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West Bromwich Albion
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5 April 2014
• Carrow Road, Norwich, Norfolk
Referee: M. Clattenburg
• Attendance: 26859
West Bromwich Albion
M. Amalfitano 16'
Intensity, creativity, vision, belief and luck. Norwich were without all five of those things today. Times are looking tough in East Anglia...and Chris Hughton will be feeling the pressure. Their game next week against Fulham will be massive considering the Cottagers won their match today against Aston Villa. It will go down right to the wire, I bet! I have been Hayden Gribble, and whatever you have planned this evening, have a good one!
FULL TIME - NORWICH 0-1 WEST BROM. What a huge win for Pepe Mel and his victorious side! Amalfitano's great strike in the first half is enough to take the points back to the Midlands. The hosts were unlucky to hit the woodwork twice witihin minutes but they failed to score despite a massive share of possession and more chances created. This result could prove crucial in the battle to avoid the drop!
90' + 2'
VITAL STOP! Norwich stand still like statues and Berahino gets a low shot away but it is well saved by Ruddy. As the Baggies keep the ball in the corner, the fans are throwing their yellow clappers at the visiting players!
There will be FOUR minutes of additional time.
Some of the home fans are already heading for the exit. These are indeed troubling times for the Canaries as the fourth official's board goes up...
Norwich have enjoyed so much possession in this game but have failed to make many chances to score. If the scoreline stays the same then the East Anglians could find themselves staring relegation in the face. It's so tight at the bottom but if they fail to pick up points from teams around them, then Chris Hughton has definitely got worrying times ahead.
AS IT STANDS: West Brom will leapfrog their opponents into 15th place. Time is running out for the Canaries to put that matter to right.
It looks like Gera - who only came on minutes ago - will have to come off with an injury. Pepe Mel looks less than happy but the incident happened off the ball as he is forced to make another change.
Snodgrass sends a searching ball into the box looking for Becchio but the former Leeds man fails to make connection. He hasn't even touched the ball yet!
It's handbags at dawn as Amalfitano and Bassong exchange words after the goalscorer has a bite at the defenders ankles. Referee Mark Clattenburg has a word with both of them as we enter the final ten minutes.
STAT ATTACK: Five of Pepe Mel's first 10 games in charge have ended in a draw. The Baggies lead the Premier League in draws this season. As things stand, he will claim only his second win.
Howson gambles to leave the ball for Ruddy to gather but he is under intense pressure from Berahino. The midfielder holds the Baggies substitute off but it was heart in the mouth moment for the home support.
Norwich are running out of time here. The introduction of Redmond to the proceedings has been wasted as the youngster had barely had a touch. When he does, he breaks into the penalty area with purpose, but his cross is headed away by Morrison.
WELL WIDE! Berahino uses his pace to pull away from the Norwich defenders and scuffs a shot from 15 yards wide of the goal. It had so little power on the strike, it barely made it out for a goal kick!
With 20 minutes to go, both managers are making attacking subsitutions in the hope of sealing all three points. This should make for an open climax.
STAT ATTACK: Look away now, Norwich fans as this is a statistic you will not want to see. West Brom have won three of the last four league meetings between these two sides at Carrow Road.
WIDE! Snodgrass has his head in his hands. He cuts inside and links well with Tettey and collects the return ball and curls it yards wide.
Pepe Mel is out of his seat directing from the dugout. The tempo has slowed since that Snodgrass chance but it only takes a second to score.
Sessegnon and Amalfitano are linking up well in the Baggies midfield but the goalscorer's ball is judged offside to his teammate much to the relief of the home support.
The Carrow Road outfit are bossing this and the possession stats prove it. They have had 80 per cent to West Brom's 20!
OFF THE BAR AGAIN! Lightning strikes twice for the Canaries. Snodgrass rifles a free-kick towards Foster's left-hand corner and the keeper gets a slight touch on it to push it onto the woodwork and out. Desperately unlucky yet again for the home side!
OFF THE POST! Oh, so close for the Canaries. A Snodgrass free-kick finds Tettey who lays it off to Hooper. The striker lashes a rising shot against the angle of post and bar. The hosts are so unlucky not to have equalised!
Chris Hughton's side are playing much better now and they are probing the flanks for space to find Elmander and Hooper. But they need a goal and they have failed to create a clear cut chance this afternoon.
OUCH! Ridgewell slips on the turf as he goes up to challenge Martin in the air and clatters into the defender. Both players are okay to continue but the right back took a nasty tumble in the collision.
BLOCKED! Elmander does well to hold the ball up on the edge of the area but his ball is on Snodgrass' weaker foot and his shot is blocked by Olsson who deflects it wide for a corner, which is gathered by Foster.
STAT ATTACK: Only Crystal Palace (20) have scored fewer than Norwich's 26 goals this season, and only two teams have conceded more goals than the Canaries (51).
The Canaries need to show more urgency and energy on the ball to cause the Baggies any problems at the back. The tempo is a little slow after the break but it will undoubtfully pick up as the half goes on.
Norwich get us back underway...and they are hungry to get back into this game!
The teams are making their way back out on to the pitch. It's still all to play for!
HALF TIME - NORWICH 0-1 WEST BROM. It's the visitors who go in one goal to the good at the break after a great goal from Amalfitano on the counter attack. Foster had to be at his best to keep Elmander at bay but it has been a disappointing half from the Canaries, who are booed off the pitch by some sections of the crowd.
45' + 2'
DOUBLE CHANCE FOR SNODGRASS! The home side are knocking on the door right now and it's the winger who pulls the ball across goal but it is deflected back to him and a lame left footed strike from inside the box is easily dealt with by Foster.
Yellow Card Alexander Tettey
There will be THREE minutes of added on time.
Chris Hughton has a lot of thinking to do at the break as his side have slipped after that brilliant strike. Will will he do to change things at the interval?
STAT ATTACK: West Brom have only won one of their last 11 league games and have not managed a clean sheet in any of those matches.
GREAT SAVE FOSTER! Hoolahan clips a cross in from the right and Hooper flicks it on just inside the box. His touch puts the ball perfectly into the path of Elmander who connects with a diving header, only to see the keeper turn it behind.
Sessegnon has been playing well in the hole behind Vydra and he puts a nice pass behind the defence for the striker, however the flag goes up for offside. Had he gone the other way Mulumbu was available in a great position.
Norwich have had 70 per cent possession so far this afternoon. Despite seeing so much of the ball, though, they still find themselves behind to Amalfitano's opener.
Mulumbu is down after a coming together with Howson. The Baggies midfielder had done brilliantly to spin away from his markers outside the centre circle but as he ventured into Norwich territoy he was sent tumbling to ground.
Martin Olsson makes an important clearance to deny Norwich an opportunity to draw level after a cross into the box looked set to offer Hooper a simple tap in.
The home crowd are becoming increasingly restless as West Brom continue to up the pressure on their opponents.
VYDRA!! The Czech has a great opportunity to add to his side's tally after a lovely give-and-go with Sessegnon puts him one-on-one with Ruddy. He should go across the goal, but instead strikes his effort straight down the middle and the keeper manages to get his body in the way easily.
Norwich are lacking confidence at the moment today. They do not seem comfortable on the ball and are coming under real pressure from the opposition on the counterattack.
Snodgrass concedes a rather needless foul on the half-way line after a coming together with Dorrans. The visitors remain conservative, though, refusing to get more people up to join the attack.
STAT: West Brom have conceded the second highest proportion of first-half goals this season (54.2%) behind local rivals Aston Villa (54.4%).
West Brom have started to sit back after going ahead, inviting Norwich to bring the ball forward in the hope it will open up space behind them into which they can counterattack.
Norwich instantly look to respond by probing down the left flank, however as the visitors close in the end up losing out as a throw is awarded to the Baggies.
Assist Y. Mulumbu
Goal Morgan Amalfitano
GOOOOOAL! A lovely finish from Amalfitano as he receives the ball from Mulumbu before firing a shot across goal from just inside the box, picking out the corner past Ruddy.
STAT ATTACK: Norwich have scored six unanswered goals in the last two meetings between these sides (2-0 at The Hawthorns in December 2013 and 4-0 at Carrow Road in May 2013).
DEFLECTED SHOT! Hooper gets in between the Baggies' centre backs and manages to get his effort away on goal. It takes a touch from Olsson to guide the ball into Foster's hands. Elmander then wastes a great chance by blasting over from the edge of the box.
The Canaries arew playing some slick stuff here as Hoolihan and Snodgrass link up well in the final third. The Northern Ireland International sees his shot hit Reid on the back and the pressure on Albion's goal dies down.
Snodgrass looks annoyed as he loses out to Ridgewell and winces holding his back. So both sides have players nursing early niggles here.
The home side are building up possession and knocking it around nicely but the visitors are keeping their shape well and step up to trap Elmander offside. Meanwhile, Morrison needs attention on his ankle and the physio is on but it looks like he will be okay.
GOOD SAVE! The Baggies go up the other end and Dorrans shoots from distance to test Ruddy's reactions. The England International smothers the ball with ease.
OVER! Cries of shoot ring round the ground as the ball falls to Tettey's feet roughly 30 yards out. The midfielder loops it high into the stand and fails to hit the target.
The crowd are in fine voice today as we await the first chance of the match. Olsson makes a clearance after a good ball from Howson that was looking for Hooper.
Today's match referee, Mark Clattenburg gets us underway, with West Brom kicking from right to left.
Both teams are eyeing each other up in the tunnel...who will hold their nerve today and emerge victorious?
TEN MINUTES TO GO! The home advantage might make the Norwich the favourites here, but if West Brom can start the way they did last weekend, then we could have fantastic match here at Carrow Road. Not long now until kick-off!
PRE MATCH STAT ATTACK: A league-high 17 different players have scored for the Baggies this season.
Meanwhile the Midlanders are in 17th place and are hovering dangerously near to the drop zone. They do have a game in hand and are three points better off than Cardiff who occupy the final relegation spot and are just two points below Crystal Palace, who beat title chaser Chelsea last time out. It's all to play for!
AS IT STANDS: Both side currently sit outside of the relegation places...but both are tittering on the edge of destruction. Norwich are sitting prettier on 32 points and in 15th place. If results go their way today, the Canaries could fly up the table to 12th.
It's been a week to forget for the Baggies and Pepe Mel following last week's dramatic 3-3 draw with fellow strugglers Cardiff and the dressing room bust-up that followed it. The visitors have made only one change to their starting line up with Jonas Olsson coming in at the back for Craig Dawson.
Canaries boss Chris Hughton recalls Joseph Yobo to the side after the defender's recovery from a calf problem. Gary Hooper takes his place up front as club record signing Ricky Van Wolfswinkel drops to the bench.
West Brom (4-3-2-1): Foster; Reid, McAuley, Olsson, Ridgewell; Amalfitano, Morrison, Mulumbu; Dorrans, Sessegnon; Vydra. Subs: Myhill, Thievy, Berahino, Dawson, O’Neil, Gera, Anichebe.
Norwich (4-4-2): Ruddy; Martin, Yobo, Bassong, Olsson; Snodgrass, Howson, Tettey, Hoolahan; Elmander, Hooper. Subs: Bunn, Whittaker, Johnson, van Wolfswinkel, Gutierrez, Becchio, Redmond.
Good afternoon and welcome to this massive Premier League clash between Norwich and West Brom. My name is Hayden Gribble and I shall be describing all the action as it happens in this crucial six-pointer as both sides are looking to beat the drop. But first, let's get the team news.
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