Holt-led Norwich rally leaves Swans flapping
Swansea City 2 Norwich City 3
Sunday 12 February 2012
Norwich City now lie only four points behind Liverpool in the Premier League, yet the manager, Paul Lambert, insists his only target for his over-achieving Canaries is survival.
Lambert witnessed his side move into eighth position – their highest placing this season – after Grant Holt inspired his team-mates with two of three goals in a 17-minute second-half blitz to inflict a rare home defeat for Swansea.
Anthony Pilkington's deflected effort sandwiched Holt's fine double before Danny Graham, who opened the scoring in a thrilling contest between two enterprising Championship clubs from last season, added his second for Swansea from the penalty spot with four minutes remaining at the Liberty Stadium.
Norwich held on and their superb achievement was highlighted by the fact only Manchester United of the previous 12 visitors to south Wales had managed to take home all the points.
But, despite hitting the dizzy heights of the top half of the division, Lambert was keen to keep his feet on the ground. He said: "I don't care where we finish as long as its 17th position or above. Our priority is to stay in the League.
"If we do that, it will surpass anything we did in League One or the Championship. I thought we were excellent today and our passing was brilliant."
Norwich rallied superbly after Swansea took the lead in the 23rd minute when Graham hammered home his fifth goal in four games against the East Anglian club after a neat pass by Nathan Dyer.
Lambert told his players not to panic at half-time and Holt responded by heading home 90 seconds after the restart from Ward's hooked cross.
The second goal came three minutes later when Elliott Bennett set up Anthony Pilkington to beat Michel Vorm via a deflection off Neil Taylor's legs.
Bennett assisted again as Holt netted his ninth League goal of the season on 63 minutes before the forward pulled back Ashley Williams in his own area to allow Graham to set up a grand finale.
Swansea's manager, Brendan Rodgers, who takes his side to Tenerife for a five-day break today, said: "We are disappointed to lose but everyone on the staff has worked wonders this season and thoroughly deserves the break."
Swansea (4-3-3): Vorm; Rangel, Caulker, Williams, Taylor; Britton, McEachran (Gower, 63), Sigurdsson; Dyer (Lita, 74), Graham, Sinclair (Routledge, 74).
Norwich (4-4-2): Ruddy; Naughton, Martin, Ward, Drury (Barnett, 56); Bennett (Hoolahan, 76), Surman, Fox, Pilkington; Holt, Jackson.
Referee Martin Atkinson.
Man of the match Holt (Norwich).
Match rating 8/10.
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