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.

Sport
The sun rises over St Andrews golf course, but will it be a new dawn for the Royal and Ancient Golf Club?
sportAnd it's Yes to women (at the R&A)
Arts and Entertainment
Friends is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year
tvSeries celebrates 20th anniversary
Sport
Yaya Touré (left) and Bayern Munich’s Spanish defender Juan Bernat
footballToure's lack of defensive work is big problem for City
Voices
voicesApple continually kill off smaller app developers, and that's no good for anyone
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Liam Neeson said he wouldn't
tv

Liam Neeson's Downton dreams

Sport
Wembley Stadium
footballNews follows deal with Germany
Arts and Entertainment
A spell in the sun: Emma Stone and Colin Firth star in ‘Magic in the Moonlight’
filmReview: Magic In The Moonlight
Sport
A 'Sir Alex Feguson' tattoo
football

Arts and Entertainment
Ben Whishaw is replacing Colin Firth as the voice of Paddington Bear
tv

Thriller is set in the secret world of British espionage

Life and Style
life

News
ScienceGallery: Otherwise known as 'the best damn photos of space you'll see till 2015'
Life and Style
fashion

Bomber jacket worn by Mary Berry sells out within an hour

Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services

Day In a Page

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week