Swansea City 2, Norwich City 1
Jonathan Redhead Norwich City slipped into the Coca Cola Championship relegation zone after defeat in South Wales this afternoon. The Canaries battled well but a goal in each half from Jason Scotland coupled with a late winner for Nottingham Forest against Bristol City leaves Norwich in deep trouble.
Norwich City slipped into the Coca Cola Championship relegation zone after defeat in South Wales this afternoon.
The Canaries battled well but a goal in each half from Jason Scotland coupled with a late winner for Nottingham Forest against Bristol City leaves Norwich in deep trouble.
City Man of the Match Alan Lee grabbed his first goal for the club to cap a fine performance but it was not enough for Bryan Gunn's men who ended the game with five men up front.
Despite City's wholehearted endeavour, Swansea deserved the win and now Norwich go into Monday's home game with Watford (3pm ko) knowing only three points will do.
City boss Bryan Gunn made three changes to the side which lost 1-0 at home to Sheffield Wednesday last weekend.
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In came Adam Drury, Darel Russell and former Cardiff City player Alan Lee at the expense of Alan Gow, Lee Croft and David Carney.
The away side were expected to play a 4-5-1 formation with Ryan Bertrand and David Mooney out on each flank and Lee up front on his own.
Swansea were expected to play a similar formation with Jason Scotland, the league's second highest scorer, up front on his own in Roberto Martinez' side.
The home side kicked off and quickly settled into their usual passing rhythm. After a long passage of passing Simon Lappin brought down Jordi Gomez on the edge of the box after two minutes but the Swans' midfielder wasted the free-kick.
It took the home side until the eighth minute to create their first real chance.
After Jon Otsemobor headed the ball out for a corner, Nathan Dyer's flag-kick landed at the feet of Gary Monk and the defender hit a pile-driver from 10-yards out but it crashed against the bar with David Marshall well beaten. From the rebound Ashley Williams flicked the ball wide from a Gomez cross.
Next it was Gomez who flashed a shot over which Scotland put a Fede Bessone cross just wide as the home side piled on the pressure.
Norwich finally put together an attack in the 13th minute but when Lee flicked Russell's cross to Bertrand, the left-winger fired the ball miles over the bar.
Another neat passage of Swansea passing in the 15th minute saw Scotland smash the ball wide from 25-yards.
On 17 minutes the home side almost broke the deadlock when Andrea Orlandi's corner bounced around the Norwich six-yard box but the visitors managed to scramble clear through Otsemobor.
The referee made his first booking on 19 minutes when Leon Britton chopped down Lappin in the centre of the field. However Norwich wasted the free-kick with an aimless ball into the penalty area which was easily cleared.
In the 23rd minute Russell became the first Norwich player to go into the book when he tackled Britton after the ball had gone.
Norwich were still struggling to get possession of the ball but almost opened the scoring after 26 minutes.
Gary Doherty blocked Orlandi's shot and when Lappin booted the ball forward Lee outmuscled and outpaced Williams to go clean through. However when one-on-one with goalkeeper Dorus De Vries he poked the ball inches wide.
And the Canaries were made to pay for the miss three minutes later when Swansea took the lead.
With nothing on, Scotland cut in from the right-wing and from 25-yards out fired a left-foot blockbuster beyond the reach of Marshall and into the corner.
It was no more than Swansea deserved and two minutes later they nearly doubled their lead. Orlandi easily beat Drury but curled the ball over from the edge of the box.
Then out of the blue Norwich grabbed an equaliser in the 33rd minute. Drury got forward down the left and played the ball back to Lappin. His deep cross looked no more than hopeful, however, Lee jumped high above Williams and his header dropped into the far corner from near the penalty spot. It was his first goal for City and stunned the home crowd.
Four minutes later Swansea thought they had regained the lead when Scotland tucked home Joe Allen's pass but the assistant referee's flag had already gone up.
Swansea centre-back Williams then became the third man to be booked after struggling to handle Lee yet again and bringing him down right in front of the dugout.
Now Norwich had their tails up and Mooney swung in a low cross from the right towards Lee but Monk got in the way although the referee incorrectly awarded a goal-kick.
With two minutes until half-time Russell had a big escape when he brought down Orlandi on the edge of the City box but with crowd baying for a second yellow card refereed Graham Salisbury only issued the Norwich man with a final warning.
From the free-kick Scotland headed the ball just over at the near post.
t Half-time: Swansea City 1, Norwich City 1
With no changes at half-time it was Norwich who took the early initiative. Otsemobor galloped down the right and after cutting back on to his left-foot, Russell was inches away from getting on the end of his cross.
That attack fired Swansea up and after a superb reverse pass from Allen, Scotland forced Marshall into a fine, low save in the 49th minute. From the resulting corner Orlandi over hit his cross but Allen recovered the ball wide out on the left. He easily beat Lee and pulled the ball back for Scotland who was tripped in the box by Doherty.
The referee pointed to the spot and Scotland picked himself up to easily score the penalty and restore Swansea's lead in the 50th minute.
Two minutes later and Russell had a great chance to equalise when he latched on to Clingan's pass, however, his volley went into the side netting when he should have done better.
City boss Gunn then made his first substitution with Lee Croft coming on for Drury.
Croft's first action was a minute later when he crossed low for the marauding Doherty but Williams just managed to cut the ball out.
After 61 minutes Swansea fullback Alan Tate became his side's third player to see yellow when he was booked for a clumsy challenge on the hardworking Lee.
The game became far more open as City searched for an equaliser.
After 63 minutes, Croft forced a corner after another bright run down the right. De Vries claimed Lappin's corner but as Swansea tried to counter attack Bertrand intercepted and set Lee away but he dragged his left-foot shot wide from the edge of the box.Lee was still causing Swansea big problems at the back and only a last ditch challenge from Tate prevented him scoring after 65 minutes.
Swansea made their first change after 66 minutes when Shaun MacDonald came on for Orlandi.
The flame haired MacDonald almost had an immediate impact when he combined with Scotland to set up Gomez but the midfielder fired over from 10-yards.
On 74 minutes MacDonald himself went close to extending Swansea's advantage but from the left corner of the area he curled his effort just over the top corner.
On 77 minutes Gomez went close for the home side again but his effort from 25-yards flew just wide with Marshall at full-stretch.
Norwich made their second substitution with 12 minutes remaining as Lappin was replaced by Cody McDonald as the canaries went with three men up front in the search for an equaliser.
By now the game was completely stretched as Norwich pushed forward and Swansea tried to hit them on the counter attack.
Both sides wasted decent opportunities to create chances with poor passes in the final third, but Nathan Dyer, now playing on the right-wing went close when his low cross was cleared from almost on the goal line by Otsemobor's knee.
With 84 minutes gone City created an excellent chance when the lively Croft burst down the right and delivered a fine ball into the middle but Mooney was unable to stretch to head the ball home.
Gunn then made his final change on 85 minutes with Alan Gow replacing Russell, while Swansea also made a change with Gorka Pintado coming on for Dyer.
City were now leaving just three men at the back as they poured forward.
With 89 minutes on the clock Lee was booked for dissent after arguing with the assistant referee after he did not award Norwich a corner.
Even Doherty was playing as a fourth centre-forward, but Swansea should have sealed the game when Gomez broke clean through only to be thwarted by a great save from Marshall.
In the last minute of stoppage time Bessone was booked for a crude challenge on Croft on the corner of the Swansea box. However Croft's effort from the edge of the area was blocked.
Swansea had one more chance to make the game safe but Scotland blasted over as his hat-trick beckoned but it mattered little as it was the last action before the final whistle.
t Result: Swansea City 2, Norwich City 1
t Swansea City: De Vries, Williams, Tate, Monk, Bessone, Britton, Orlandi, Gomez, Allen, Dyer, Scotland.
Subs: Gower, Pintado, MacDonald, Bauza, Serran.
t Norwich City: Marshall, Otsemobor, Drury, Shackell, Doherty, Clingan, Mooney, Lappin, Russell, Bertrand, Lee.
Subs: Nelson, Croft, Gow, Leijer, McDonald.
t Referee: Graham Salisbury (Lancashire)