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18 January 2014
• Carrow Road, Norwich, Norfolk
Referee: H. Webb
• Attendance: 26655
R. Bennett 87'
FULL-TIME: Norwich City 1-0 Hull City. Ryan Bennett's late, late header has handed the Canaries a vital three points in their battle against relegation as the pressure is lifted on Chris Hughton with a first win in nine Premier League games. Hull made most of the early running but they ran out of steam and their misery was compounded by Tom Huddlestone's stoppage-time dismissal.
90' + 3'
Norwich comfortably closing in on a massive, massive win here. Hull have not posed enough of a threat since the goal.
90' + 1'
Becchio is close to a second as he gets on the end of a ball into the area but both he and Hooper are denied spectacularly by a combination of brilliant defending and goalkeeping from McGregor.
Yellow/Red Tom Huddlestone
RED CARD! Huddlestone is sent off for Hull for a late tackle on Fer. Whether it warranted a second yellow or not is questionable but the midfielder was always walking a tightrope on an early booking.
Assist Robert Snodgrass
Goal Ryan Bennett
GOAL! Ryan Bennett finally breaks the deadlock and that could be a massive goal for Norwich! Snodgrass delivers the corner from the right-hand side and Bennett is up above everyone to nod into the back of the net with McGregor in no man's land. A win here would alleviate the pressure on Chris Hughton at Carrow Road. That could be pivotal.
Matt Fryatt is on for Koren as Hull go back to two strikers up top in the hunt for what would be a decisive late winner. Russell Martin lines one up from range but the shot is high over the crossbar.
Rosenior is the man to the rescue once again as he gets to Becchio's threaded pass, which was aimed for Hooper, to hack away and Hull relieve the danger once more.
Ricky van Wolfswinkel
Van Wolfswinkel is now replaced, with the forgotten man at Carrow Road - Luciano Becchio - coming on. A ball is sent in towards the former Leeds United striker, but Rosenior is able to nod the ball back to McGregor.
Van Wolfswinkel wins a free-kick which is delivered in, and so ensues a goalmouth scramble. No-one can get a meaningful touch on it, though, and when the ball falls back to the Dutchman, his effort is scrambled when Snodgrass looked better stationed to provide a finish.
Jelavic wastes a brilliant opening for the visitors, completely mis-hitting a cross which sails out of play for a throw-in on the far side with Boyd and Koren well-placed in the centre.
Jelavic is once again the man Hull search for on the break, but Bassong, having initially let his man go, recovers brilliantly to rob the striker of the ball at the crucial moment.
Livermore looks to release the industrious Jelavic but the ball is far too heavy for the Croatian as he looks to feed off scraps up top. Very difficult to see a goal coming here.
Hooper finds himself in similar range to where he scored a wondergoal against Swansea recently and lets fly with an ambitious effort, but there is to be no repeat, as the ball flies high and wide.
Norwich City make their first change as Jonas Gutierrez's Canaries debut comes to a close with the returning Anthony Pikington emerging from the bench to replace him.
George Boyd comes on for Yannick Sagbo as Hull look to boost their midfield numbers. Can he inspire some sort of breakthrough here?
Snodgrass, who has been involved every time Norwich cross the halfway line, sends in a corner which Fer meets, but the header goes over the bar.
Van Wolfswinkel and Snodgrass unleash efforts on the Hull goal but the Tigers' resilience is embodied by the blocks from first Rosenior and then Davies.
Hull win a corner but Ruddy is equal to Huddlestone's ball in and sets his side away on the counter, with Livermore this time having to deal with the attentions of Snodgrass.
Norwich crank up the pressure with Snodgrass' delivery having to be dealt with before Leroy Fer was flagged for offside.
Jelavic has to go to the far touchline to receive treatment to his bloodied face after the Croatian had got in the way of Snodgrass' powerful free-kick.
Huddlestone enters the book and these yellow cards are racking up now for the away side. The midfielder drags down Johnson after realising he had been outpaced by the Norwich man.
Yellow Card Tom Huddlestone
Sagbo wins a corner for Hull which is only partially cleared to the edge of the box, where Jake Livermore is waiting patiently for the ball to drop. His connection is sweet but Gutierrez throws himself at the ball to block the strike.
Rosenior becomes the third player to receive a booking this afternoon, after coming in from behind on Snodgrass, who gets to the ball first.
Yellow Card Liam Rosenior
Norwich have started this half as they ended the first, brightly. But their work around the area is a little too intricate on this occasion, as Snodgrass looks to feed Van Wolfswinkel.
Both teams are back out and Hull kick us off for the second half.
HALF-TIME: Norwich City 0-0 Hull City. We're all square at the interval and I don't think either manager can complain too much about the scoreline as things stand. The Tigers had two excellent early chances, but they were squandered by Jelavic and Rosenior. Norwich haven't really looked like punishing them for their profligacy but Robert Snodgrass has been the standout individual and tested McGregor with a rasping effort in their best opening.
45' + 4'
Yellow Card Bradley Johnson
45' + 4'
Howard Webb does reach for his yellow card on this occasion and the irony is that it is Koren who goes down under a late tackle from Johnson, who is cautioned. Huddlestone's ball into Ruddy's goalmouth is inviting, but no-one can get a touch before being deflected wide. Curtis Davies then nods over from the corner. Good end to the half from Hull.
45' + 2'
Koren is lucky not to go into the book with a reckless challenge on Martin and from the resultant ball into the area, Norwich are wasteful again, with Gary Hooper this lashing over from Snodgrass' flick-on into his path.
A Martin cross to the far post leads to a collision between Van Wolfsinkel and Davies, with the Hull defender coming off worse after his brave aerial challenge but both are fine to continue. There will be five extra minutes after the spate of first-half injuries.
Yet again, it's Snodgrass who goes closest to picking the lock in the Hull defence as his powerful, swerving drive from range has McGregor sprawling to get across and parry the ball aside.
Livemore seeks out Jelavic again with a sliderule pass but John Ruddy, who has been quiet in truth, is out quick to deal with the danger.
Yellow Card Maynor Figueroa
And now Figueroa is into the book for hacking down Robert Snodgrass with a desperate challenge but the delivery from the free-kick is poor again. Frustrating for the home side, as the final ball is lacking each time.
Norwich slowly starting to get on top here but cannot work the Tigers rearguard enough at the moment. Snodgrass is terrorising Figueroa time and again, though, and appears the Canaries' best hope.
Snodgrass dinks the ball into the area and good work from Gutierrez results in a slight opening, but Olsson's header from the edge of the area rolls wide.
Snodgrass is the architect of just about everything good for Norwich City going forward and it's his cross again which almost sets up Van Wolfswinkel for another far-post header, but Rosenior again manages to steer the ball away.
Snodgrass bamboozles Figueroa with some neat skill before lifting the ball towards Van Wolfswinkel, but Rosenior is there to head away for a corner, with Jelavic once again clearing the Tigers' lines from the subsequent set piece.
Hull are trying to frustrate the home side by retaining possession and settling into a rhythm, with the game very chaotic at the moment.
Gutierrez cuts inside and tries to find Van Wolfswinkel but the angle is not favourable and means the Dutchman must attempt an acrobatic effort, for which he is penalised for a high foot.
Snodgrass delivers a great ball to the back post where Sebastien Bassong is up above his marker but cannot get over his header and the ball sails over the crossbar.
Elmohamady feeds an overlapping Rosenior, but his cross is a disappointing one, only finding the feet of the nearest Norwich defender and the Canaries can once again clear with ease.
Johnson fells Yannick Sagbo with an awkward tackle but the ball in is cleared and Tom Huddlestone's resultant long ball into the area is headed to Snodgrass, who sprints at the Hull defence before going down under a heavy challenge from Figueroa. No foul is given and the Scot will now be tended to by the physios.
Johnson find Snodgrass in a central area in plenty of space, but his effort is straight down the throat of a grateful McGregor.
It does look as if Rosenior will revert to a more orthodox right-back role, with Figueroa on the left, as Hull change their system. Robert Koren hauls down Snodgrass after the Norwich man had got back to try and wrestle possession back for his side.
It is Figueroa who comes on but it remains to be seen whether the Honduran will slot in centrally or if there will be a change in formation for the Tigers. Jake Livermore then drives a shot well wide for the visitors.
James Chester is down and it looks like the defender could be coming off here. Either way, we have a brief stoppage in play as the central defender receives treatment. Maynor Figueroa and Abdoulaye Faye are warming up.
Van Wolfswinkel has a great chance to give his side the lead but stabs wide after Snodgrass had nodded down Bradley Johnson's deep ball at the far post. A huge let off for the visitors.
Elmohamady produces another teasing cross which Ryan Bennett - backtracking - does well to nod away for a corner with Jelavic well stationed behind him to finish off any loose ball.
Curtis Davies' clearance out of the area is weak and pounced upon by Robert Snodgrass but the Scot's first-time volley is wide of Allan McGregor's near post.
Ricky Van Wolfswinkel has an effort deflected over the bar and Jelavic - heavily involved already - is back in his own area this time to head away. Hull then have another gilt-edged chance to open the scoring as Ahmed Elmohamady's searching ball to the far post is volleyed over by an unmarked Liam Rosenior, who went with his favoured right foot when he should have gone with his left.
CHANCE! Jelavic almost makes an instant impact for Hull and he maybe should have registered his first goal for the Tigers. Jake Livermore advanced down the left and delivered towards the Croatian, but he could not quite find the back of the net with his low shot.
Norwich City get us underway here at Carrow Road.
Norwich, meanwhile, could move to mid-table with three points. Defeat, and other results going against them, could see them drop to the foot of the table.
Indeed, neither side have picked up a win yet in 2014 and he congested nature of the bottom half of the Premier League means that although Hull go into this weekend in the top 10, they are only six points above the foot of the table.
Hull really seemed to have turned a corner when they beat Fulham 6-0 just after Christmas, but their two league fixtures since have not been conducive to building momentum. They lost against two of the top four, in the shape of Liverpool and Chelsea.
Last weekend's 2-0 defeat to Everton was a sixth consecutive league game without a win for the Canaries, who have managed just three goals across those six fixtures.
Van Wolfswinkel, in particular, has flopped badly so far. He struck 45 goals over the previous two seasons at Sporting Lisbon, which was enough to earn a call-up to the Dutch national side. Since arriving in the Premier League, however, the forward has only managed a rather paltry total of four shots on target.
There are obvious gambles of bringing in a new strike partnership, as Norwich's early season struggles would attest. Despite a combined outlay of over £13m, Gary Hooper and Ricky van Wolfswinkel have only managed six Premier League goals between them this season.
Jelavic hadn't scored at all for Everton in nine appearances this campaign prior to netting twice in his final game for the club against QPR in the FA Cup. Long only scored in two of his 17 games for West Brom this season.
That said, neither player has been a regular starter - or indeed scorer - for their old club this season and both represent something of a risk in that regard.
The fans may not like the prospect of becoming 'Tigers' next season, but they can't really argue with how the owner has reached for his chequebook again to draft in more firepower.
If it weren't for the sideshow of Hull's controversial re-naming bid, then Assem Allam would surely be the most popular man on Humberside after sealing consecutive club-record deals for Jelavic and Long this week.
Steve Bruce makes three changes to his starting XI and there is a debut for Nikica Jelavic, although there is no sign of Shane Long in the Hull City squad, having joined just yesterday from West Bromwich Albion. Jelavic replaces George Boyd, while Robert Koren and Liam Rosenior are in for Maynor Figueroa and David Meyler from last weekend's 2-0 loss to Chelsea.
It's two changes for Norwich, then, as Chris Hughton brings in Russell Martin for Steven Whittaker and new loan signing Jonas Gutierrez gets a Carrow Road debut, replacing Javier Garrido on the left flank for the Canaries.
Norwich have scored just two goals in their last five Premier League outings. An improvement is certainly needed, and Chris Hughton will be hoping part of that will come from Ricky van Wolfswinkel. The Dutchman has only managed four shots on target from 12 league appearances.
Hull subs: Harper, Faye, Figueroa, Quinn, Meyler, Boyd, Fryatt.
Hull (3-5-2): McGregor; Chester, Bruce, Davies; El Mohamady, Livermore, Huddlestone, Koren, Rosenior; Sagbo, Jelavic.
Norwich substitutes: Bunn, Whittaker, Pilkington, Tettey, Hoolahan, Redmond, Becchio.
Norwich (4-4-2): Ruddy; Martin, Bassong, Bennett, Olsson; Snodgrass, Johnson, Fer, Gutierrez; Van Wolfswinkel, Hooper.
No team have won fewer points away from home than Hull this season, who along with Stoke have picked up just five points on their travels. However, the Tigers have won three and drawn two in their last five league meetings with the Canaries, so they may fancy their chances of taking all three points this afternoon. To assist them with that, new signing Nikica Jelavic is handed his debut from the start.
Hello and welcome to this afternoon's LIVE play-by-play analysis on the Premier League meeting between Norwich City and Hull City. Just three points separate the hosts in 15th place from their opponents who currently occupy 10th position, so a win today is of the utmost importance for both sides.
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