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20 April 2013
• Carrow Road, Norwich, Norfolk
Referee: M. Dean
• Attendance: 26460
R. Bennett 50'
E. Bennett 51'
G. McCleary 72'
Shots on Target
Chris Teale at Carrow Road: "Full-time at Carrow Road, and Norwich take a vital win to ease their own relegation fears and keep Reading rooted to the bottom of the table. The Canaries take the win thanks to two goals in two minutes from namesakes Elliott and Ryan Bennett, and although Garath McCleary pulled one back for the visitors it was largely a comfortable win. Robert Snodgrass was a continual threat in the midfield, while Kei Kamara’s pace and direct running caused constant problems for a Reading side 10 points from safety and running out of games."
Robert Snodgrass impressed throughout the match, swapping flanks and drifting across the pitch with Elliott Bennett, while Kei Kamara and especially Grant Holt showed great ability to hold up the ball and combine with their teammates. The Canaries' fans were vocal throughout and will likely have the pleasure of watching their side in the top flight for another season, with Chris Hughton looking like a success despite having to recover from a demoralising start to the season after taking over from Paul Lambert.
Norwich's win means Reading remain ten points adrift with just four games remaining and are almost certain to be relegated, but the Canaries are now seven points clear of the relegation zone and the win could prove to have sealed their Premier League status for another year. Chris Hughton's attacking formation allowed Reading control of midfield for a spell of the match in each half, but his side attacked decisively at the beginning of each period. Although they were unable to take in a half-time lead, Ryan Bennett and Elliott Bennett each followed up weak saves from Reading keeper Alex McCarthy to put the Canaries 2-0 up, and there was to prove no way back for the Royals, despite Garath McCleary's solo effort finding the back of the net after Mark Bunn failed to cope with his swerving strike.
90' + 6'
The referee blows the final whistle at Carrow Road and the final score finishes 2-1 to the Canaries.
90' + 5'
From the free kick the Canaries go on to win a corner, and Holt is then able to win another free kick by the corner flag as the Canaries run down the final few seconds.
90' + 4'
Holt receives the ball on the left flank and cleverly holds the ball up to win a free kick.
90' + 3'
Reading are struggling to attack in the final few minutes, and Norwich are able to counter attack through Pilkington and Howson before the move breaks down.
90' + 1'
Chris Teale at Carrow Road: "Was that the chance? The ball drops to Garath McCleary inside the area but he sends his acrobatic effort just over the bar. There'll be five minutes of stoppage time here."
Pogrebnyak receives the ball in the box with his back to goal and acrobatically swivels to shoot at goal under pressure from Bassong, but the centre-back blocks his shot and although the ball runs to McCleary whose shot is again blocked, the ball flies over the bar. The effort appeared goal-bound and would have been a spectacular equaliser.
Guthrie takes the resulting corner from the right flank but Norwich are able to clear.
Snodgrass receives treatment after stretching to make the late block, and is eventually forced off to the applause of the home crowd for the returning Anthony Pilkington, who has been out through injury lately.
Tettey wins a foul in the middle of the Norwich half and again allows Norwich to clear. Reading attack quickly and after a good move down the left flank, the Royals' move the ball across to the right flank and Snodgrass makes a vital block on the right edge of the box.
The Canaries repel their opponents as they press selectively as the Royals enter their half, and when Reading attempt a long pass Bassong is fouled in the resulting challenge allowing Norwich to clear.
Reading attempt to switch flanks but Norwich manage to win the ball, although the Royals quickly win it back as they press the Canaries with a little over five minutes remaining.
Norwich win a throw-in on the left flank, and the Canaries look to retain possession in the Royals' half before Tettey gives the ball away allowing Reading to attack.
Reading attack but Norwich win the ball and look to Grant Holt to hold the ball up, but Mariappa is able to repel the target-man.
Johnson commits a foul on the edge of the box allowing winger Elliott Bennett, who has faded since a bright start to each half, to come off for the box-to-box midfielder Alex Tettey. Kei Kamara will likely move out to the flank as Norwich look to secure a 2-1 win with a move to a 4-5-1 formation.
Yellow Card Elliott Bennett
Nick Blackman, who has had few opportunities so far in the match, picks up the ball in space on the right edge of the box with Gunter available on the overlap. He instead chooses to cut inside before shooting towards the top left corner, but his effort swerves well wide.
Gunter crosses the ball from the right edge of the box and after Norwich clear, Karacan receives the ball before curling a shot around the defenders towards the right edge of the goal, but Bunn is able to save.
Chris Teale at Carrow Road: "Hope for Reading? Quite possibly. Garath McCleary comes forward and lets fly with an ambitious long-range shot that Mark Bunn can only succeed in palming into his own net. There's 15 minutes left for Reading to save this one, and they just might fancy their chances."
Assist Danny Guthrie
Goal Garath McCleary
Outstanding McCleary strike gets Reading back into the game! The Royals defend a left-wing cross from Norwich before passing the ball up the pitch. McCleary receives the ball in space in the centre circle before advancing up the pitch and working the ball on to his right foot. His powerful effort swerves viciously in front of keeper Mark Bunn, who will be disappointed not to get a heavier touch on the ball as he dived to his right, and flies into the back of the net.
Snodgrass crosses the ball from the left flank and Holt and Kamara again combine before the resulting shot is hit over the bar.
Holt passes to Kamara inside the Reading box but the forward is unable to take advantage of the opportunity.
Snodgrass crosses the ball from the left flank and after the ball is cleared, Martin blasts the ball well over the bar.
Yellow Card Nick Blackman
Nick Blackman receives a yellow card after a challenge in the Norwich half.
The Canaries continue their attack and Snodgrass wins a corner on the left flank. The delivery is aimed towards Bassong who heads over the bar.
The Canaries attack down the right flank and McCarthy is forced to prevent a corner when Sean Morrison blocks Holt's header towards goal.
Over the last few minutes Reading have recovered from the shock of going 2-0 down but Norwich are showing more composure this time in defending.
Gunter receives the ball in an advanced position on the right flank and curves a dangerous cross into the box which Ryan Bennett heads out for a corner. Guthrie's corner however fails to beat Grant Holt at the near post.
Guthrie takes the resulting free kick from the right edge of the box, but Norwich are able to clear.
Yellow Card Robert Snodgrass
Snodgrass receives a yellow card after an excessively risky challenge on the edge of the box.
Kamara nearly flicks the ball into Holt's path as his fellow Canaries striker runs towards goal, but the ball flicks back off his heel and Reading are able to clear.
Snodgrass picks up the ball on the left flank and cuts inside before shooting at goal, and wins a corner after McCarthy saves. Kamara reaches the delivery and forces another diving save from keeper McCarthy.
Holt calmly finds the overlapping Garrido with a clever backheel on the left flank, and the left-back pulls the ball back to Kamara, whose shot is deflected out for a corner. Snodgrass' corner arrows towards Holt inside the box but he heads the ball over the bar.
Norwich win another corner but this time Reading are able to clear, albeit nervily.
Chris Teale at Carrow Road: "Carrow Road is rocking now after two goals for Norwich in quick succession. The first came after a corner caused havoc in the Reading box, with substitute Ryan Bennett on hand to sweep the ball home. Then, moments later a cross came into the box that Grant Holt knocked down into the path of Elliott Bennett, who saw his shot deflected into the net to double the Canaries' advantage. A crucial period of play for the home side, who lead 2-0."
Goal Elliott Bennett
Elliott Bennett puts Norwich 2-0 up! Russell Martin crosses the ball from the right flank and keeper Alex McCarthy comes off his line to punch clear but is unable to get enough power on his effort. Bennett receives the ball inside the box before shooting low towards goal, and his effort deflects off keeper McCarthy past the Royals guarding the goal line and finds the back of the net.
Yellow Card Jem Karacan
Goal Ryan Bennett
Ryan Bennett puts Norwich in front! Snodgrass' outswinging corner is accurately placed towards Grant Holt on the edge of the six-yard box, and the striker's powerful header forces a save from McCarthy to his left, and Bennett is well placed to lash the ball into the back of the net.
Mariappa heads the ball into the path of Kamara, who shoots powerfully towards the top left corner from the edge of the box with his left foot, forcing a save from McCarthy.
Garrido repels a ball up the right flank with a hurried clearance and Kamara does well to hold the ball up. The Canaries are able to build an attack and force Mariappa to concede a throw-in on the left flank.
The referee gets the second half underway at Carrow Road.
Canaries manager Chris Hughton will have been disappointed with his side towards the end of the half, with Kei Kamara's chance his side's only meaningful attack in the run-up to half-time. His side have struggled to retain possession and dropped extremely deep towards the end of the half, and he will surely look to up the tempo as his side seek three crucial points at home to the league's bottom placed side.
Right-footed Stephen Kelly has been selected at left-back ahead of the aging left-footed set piece specialists Nicky Shorey and Ian Harte, and brought his superior athleticism to the role with some intelligent overlaps in connection with the impressive Garath McCleary. Pavel Pogrebnyak in turn was vital to Reading's improvement towards the end of the half, emulating Adkins' former striker Rickie Lambert with his intelligent runs into the channels and impressive hold up play.
Norwich started the game very brightly to a roaring home crowd, but Reading grew into the game and by the end of the half were having most of the possession. Nigel Adkins has looked to change the style of the team in his first few matches in charge and the Royals have put together some neat passing moves, with the more creative Danny Guthrie selected alongside Jem Karacan in place of the more defensive Mikele Leigertwood.
Chris Teale at Carrow Road: "Half-time here at Carrow Road, and it’s 0-0. Both sides have had their moments in this game so far, but have been unable to create any sustained pressure on their opponents. The best chance fell to Reading, who saw Pavel Pogrebnyak’s shot go over the bar from about five yards out. However, Norwich have also had some good chances, with Kei Kamara looking particularly lively up front alongside Grant Holt. There has been plenty of huffing and puffing in this game so far, a little more quality will be needed to produce a goal."
45' + 2'
The referee blows the half-time whistle at Carrow Road.
45' + 1'
Kamara shoots but McCarthy saves! The Canaries get the ball to Holt on the left edge of the box and he is able to cushion the ball into Kamara, who neatly shapes to shoot before striking the ball to the right of McCarthy, but the keeper tips the ball wide for a corner which Reading clear.
Reading attack down the right flank but Norwich counter, and Elliott Bennett is able to pick the ball up on the right flank before crossing the ball into the box, but Reading are able to clear.
Norwich aim a free kick on the right flank towards Hold, but he is unable to hold the ball up.
Chris Teale live at Carrow Road: "Great chance Reading! Adrian Mariappa drives in a cross from the right and Pavel Pogrebnyak is open inside the six-yard area. However, his shot goes over the bar in what has been the best opportunity of the game so far."
McAnuff's corner travels all the way across the box and after Blackman drills the ball across the face of the goal, Pogrebnyak attempts to direct the ball into the net under pressure from Bassong and the ball flies over the bar for a goal kick. That was a good chance for Reading.
The Canaries have been unable to retain possession as the half has gone on, and after Reading attack again down the left flank through the overlapping Kelly, the Royals win another corner.
Norwich drop deep as Reading attack that McCleary is able to receive the ball inside the left edge of the box before Martin blocks his shot.
McCleary plays a one-two with Pogrebnyak around Snodgrass, but when he attempts to go past Martin on the outside Ryan Bennett makes the challenge to put the ball out for a corner, from which Norwich manage to win a goal kick.
Snodgrass makes an interception in the Reading half, and the Canaries win a throw-in on the right flank.
The Royals exchange passes on the edge of the Canaries' box before Nick Blackman finds Stephen Kelly inside the left edge of the box. Snodgrass does well to track back and put the ball out for a corner, which the Canaries are able to clear.
Reading have hemmed in Norwich into their own half in the last few minutes, but Guthrie ends their spell of possession with a disappointing shot from outside the box.
McCleary cuts inside from the left flank onto his stronger right foot and shoots from the edge of the box, but his shot is stopped.
Guthrie's outswinging corner is headed baack into the box for Pogrebnyak but Bassong heads out for another corner, which the Canaries this time clear at the near post.
Reading retain possession in the Norwich half as the Canaries this time drop back to defend. Bradley Johnson attempts to head the ball back to keeper Mark Bunn but concedes a corner which Guthrie moves into position to deliver.
Pogrebnyak receives the ball in the box from the left flank and attempts to power past Bassong after a trick, but the centre-back does well to stand his ground and win the ball before receiving treatment.
Pogrebnyak makes a well-timed run into the left channel and receives the ball before laying it off to McCleary, who cuts inside before shooting just wide of the top right corner from outside the right edge of the box.
Kamara receives the ball down the left flank and his cross is blocked for a throw-in. The Canaries continue the attack and Jonny Howson looks for the overlapping Martin on the right flank, but the attack breaks down.
Chris Teale at Carrow Road: "After Norwich's fast start, this game has settled into something of a war of attrition, with both sides going in with some uncompromising tackles. The first goal will be crucial in this one."
Reading build another attack and this time Norwich are forced to aimlessly clear the ball in the direction of Holt. The Canaries had started the half very brightly but Reading have improved.
Garrido takes a free kick from the left flank and arches a long ball into the box, which Reading are eventually able to clear. The Royals pick the ball up in the centre of the park and Guthrie nearly finds Pogrebnyak down the right channel in the box with a dangerous through-ball, but Bassong shows impressive power to make the interception.
Snodgrass disappointingly overhits his inswinging free kick towards the far post, and the ball runs out for a goal kick.
Norwich win a free kick on the right flank and Snodgrass stands over the ball.
Reading attempt to build an attack but look disjointed and are forced back by Norwich's pressing when Jem Karacan is pressured into a poor pass to left-back Kelly.
Michael Turner is forced off through injury early in the first half and fellow centre-back Ryan Bennett is his replacement.
Reading pass the ball along their back line and face heavy pressure from the Norwich attackers. Adrian Mariappa skips past his opponent to bring the ball out from the back, but Norwich soon win the ball back.
Reading win a free kick on the left flank and after it is taken look for Pogrebnyak down the left edge of the box, but the target-man is unable to hold on to the ball.
Yellow Card Danny Guthrie
Danny Guthrie harshly receives a yellow card following a challenge for the ball with Grant Holt.
Snodgrass picks up the ball on the right flank and cleverly accelerates past left-back Stephen Kelly before pulling the ball back across goal with his right foot. Garrido receives the ball and shoots but keeper Alex McCarthy is well positioned to receive the ball amid a crowd of bodies.
Norwich's back line catches Pogrebnyak offside and goalkeeper Mark Bunn clears with a free kick. The Royals win the ball back and feed McCleary on the left flank but his cross runs through to Bunn who clears.
Norwich win possession in Reading's half and Grant Holt receives the ball on the left flank but is unable to find Snodgrass with his cross towards the right edge of the box.
Right-back Russell Martin overlaps on the right wing before delivering a cross which looks destined for the head of Kamara, but Reading right-back Chris Gunter does well to head clear.
Reading intercept Sebastien Bassong's headed clearance and Garath McCleary receives the ball on the left flank before curling an inswinging cross towards the near post which Bassong nervily clears. Jobi McAnuff's corner is dealt with comfortably however.
Reading striker Pavel Pogrebnyak receives treatment after he is hurt in a challenge with Canaries' midfield enforcer Bradley Johnson.
Elliott Bennett exchanges passes with Jonny Howson before shooting just wide of the left post from the edge of the box. The winger has roamed across the front line in the early stages of the match, and the Canaries have started well in an attacking formation featuring two wingers and two strikers.
Norwich have started brightly and Garrido overlaps on the left flank before crossing the ball into the box. Snodgrass wins a header ahead of Sean Morrison but heads wide.
Javier Garrido takes a throw-in on on the left flank and Robert Snodgrass plays the ball up front to Kei Kamara. The forward lays the ball off to Elliott Bennett who shoots narrowly wide from the edge of the box.
The referee gets the game underway at Carrow Road!
Chris Teale at Carrow Road: "The noise here is absolutely incredible. Norwich have done a superb job in building a great atmosphere for this one. Now, can the players deliver on the pitch?"
Chris Teale at Carrow Road: "All Norwich fans have been given a shaker each to bang and show their support. They've just been asked to test them by the PA announcer, and the noise honestly sounds like heavy hailstones falling on a greenhouse roof. Each to their own, I suppose. They're called "clackers" apparently, these loud shaky things. We've just had a rendition of "We Will Rock You" by Queen, as the locals here get revved up before kick-off. The guy next to me in the press box isn't impressed."
Chris Teale at Carrow Road: "After their hugely disappointing 3-1 defeat to Arsenal last time out, the locals here are keener than ever for a win this afternoon. During the week, local newspapers Norwich Evening News and Eastern Daily Press have run a campaign called “Raise the Roof”, encouraging Canaries fans to come to this game and be more vocal than ever in their support. Whether the campaign will have the desired effect remains to be seen."
Chris Teale at Carrow Road: "Norwich manager Chris Hughton makes two changes to the side that were so unlucky in defeat to Arsenal last time out. Steven Whittaker and Alexander Tettey are replaced by Javier Garrido and Elliott Bennett, with captain Grant Holt joined up front once again by Kei Kamara. Meanwhile, Reading make just the one change, with Nick Blackman replacing Noel Hunt up front, with the Irishman dropping to the bench."
Reading: McCarthy; Gunter, Mariappa, Morrison, Kelly; Karacan, McCleary, Guthrie, McAnuff; Blackman, Pogrebnyak. Substitutes: Taylor, Cummings, Pearce, Carrico, Leigertwood, Hunt, Le Fondre.
Norwich: Bunn; R.Martin, Bassong, Turner, Garrido; E.Bennett, Howson, Johnson, Snodgrass; Kamara, Holt. Subs: Camp; Jackson, Pilkington, Hoolahan, Tierney, R.Bennett, Tettey.
Chris Teale LIVE: "Good afternoon from a spectacular sunny day at Carrow Road, with the hosts Norwich City welcoming relegation-threatened Reading. The Canaries have are unbeaten in their last six games at home in the league, so will be hoping they can be sure of their own survival at the start of three games against teams mired in the relegation battle. The Royals, meanwhile, face a 10-point gap between themselves and safety, with new manager Nigel Adkins still looking for his first win in charge."
Hi and welcome to Goal.com's play-by-play as Norwich take on Reading at Carrow Road. I'm @arthurvirgo here to talk through the events. You can get involved on Twitter @GoalUK
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