stephen Hughes, whose equaliser salvaged a point at Southampton on Saturday, again had to settle for a place on the bench.
It took City less than three minutes to go ahead as Holt bagged his 15th goal of the season. Jens Berthel Askou's long ball forward bounced awkwardly and caused problems for the Brighton defence and Holt cashed in on their hesitancy to float the ball, left-footed, out of reach of goalkeeper Graeme Smith.
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Liam Dickinson missed a golden chance to equalise for Brighton in the eighth minute when Elliott Bennett put him clear but he curled a right-foot shot horribly wide.
Skipper Andrew Crofts then had a shot blocked by Adam Drury as Brighton, lively in attack, threatened after 17 minutes.
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The Canaries stretched their lead after 22 minutes when Wes Hoolahan scored his 10th goal of the season. Drury's solid tackle on Dean Cox sped the ball through to Hoolahan, who beat Smith with a low left-foot shot.
An ugly fracas involving most players on both sides then produced three yellow cards and, perhaps surprisingly, no red ones as first Darel Russell and Cox wrestled on the ground after the City man reacted angrily to a challenge, then more bodies piled in. After a discussion with his assistant, referee Keith Hill booked both players, as well as Brighton skipper Crofts.
City thought they had a third goal after 35 minutes when Holt headed home from Korey Smith's cross, but was penalised for climbing.
Murray fired into the side netting as Brighton looked for a way back into the game.
Ten minutes after the break, Brighton were grateful for Gary Dicker's goalline block as Gary Doherty met Simon Lappin's corner with a firm header.
Holt had the chance to make it 3-0 a minute later when Hoolahan put him through but he was foiled by a save from Smith.
Brighton gave themselves fresh hope on the hour when defender James Tunnicliffe pulled a goal back.
Dicker's wayward shot was helped into the six-yard box by Glenn Murray, and Tunnicliffe swept the ball home.
City quickly restored their two-goal advantage, however, thanks to a 68th-minute own goal by Tommy Elphick. Simon Lappin's free-kick reached the six-yard box, where Elphick dived but only succeeded in diverting the ball past keeper Smith off his left shoulder.
Martin made the game safe eight minutes from time when he scored with a right-foot shot from outside the area.
Norwich City: Forster; Otsemobor, Doherty, Askou, Drury; Russell (Adeyemi, 86 min); Korey Smith (Hughes, 72 min), Lappin; Hoolahan; Holt (McDonald, 83 min), Martin. Subs: Theoklitos, Nelson, McVeigh, Dawkin.
Brighton & Hove Albion: Graeme Smith; Whing (Hoyte, 86 min), Tunnicliffe, Elphick, El-Abd; Cox (McLeod, 45 min), Dicker, Crofts, Bennett; Murray (Davies, 84 min), Dickinson. Subs: Pelling, Navarro, Hart, Virgo.
Referee: Keith Hill.
Goals: City: Holt (3 min), Hoolahan (22 min), Elphick og (68 min), Martin (82 min). Brighton: Tunnicliffe (61 min).
Bookings: City: Doherty (14 min) Russell (29 min). Brighton: Cox (29 min), Crofts (29 min), Murray (58 min).