Norwich striker Grant Holt too hot to handle as Alex McLeish's Aston Villa future looks grim

Norwich City 2 Aston Villa 0

Carrow Road

Fans of both teams joined in a chorus of "You're getting sacked in the morning" to Aston Villa manager Alex McLeish as his season ended with a whimper, while Norwich City's Paul Lambert was hailed a hero by the home supporters.

On the day summer seemed to break out in East Anglia, the Canaries sang in celebration of a team that has surpassed the most optimistic expectations less than three years after kicking off a League One season with a 7-1 home defeat by Colchester United.

That game was the Norwich debut of a lower-league journeyman striker named Grant Holt, now transmuted into the Premier League's top-scoring Englishman after Wayne Rooney and the subject of England speculation; and it was the most persuasive of job applications for visiting manager Lambert, who was soon to build the Norwich side which yesterday looked far more than four league places better than a woeful Villa.

Holt, named yesterday inevitably as his club's player of the season, enhanced his reputation as an old-fashioned centre-forward when he bundled in the opening goal with his chest after eight minutes. And it was the panic he caused the Villa centre-backs that brought about the second Norwich goal after 21 minutes, James Collins beating Holt in the air only to head the ball straight to Simeon Jackson, who scored.

At the day's start Villa were not quite mathematically safe from the threat of relegation – which would have given McLeish the curious distinction of taking both Villa and Birmingham City down in successive years – though the accumulated odds of Queen's Park Rangers winning at Manchester City and Bolton Wanderers achieving a goal swing of 17 in their favour must have been of an order comprehensible only to quantum physicists. That they survived was thanks in large part to the continuing excellence of goalkeeper Shay Given, four of whose seven saves yesterday were breathtaking.

His opposite number John Ruddy, the other Norwich player considered an England possible, did well when he tipped a second-half shot from Gabriel Agbonlahor on to a post.

On a carnival day of good-natured taunting between the two sets of fans, the saddest was the lampooning of the former England forward Emile Heskey on the occasion of his Villa farewell. "If Heskey scores, we're on the pitch," sang the Villa fans, the home crowd promptly joining in. Unlike McLeish's dismissal, it never looked like happening.

Match facts

Norwich: RUDDY, NAUGHTON, R BENNETT, R MARTIN, LAPPIN, E BENNETT, HOWSON, B JOHNSON, HOOLAHAN, HOLT, JACKSON

Villa: GIVEN, LICHAJ, COLLINS, DUNNE, CUELLAR, WARNOCK, HERD, CLARK, IRELAND, HESKEY, AGBONLAHOR

Scorers. Norwich: Holt 8, Jackson 21

Substitutes: Norwich Morison (Holt, 68), Wilbraham (Jackson, 68), Crofts (Howson, 76). Aston Villa Bannan (Herd, h-t), Gardner (Cuellar, 66), Baker (Warnock, 81).

Booked: Norwich Holt . Aston Villa Clark, Ireland.

Man of the match Howson. Match rating 7/10.

Possession: Norwich 55% Aston Villa 45%.

Attempts on target: Norwich 12 Aston Villa 5.

Referee M Atkinson (W Yorkshire). Attendance 26,803.

Arts and Entertainment
Sydney and Melbourne are locked in a row over giant milk crates
art
News
Netherlands' goalkeeper Tim Krul fails to make a save from Costa Rica's midfielder Celso Borges during a penalty shoot-out in the quarter-final between Netherlands and Costa Rica during the 2014 FIFA World Cup
newsGoalkeepers suffer from 'gambler’s fallacy' during shoot-outs
News
A scene from the video shows students mock rioting
newsEnd-of-year leaver's YouTube film features playground gun massacre
Travel
travel
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Voices
A family sit and enjoy a quiet train journey
voicesForcing us to overhear dull phone conversations is an offensive act
News
i100This Instagram photo does not prove Russian army is in Ukraine
News
Kenny Ireland, pictured in 2010.
peopleActor, from House of Cards and Benidorm, was 68
News
Morrissey pictured in 2013
people
Sport
sportVan Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players
Environment
View from the Llanberis Track to the mountain lake Llyn
Du’r Arddu
environmentA large chunk of Mount Snowdon, in north Wales, is up for sale
Life and Style
Martha Stewart wrote an opinion column for Time magazine this week titled “Why I Love My Drone”
lifeLifestyle guru Martha Stewart reveals she has flying robot... to take photos of her farm
News
i100
Life and Style
The director of Wall-E Andrew Stanton with Angus MacLane's Lego model
gadgetsDesign made in Pixar animator’s spare time could get retail release
News
peopleGuitarist, who played with Aerosmith, Lou Reed and Alice Cooper among others, was 71
Environment
Tyred out: should fair weather cyclists have a separate slow lane?
environmentFormer Labour minister demands 'pootling lanes' for women cyclists
News
people
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.

Day In a Page

Dress the Gaza situation up all you like, but the truth hurts

Robert Fisk on Gaza conflict

Dress the situation up all you like, but the truth hurts
Save the tiger: Tiger, tiger burning less brightly as numbers plummet

Tiger, tiger burning less brightly

When William Blake wrote his famous poem there were probably more than 100,000 tigers in the wild. These days they probably number around 3,200
5 News's Andy Bell retraces his grandfather's steps on the First World War battlefields

In grandfather's footsteps

5 News's political editor Andy Bell only knows his grandfather from the compelling diary he kept during WWI. But when he returned to the killing fields where Edwin Vaughan suffered so much, his ancestor came to life
Lifestyle guru Martha Stewart reveals she has flying robot ... to take photos of her farm

Martha Stewart has flying robot

The lifestyle guru used the drone to get a bird's eye view her 153-acre farm in Bedford, New York
Former Labour minister Meg Hillier has demanded 'pootling lanes' for women cyclists

Do women cyclists need 'pootling lanes'?

Simon Usborne (who's more of a hurtler) explains why winning the space race is key to happy riding
A tale of two presidents: George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story

A tale of two presidents

George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story
Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover

The dining car makes a comeback

Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover
Gallery rage: How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?

Gallery rage

How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?
Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players

Eye on the prize

Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players
Women's rugby: Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup

Women's rugby

Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup
Save the tiger: The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

With only six per cent of the US population of these amazing big cats held in zoos, the Zanesville incident in 2011 was inevitable
Samuel Beckett's biographer reveals secrets of the writer's time as a French Resistance spy

How Samuel Beckett became a French Resistance spy

As this year's Samuel Beckett festival opens in Enniskillen, James Knowlson, recalls how the Irish writer risked his life for liberty and narrowly escaped capture by the Gestapo
We will remember them: relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War

We will remember them

Relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War
Star Wars Episode VII is being shot on film - and now Kodak is launching a last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Kodak's last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Director J J Abrams and a few digital refuseniks shoot movies on film. Simon Usborne wonders what the fuss is about
Once stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover

Acting in video games gets a makeover

David Crookes meets two of the genre's most popular voices