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West Bromwich Albion
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7 December 2013
• The Hawthorns, West Bromwich
Referee: M. Clattenburg
• Attendance: 23675
West Bromwich Albion
G. Hooper 13'
L. Fer 89'
How important will those points be come next May? Chris Hughton will be over the moon with not only the win but also the clean sheet and how his team held strong. West Brom on the other hand...well they couldn't hit a barn door with a banjo. I have been Hayden Gribble and I hope you all have a bearable weekend. See you soon!
FULL TIME - WEST BROM 0-2 NORWICH: Boos ring around the Hawthorns as goals from Gary Hooper and Leroy Fer give the Canaries a crucial three points. Both goals came either side of the half and huge spells of pressure from the hosts that could and should have brought them level. Sessegnon wasted a glorious chance to equalise and the Baggies were also unlucky not to win a penalty after the ball appeared to hit Nathan Redmond's arm on the line. Football, as Peter Cook once said, is a cruel mistress and how the Hawthorns outfit will be thinking that tonight.
90' + 2'
The look on Steve Clarke's face says it all. That second goal really is a kick in the teeth for the Baggies who - in all honesty - have been the better side. They just could not find the net. What they would give to still have Romelu Lukaku on loan, eh?
There will be FOUR minutes of added on time.
GOAL! Game, set and match and it is Leroy Fer who has made the points safe for the Canaries. Again, the away side counter attack and Fer brings the ball onto his right foot before smashing it past Myhill.
WHAT A SAVE! Ruddy thwarts the home side again with a great stop to keep Long at bay. It looks like the Irishmen's header came off his shoulder and may have made things slightly easier for the keeper, but it's another chance that has gone begging.
SIDE NETTING! Amalfitano is put through by Sessegnon but fails to get his shot on target from a tight angle. More frustration for Steve Clarke in the dugout.
Norwich keeper Ruddy nearly drops a clanger as he comes to collect a corner and drops it before recovering. Chris Hughton doesn't need antics like that on the pitch right now, three points are a must!
SAVE! Chris Brunt hits a low one from 25 yards but his pacey effort is smothered by Ruddy. I can see some nails being bitten in the away end at the Hawthorns...
We have ten minutes plus stoppage time remaining. Can West Brom nick a point? They have deserved all three in this half but the Canaries are still hanging on...
Yellow CardJosh Murphy
WIDE! Norwich defend a free-kick and all of a sudden is three-on-three as Redmond comes away with the ball down the right. He gets to the edge of the box and sends his shot off target by some distance.
SO CLOSE! Mulumbu puts his foot through the ball from 30 yards but the ball spins away from goal.
Yellow CardJohn Ruddy
If anything can sum up West Brom's day, it is THAT terrible delivery form Shane Long. The Irishman receives the ball out wide on the right as his side looks to counter attack, but his cross nearly leaves the stadium to groans from the home support.
The longer this goes on, the longer the Canaries will think that this is their day. Complacency can kick in at any moment though as Albion continue to pile forward...
ALBION AGAIN! Anichebe glances a header well wide. Steve Clarke will be ordering his charges to work on their finishing come training on Monday morning!
WHAT A CHANCE! The Baggies are having no luck in front of goal as Mulumbu's shot from distance is deflected into the path of Long, who unconvincingly taps his shot straight at Ruddy. It should be honours even at The Hawthorns!
The Norwich penalty area is awash with black-and-white stripped shirts but they manage to win a free-kick to relieve the pressure.
BLOCK! I can sense a goal coming for the hosts and it nearly does through Sessegnon, who shoots low from an acute angle and finds the shins of Ruddy to keep him out.
JUST OVER! The Hawthorns breathes a sigh of relief as the Baggies defence back off Hooper, who lays the ball off for Howson from 20 yards, but the midfielder's shot curls just over the bar when he should have got it on target.
With half an hour to go, it's the hoem side who continue ot answer the questions as Norwich are struggling to get out of their half! Brunt's crosses on the left are a constant cause for concern but have proved fruitless so far.
The final ball from the hosts has been very poor this half and Long is looking slightly frustrated at the lack of ammo provided for him.
This game has become more frantic and open and it has improved as a consequence. There have been a couple of talking points so far and the Baggies should really have turned it around and put their visitors on the back foot.
Yellow CardSteven Whittaker
WHAT A MISS! Oh, Sessegnon will want the ground to swallow him up after that miss. The midfielder shows great strength to slallom through the Canaries midfield and gets a bit of fortune as the ball richochets off Turner and Bassong to leave him one-on-one...but he puts the ball waide of the post with Ruddy well beaten. Oh dear...
At the other end, Elmander wastes a glorious chance to square the ball to Hooper in the box, but his cut back is blocked by McAuley.
HANDBALL SHOUT! Norwich just might have got away with giving away a penalty. The hosts win a corner early on in this half and Sessegnon tried to bundle it over the line but Redmond smuggles the ball away, with what looks like his arm. On closer inspection, it was handball. But was it intentional?
The hosts get us back underway!
Both teams are making their way out...and it looks like Clarke has read this live feed as he has brought Long on! Yes, I'm taking full credit, of course. You can thank me later, Baggies fans!
What must Steve Clarke do to turn this around? The West Brom boss might be tempted to introduce Shane Long to the fold in a bid to turn the boo-boys around.
HALFTIME - WEST BROM 0-1 NORWICH: Boos ring around The Hawthorns as both teams head for the tunnel. Norwich took the lead against the run of play through a smart finish from Gary Hooper. Since then they have managed to weather the Baggies storm but a couple of poor touches and moments at the back suggested uncertainty for Chris Hughton's men, who will be thankful to have got to the break ahead.
There will be ONE minute of added on time.
STAT ATTACK: The Baggies have only failed to score in two of 14 fixtures this season.
SHOWBOAT FAIL - Sessengon decides that the best moment to show off his skills comes at a corner for the Baggies, which Brunt drives across the goalmouth and instead of tapping it in, the midfielder decides to try a drag back into the net at the far post. It would have been a goal if he had simply touched it. Doh!
Norwich are starting to look jittery in possession again. How fragile must their confidence be? I know it's as cliche, but they are under the cosh as we head towards the break.
STINGER! A powerful strike from Anichebe brings a fantastic save from Ruddy who tips it wide. It's the home side who are asking all the questions, now.
GREAT CHANCE! Again West Brom win a corner on the right and it is swung in by Brunt. McAuley gets free of his marker but faisl to direct his header towards goal. That was a real chance to bring the Baggies level!
Chris Hughton looks pensive on the touchline. He said in the week that the 5-1 mauling to Liverpool gave him a sleepless night...well at the moment it will be sweet dreams if his side can add to their early lead!
WIDE! Nathan Redmond receives the ball out wide on the right flank and brings the ball inside before lashing his shot well wide. That was a disappointing end to an exciting Norwich counter there!
Yellow CardChris Brunt
SHOT! Norwich are awarded a free-kick from 30 yard out. Redmond steps up to take it and causes little concern for Myhill in between the sticks.
A hopeful long ball from Whittaker is dealt with by Lugano but Hooper was hot on his heels again. Looks like the former Celtic man is hungry for more...
There seems to be a sense of purpose and confidence about Norwich's play that was absent before that Hooper goal. But they will have to be careful of the West Brom counter attack as they are looking equally as good on the ball. It's fair to say that the early nerves have all but evaporated for both teams.
STAT ATTACK: The Baggies have conceded the first goal on seven occasions, and have only managed two draws from those losing positions. (BBC Sport)
CLOSE! Mulumbu plays a one-two no the edge of the area and aims a timid shot into the hands of Ruddy.
Now then, what have the Baggies got in response. A jinking run from Sessengon brings a corner but it comes to nothing. The fans are sounding frustrated already in this half!
That's made Delia Smith happy in the director's box! The TV chef and board member chants along with the vocal away support, who have well and truly silenced the Baggies fans. I don't think they ever saw that coming!
GOAL! What a finish! Gary Hooper gives Norwich the lead against the run of play. The ball from Fer clips the heels of McAuley and deflects the ball into the path of the striker, who side foots the ball home from just inside the box. First blood to the visitors!
It's fair to say that Billy Jones is providing most of the attacking opportunities doen the right for the home side. He sees his low cross cleared by Bassong. Not often that you see a right-back in the oppnent's box, is it?
Sessengon looks like he is upended by Howson but referee Mark Clattenburg gives the free-kick the other way 30 yards from goal.
The Norwich back four switch off and allow Lugano to come forward and break into the box. It goes out for another corner which is eventually clear. The visitor's confidence looks shot already!
DEFLECTED WIDE! That's the first shot of the day and it came from the home side. 25 yards out, Chris Brunt swings his left footed shot towards goal but it takes a deflection wide of goal for a corner, which Ruffy collects with ease.
It's the visitors who have seen the vast majority of the ball in the opening couple of minutes and a couple of passes towards Hooper have been easily mopped up by the Baggies' defence.
AND WE'RE OFF! Norwich get us underway, kicking from right to left.
The players are making their way out of the tunnel onto the Hawthorns' pitch. Before kick-off we shall have a minute's applause to commemorate the passing of former South Africa President Nelson Mandela.
STAT ATTACK: Just three of the 12 league goals scored by Norwich this season have come from strikers - two for Gary Hooper and one for Ricky van Wolfswinkel. (BBC Sport)
We have just over ten minutes to go so without further ado...let me retrieve my first stat of the day!
For Chris Hughton's stuttering Canaries Gary Hooper take his place up front with Johan Elmander as Wes Hoolahan drops to the bench. It's been a frustrating season so far for the team from East Anglia, will they take all three points back to Carrow Road today?
The Baggies boss Steve Clarke recalls Victor Anichebe in place of Shane Long and welcomes Youssuf Mulumbu back to his line-up after his suspension.
Subs: Nash, Martin, Hoolahan, Garrido, Becchio, R Bennett, Josh Murphy.
Norwich (4-4-2): Norwich: Ruddy; Whittaker, Turner, Bassong, Olsson; Redmond, Howson, Johnson, Fer; Elmander, Hooper.
Subs: L Daniels, Dawson, Long, Vydra, Popov, Morrison, Berahino.
West Brom (4-2-3-1): Myhill, Jones, McAuley, Lugano, Ridgewell; Yacob, Mulumbu; Amalfitano, Sessegnon, Brunt; Anichebe.
Good afternoon footie fans! Welcome to this afternoon's coverage of this tasty Premier League clash between West Brom and Norwich. I am Hayden Gribble and before I go any further, let me bring you the team news...
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