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)
Latest in Sport
Arsenal transfer news: Gunners fans devastated as they become only team in top 5 European leagues not to sign outfield player
Arsenal transfer news: Karim Benzema, Edinson Cavani and Gregorz Krychowiak were all linked but Wenger and Gunners fail on deadline day
David De Gea: Manchester United in bitter war of words with Real Madrid over failed transfer
David De Gea, Peter Odemwingie and the 18 weirdest transfer deadline day stories
Anthony Martial fee: 'Add-on' includes Manchester United signing winning the Ballon d'Or
- 1 Moscow voted the world's unfriendliest city
- 2 The excuses your boss is most likely to believe when you call in sick
- 3 I'm pansexual – here are the five biggest misconceptions about my sexuality
- 4 More than 11,000 Icelanders offer to house Syrian refugees to help European crisis
Climate change: 2015 will be the hottest year on record 'by a mile', experts say
Senior British politicians tell David Cameron: When dead children are being washed up on beaches, it's time to act
Jeremy Corbyn calls Osama bin Laden's killing a 'tragedy' - but was it taken out of context?
If these extraordinarily powerful images of a dead Syrian child washed up on a beach don’t change Europe’s attitude to refugees, what will?
If you're not already angry about the refugee crisis, here's a history lesson to remind you why you really should be
Theresa May says migrants should be banned from entering the UK unless they have jobs lined up