Norwich City beat Swansea 4-3 in a terrific encounter at the Liberty Stadium to claim their first Premier League away win of the season.
Steven Whittaker opened the scoring in the 16th minute with a terrific solo goal, before Sebastian Bassong on 40 minutes, and Grant Holt on the stroke of half time both headed in to put Norwich into a seemingly unassailable half time lead.
The second half though saw an early goal for Michu, before Jonathan De Guzman added a second eight minutes later. Robert Snodgrass effectively put the game to bed with a free-kick 15 minutes from time, but another late Michu effort in stoppage time ensured a nervy finish.
It means the Canaries continue their remarkable unbeaten run to move up into 11th in the table, while Michael Laudrup’s side drop to eighth, having ended their own nine-game unbeaten streak.
Norwich signalled their intent within the first two minutes as Bradley Johnson got a near post flick onto a Robert Snodgrass header, but Gerhard Tremmel saved well.
Jonny Howson was next to go close after a quarter of an hour as his dipping 25 yard effort cannoned off the far post and out to safety.
Moments later Whittaker struck, and what a goal it was. He exchanged a lovely one-two with Snodgrass, carried his run to the edge of the area before stepping inside Ashley Williams. He still had a lot to do, but a calm strike on his weaker foot went just inside the near post.
Danny Graham was proving largely ineffective for Swansea up front, but he came close to scoring in the 28th minute as his headed effort looped over the helpless Mark Bunn and crashed back off the crossbar.
Bassong scored his third goal in four games five minutes before the break as he headed in Holt’s cross to the back post, but Tremmel will wish he’d done better at his near post.
Holt must have thought he’d put the game to bed as he headed in completely unmarked from one of many excellent Snodgrass deliveries into the box. It was the last action of the half, but there was much more to come.
Bradley Johnson almost scored what would have been one of the goals of the season at the start of the second period. He played a square pass to Snodgrass just outside the area, darted back inside for the clipped return pass, then hit a sumptuous volley with the outside of his left foot that came back off the crossbar and landed the wrong side of the line.
A minute later and Swansea got their attempted fight back underway as Michu swept in a low cross from Ben Davies inside the far corner.
On the hour the deficit was reduced to a single goal. Nathan Dyer clipped in a cross that Bunn failed to hold onto under pressure from Graham, and De Guzman smashed in the volley from 10 yards.
Swansea continued to press without creating any clear cut opportunities, but it finally appeared to be all over when Snodgrass struck a free-kick over the wall and into the bottom right hand corner with 15 minutes to go. Holt and won the free-kick and Williams was perhaps fortunate to stay on the pitch as he was arguably the last man.
There was to be one more twist though as Michu grabbed his second in stoppage time as he nodded in at the back post. In the 94th minute the substitute Itay Schechter almost came up with an improbable leveller, but his looped header landed agonisingly on the roof of the net.
MAN OF THE MATCH
Robert Snodgrass – Norwich City: He was a consistent threat down Swansea’s left flank all day and his set piece deliveries were excellent, capping it off with a fine freekick.
Swansea: Tremmel 5, Rangel 6, Chico 6, Williams 6, Davies 6, de Guzman 7, Ki 6, Dyer 7, Routledge 7, Michu 7, Graham 4. Subs: Shechter 6
Norwich: Bunn 6, R. Martin 6, Whittaker 7, Bassong 7, Garrido 6, Johnson 7, Howson 5, Pilkington 6, Snodgrass 8, Hoolahan 6, Holt 6. Subs: Morison 6, Barnett 6.
- Sports & Recreation
- Robert Snodgrass
- Grant Holt
- Bradley Johnson