Towering Holt and Morison dominate Newcastle's little big men in six-goal thriller
Norwich City 4 Newcastle United 2
Sunday 11 December 2011
Height has its benefits. In the era of Lionel Messi and David Silva, the simple utility of tall players over short ones can be written off or ignored. Not so yesterday at Carrow Road, where the hulking but ever-so-slightly pre-modern pair of Grant Holt and Steve Morison confronted Newcastle's make-shift and miniature centre-backs Danny Simpson and James Perch. Holt and Morison scored three headers between them in a 4-2 win.
Alan Pardew said that his side could not expect to concede from three set plays and avoid defeat. In open play his team were competitive and classy, with Demba Ba scoring two excellent goals, taking his season's tally to 11. But the injuries to Fabricio Coloccini and Steven Taylor left Pardew's team "stretched to the limit".
"If the ball's there to be won, the lads have got a great desire to get a head on it. It's not rocket science," Norwich's manager Paul Lambert said after his team had moved into ninth. "Holt and Morison were excellent."
Wes Hoolahan, their best and shortest player was the catalyst. As he lifted the tempo, the Norwich full-backs got involved.
Kyle Naughton's cross was blocked by Davide Santon's outstretched arm but Martin Atkinson rejected the penalty appeal. "I thought the only thing he'd ever done was catch it," Lambert said. "It was a penalty."
A cross though brought the opening goal. Marc Tierney slung in an outswinger, which Tim Krul caught as it curled back towards the pitch. However a corner was given, following which Hoolahan shinned the ball in. "Tim just caught it where it was," Pardew said. "He didn't take it out."
Newcastle equalised when Yohan Cabaye chipped a delightful through ball to Ba who controlled it and clipped beyond John Ruddy.
The game was there to be won, and up stepped the home team's pair of robust centre-forwards. Fourteen minutes into the second half, David Fox played a short corner, and crossed the return pass. Holt saw his header saved by Krul but nodded the follow-up in off the bar.
Four minutes later, another cross, and another header, made it 3-1. Dan Gosling gifted the ball to Andrew Crofts, whose centre was converted with remarkable neck strength by Morison. Just two minutes after that a frustrated Gosling badly fouled Russell Martin and was sent off.
But even with 10 men Newcastle still had quality, pulling one back soon after. Zak Whitbread was robbed by Shola Ameobi, who played a through ball to Ba, whose touch and finish were even better than his first.
But just when a comeback felt possible, Norwich's simple advantages of numbers and height reasserted themselves. James Perch conceded a free-kick on Hoolahan. Bradley Johnson crossed and Holt, inevitably, towered above Perch and Simpson to score his second.
Norwich (4-3-1-2): Ruddy; Naughton, Martin, Whitbread (Barnett, 83), Tierney; Crofts, Fox, Surman (Johnson, 76); Hoolahan (Jackson, 84); Holt, Morison.
Newcastle (4-4-2): Krul; R Taylor, Simpson, Perch, Santon; Obertan (Sammy Ameobi, 81), Cabaye, Gosling, Gutierrez; Shola Ameobi (Smith, 90), Ba.
Referee: Martin Atkinson
Man of the match: Hoolahan (Norwich)
Diving in at the deep end is no excuse for shirking the style stakes
Latest in Sport
World Cup 2014 final - Germany vs Argentina preview: Why Brazilians don't love their neighbours Argentina any more
Germany vs Argentina World Cup final 2014: Five reasons why Argentina will win the World Cup
Thomas Vermaelen to Manchester United: Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger thwarting Louis van Gaal over transfer
World Cup 2014 final - Germany vs Argentina preview: German team ethic tests Lionel Messi's ability to meet the challenge
Brazil vs Netherlands World Cup 2014: Arrogant Brazilian team may never be forgiven by the fans
- 1 Why I'm on the brink of burning my Israeli passport
- 2 War is war: Why I stand with Israel
- 3 L'Oreal cuts ties with Belgium supporter Axelle Despiegelaere after hunting trip photographs
- 5 Iraq crisis: How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over the north of the country
Sustained immigration has not harmed Britons' employment, say government advisers
War is war: Why I stand with Israel
7/7 memorial defaced on anniversary of 2005 attacks with ‘Blair lied thousands died’ graffiti
Australia facing international condemnation after turning around Sri Lankans at sea
Even when it brutalises one of its own teenage citizens, America is helpless against Israel
Socialist Worker called to apologise over ‘vile’ article saying Eton schoolboy Horatio Chapple's death is ‘reason to save the polar bears’