Report: Norwich City 2-0 Bristol City
Wednesday, January 20th 2021
Jordan Hugill pounced in either half to stretch Norwich City’s lead at the Sky Bet Championship table, at the expense of City at Carrow Road.
The Robins matched the Canaries for large periods but struggled to carve the home team open in their search for a second consecutive win in the Championship.
And Hugill opened the scoring with a well-placed header as Norwich into the break the happier side.
Dean Holden’s men enjoyed more of the ball in the early stages of the second half but again couldn’t force a great of pressure on the Norwich defence before this in-form Norwich side doubled their lead through Hugill’s close-range touch. He would know little about it as the ball ricocheted off the striker – in the team with top scorer Teemu Pukki injured – from close range.
It’s a result which ends City’s winning start to 2021 and leaves them ninth in the table.
Holden named an unchanged side after Saturday’s 2-0 win over Preston North End, with Hakeeb Adelakun awarded his third consecutive start since returning from loan. Zak Vyner kept his place in centre midfield, while Antoine Semenyo, who missed Saturday's win over the Lilywhites due to personal reasons, returned to the matchday squad with a place on the bench.
Norwich boss Daniel Farke would have been pleased by what he saw from his side in the first half as the hosts dominated proceedings.
The division leaders showed what they were about, particularly going forward, but credit to City who matched the Canaries for so long.
They found some luck with space in behind the Robins wing-backs which Emi Buendia exploited first, cutting the ball back for Todd Cantwell but the shot was straight at Dan Bentley.
With the hosts in form this was going to be a potentially difficult night for many opportunities at Tim Krul’s door and so it proved as the first half progressed with Norwich carving out the majority of opportunities.
But City were resolute and Tomas Kalas flung himself in the way to block a long shot from Kenny McLean. The Scotland international would get another try from distance soon after when he received the ball in a pocket of space, turning on goal and driving a shot towards the top left corner but Bentley produced the heroics as he tipped the effort away with a flying save.
Norwich soon found joy down left again, this time with Jacob Sorenson finding McLean. His cross towards Hugill was steered goalwards from close range but Bentley blocked the effort for a corner.
However, City struggled to clear lines and had waves of attack to deal with before Norwich found the breakthrough. The ball was eventually delivered back into box by Cantwell and Hugill found the back of the net with a header into the far corner.
Mario Vrancic hit a tame volley but it was easy for Bentley to collect before the half-time whistle allowed the Robins to regroup.
Antoine Semenyo came off the bench to offer a different threat with Adelakun departing 10 minutes into the second half, though City bossed the early possession stats without breaking down Farke’s men until Semenyo managed a low shot which trickled wide without troubling Krul.
At the other end, Oliver Skipp blazed over though Buendia went closer with a fizzing strike that curled just off target.
With 15 minutes remaining, Holden looked to an attacking substitution in Nahki Wells replacing Kasey Palmer but the home side immediately doubled their lead.
They worked the ball wide which City cleared as far as Aarons on the opposite flank who turned away from Wells. He managed a cross which deflected off Kalas and into the net via Hugill but in controversial circumstances with Tommy Rowe down with a head injury. However, referee James Linington appeared unfazed and the goal stood.
Cantwell fired wide in Norwich’s pursuit of a third goal, while Han-Noah Massengo and Tyreeq Bakinson looked to add a freshness to the midfield in the latter stages, with Chris Martin and Vyner replaced.
But it wouldn’t be City’s night and now they look to bounce back in the Emirates FA Cup Fourth Round against Millwall on Saturday (January 23rd, 3pm KO).
Photography by JMPUK.