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    Norwich City 1-0 Swansea City


    Both the Canaries and the Swans were in danger of migrating south for the winter when they met at Carrow Road on Saturday afternoon. The hosts had lost their last four league games in a row, whilst the visitors had picked up just one win in seven. Fireworks were predicted two days after bonfire night, with 25 goals shared in the last six meetings between the teams and Norwich still searching for their first clean sheet of the season.

    Alex Neil made three changes from the team that went close to coming home with a point against Manchester City last weekend. Suspended Russell Martin, Youssouf Mulumbu and injured Matt Jarvis made way for Andre Wisdom, Gary O'Neil and the creative Wes Hoolahan who has the most assists for Norwich this season. Garry Monk kept faith in the team that were easily beaten by Arsenal last weekend, including Bafetimbi Gomis who was without a goal in seven matches. 



    The game started as you would expect between two sides who could not afford to lose. Swansea dominated possession with 75% in the opening 45 minutes but were not prepared to take risks in order to create chances. Norwich focused on keeping their shape and looking to hit the visitors on the break. Jonny Howson looked the most likely of anyone to create an opening, crossing to Cameron Jerome on 11 minutes but the striker could only head over. Howson had an effort of his own five minutes later, but the long-range strike was easily held by Lukasz Fabianski. Apart from a few dangerous crosses from either side, that was the only action of the first half as Carrow Road still waited for the bonfire to be lit, let alone fireworks set off. Both sides were proving why they are so close to the relegation zone in a drab first half.

    The second half could only get better and the hosts went close straight after the break. Wes Hoolahan released Jonny Howson and the midfielder's cross was met by Robbie Brady, but an outstretched Lukasz Fabianski was equal to the Irishman's header. Garry Monk pulled off the quiet Jefferson Montero on the hour mark and replaced him with the returning Wayne Routledge. The winger was straight into the game and added the spark the visitors were looking for, crossing to Gylfi Sigurdsson whose flicked effort hit the top of the crossbar. The introduction of Routledge seemed to have lit the fuse for the Swans as Ki curled an effort just over from 20 yards moments later.



    Alex Neil responded by brining on Dieumerci Mbokani for Cameron Jerome as Norwich started to bring their sparklers to the party, with Gary O'Neil firing wide and Robbie Brady driving an effort straight at Fabianski. The bonfire was beginning to blaze and it was not long before the first firework was set off, although it was not exactly a screamer and Garry Monk will be disappointed with his team's defending. A Norwich corner was met by Mbokani who headed the ball down to the unmarked Jonny Howson and the midfielder turned the ball home from close range to give the hosts a vital lead.

    All of sudden firework weekend had exploded to life and Norwich began to lay siege to the Swansea goal. A neat one-two between Howson and Brady resulted in the latter firing wide, before Wes Hoolahan hit a dipping long-range effort that was tipped over by Fabianski. Swansea introduced Leon Britton and Eder for the last ten minutes, whilst Gomis and Naughton hit ambitious efforts that did not trouble John Ruddy in the Norwich goal. The hosts held on as the Canaries kept their first clean sheet of the season and claimed only their second league victory at Carrow Road. 


    Norwich climb to 15th going into the international break and will have renewed confidence after picking up their first victory for seven matches. They face Chelsea next who they leapfrogged in the table before Mourinho's team visited Stoke in the Saturday evening fixture. Swansea will look to turn around a run of five defeats in their last eight and move out of 14th in two weeks time when they host struggling Bournemouth.

    Man of the Match: Jonny Howson
    The centre midfielder was involved in everything good for Norwich City and scored the crucial solitary goal in an important match, lifting his team clear of trouble going into a difficult next fixture. 

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    Item Reviewed: Norwich City 1-0 Swansea City Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Chris Lincoln
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