Belfast Telegraph

Monday 29 December 2014

Norwich safe with West Brom thumping

Norwich secured Premier League status with a crushing win over West Brom
Norwich secured Premier League status with a crushing win over West Brom

Norwich confirmed their Barclays Premier League survival with an emphatic 4-0 victory over West Brom at Carrow Road.

Robert Snodgrass gave the Canaries a half-time lead before a Ben Foster howler gifted Grant Holt the second and former Ipswich defender Gareth McAuley's own goal prompted Delia Smith to dance with delight.

The Baggies were woeful and Jonny Howson scored a spectacular late fourth as Chris Hughton's men claimed a third win in 20 Premier League games to make certain of their top-flight status ahead of next week's final day trip to Manchester City.

Wes Hoolahan's movement was a particular nuisance for the Baggies and the industry of Snodgrass was troublesome, too. Snodgrass created an opportunity for the Canaries as the ball broke for Anthony Pilkington, who fired a left-footed shot Foster could only parry away.

A corner followed which the visitors failed to adequately clear before going behind. Holt crossed, Ryan Bennett won a header down towards Hoolahan, whose attempt to turn the ball in was saved by Foster. The ball ricocheted into the left side of the area and Snodgrass swept a left-footed effort into the roof of the net for his seventh of the season.

Hoolahan tried to provide another spark for City and saw his dipping shot from 30 yards tipped over by Foster. Snodgrass' set-piece resulted in a melee and the ball hit Jonas Olsson on the arm, but referee Howard Webb adjudged it was ball-to-hand contact and rejected penalty appeals.

Manager Steve Clarke reacted to his side's insipid first-half showing by introducing Billy Jones for Steven Reid and fit-again captain Chris Brunt for Markus Rosenberg, but it made little difference early on. Olsson survived another handball appeal when Pilkington failed to connect with Holt's knockdown from a Russell Martin free-kick.

Snodgrass then hesitated when through on goal and Olsson recovered to nick the ball. Foster spilled a Bradley Johnson cross and Holt could not quite get over a header from a Snodgrass cross as Norwich kept up the pressure.

The hosts had the second their play deserved after 62 minutes - and it was a gift from Foster. The goalkeeper met Hoolahan's prod forward with a mis-kick which allowed Holt to walk the ball in, igniting chants of "We are staying up".

Delight turned to jubilation when Norwich had their third as McAuley, under pressure from Bennett, turned a Snodgrass set-piece into his own net. There was still time for a fourth as Howson cut in from the right, received a return pass from Holt's replacement Luciano Becchio, and found the top corner.

COMMENT RULES: Comments that are judged to be defamatory, abusive or in bad taste are not acceptable and contributors who consistently fall below certain criteria will be permanently blacklisted. The moderator will not enter into debate with individual contributors and the moderator’s decision is final. It is Belfast Telegraph policy to close comments on court cases, tribunals and active legal investigations. We may also close comments on articles which are being targeted for abuse. Problems with commenting? customercare@belfasttelegraph.co.uk

Nightlife galleries

More

Latest Sport News

Stats Centre