Canaries back on song as lightning Holt strikes twice

Coventry City 1 Norwich City 2

Grant Holt returned from suspension in style to score twice as Norwich made ground on most of their rivals for promotion. Holt, 29, missed last weekend's 2-0 home defeat by Portsmouth, the first time Norwich had failed to score in six games. But his 10th and 11th goals of the season allowed his team to leapfrog Coventry, who had not conceded a goal in their previous six matches.

Paul Lambert, the Norwich manager, was reluctant to talk about a second successive promotion, but was delighted to see his team bounce back. "We've never lost back-to-back games since I've been at Norwich, which is a heck of an achievement," he said.

The credit for the victory, according to home supporters, should go to Chris Sarginson, the referee, who dismissed Aron Gunnarsson, Coventry's Icelandic midfield player, for a high challenge on Henri Lansbury in the first half, but Aidy Boothroyd, the Coventry manager, did not agree.

"I think it was a sending-off, and it hasn't helped that he slipped beforehand," he said. "He has both feet off the floor and the letter of the law is that it's a sending off. The player [Lansbury] made a meal of it but he's going to because he wants us to have 10 men and I don't have a go at him for that either. It's part of professionalism."

Boothroyd was more concerned by a failure to spot a trip by Michael Nelson on Marlon King in the penalty area after five minutes. "It's an absolutely definite penalty, we saw it at half-time," he said. "But we can't be blaming referees and assistants, can we? If we start doing that we'll all go mad. It's about what we do, and we came back into it with 10 men." As he says, Coventry will take heart from their battling reaction, even if some of the battling nearly went too far.

King, lucky to stay on after a crude, late hack at Holt – for which Clive Platt was wrongly shown a yellow card – equalised with his second goal for the club and Freddy Eastwood nearly salvaged a point in injury time with a shot that hit the post.

It was Coventry's fourth defeat in as many games against teams in the current top six, and their next opponents are Cardiff and Queens Park Rangers. "I'm looking forward to it," Boothroyd said. "You've got to get back on the horse and you've got to test yourself against the best."

The teams were evenly matched in a poor first half, as well as united in willingness to dispute almost every decision as Sarginson attempted to allow for the conditions.

Perhaps he had allowed one or two challenges too many to pass unchecked before Gunnarson's two-footed tackle on Lansbury. But Coventry refused to wilt and could have taken the lead when Richard Wood headed wide from Gary McSheffrey's corner.

But Norwich began to make the extra man tell. Holt fired a a powerful half-volley that Keiren Westwood saved well, but he could not prevent Holt heading home Russell Martin's cross in the 64th minute.

Coventry fought back, and King held off the challenge of Elliott Ward to collect Michael Doyle's pass and drive the ball past John Ruddy from 15 yards. "There's a belief around us that we can win games," Boothroyd said. "Some teams would have caved in and lost by four or five."

Instead it was just the one. Lansbury and Anthony McNamee both brought excellent saves from Westwood as Norwich went for the winner, but when Coventry failed to clear David Fox's corner, Holt found himself unmarked to score. "That's what I pay him to do and he's been brilliant for me," Lambert said.

Susan Sarandon described David Bowie as
peopleSusan Sarandon reveals more on her David Bowie romance
sportDidier Drogba returns to Chelsea on one-year deal
Arts and Entertainment
Christian Grey cradles Ana in the Fifty Shades of Grey film
filmFifty Shades of Grey trailer provokes moral outrage in US
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Louis van Gaal would have been impressed with Darren Fletcher’s performance against LA Galaxy during Manchester United’s 7-0 victory
The new dawn heralded by George Osborne has yet to rise
voicesJames Moore: As the Tories rub their hands together, the average voter will be asking why they're not getting a piece of the action
Dejan Lovren celebrates scoring for Southampton although the goal was later credited to Adam Lallana
newsComedy club forced to apologise as maggots eating a dead pigeon fall out of air-conditioning
Arts and Entertainment
Jo Brand says she's mellowed a lot
tvJo Brand says shows encourage people to laugh at the vulnerable
Life and Style
People may feel that they're procrastinating by watching TV in the evening
Rhys Williams
commonwealth games
Isis fighters travel in a vehicle as they take part in a military parade along the streets of Syria's northern Raqqa province
Arts and Entertainment
Southern charm: Nicolas Cage and Tye Sheridan in ‘Joe’
filmReview: Actor delivers astonishing performance in low budget drama
Life and Style
fashionLatex dresses hit the catwalk to raise awareness for HIV and Aids
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride
10 best reed diffusers

Heaven scent: 10 best reed diffusers

Keep your rooms smelling summery and fresh with one of these subtle but distinctive home fragrances that’ll last you months
Commonwealth Games 2014: Female boxers set to compete for first time

Female boxers set to compete at Commonwealth Games for first time

There’s no favourites and with no headguards anything could happen
Five things we’ve learned so far about Manchester United under Louis van Gaal

Five things we’ve learned so far about United under Van Gaal

It’s impossible to avoid the impression that the Dutch manager is playing to the gallery a little
Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

Screwing your way to the top?

Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter, the wartime poster girl who became a feminist pin-up

Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter

The wartime poster girl became the ultimate American symbol of female empowerment
The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones: Are custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?

The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones

Earphones don't fit properly, offer mediocre audio quality and can even be painful. So the quest to design the perfect pair is music to Seth Stevenson's ears
US Army's shooting star: Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform

Meet the US Army's shooting star

Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform