Whirlwind start catapults Canaries high above Swansea

Norwich City 3 Swansea City 1
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The Independent Football

Prior to kick-off these teams couldn't be separated by points, or even goal difference. Only goals scored – Norwich had one more – kept them apart in mid-table.

After just 10 minutes, with the hosts two up, what looked like a wafer-thin gap on paper appeared to be heading towards a Grand Canyon-like chasm. It was to Swansea's credit they kept the damage down but certainly the League table now, in terms of these sides, gives a more accurate account of the teams' respective merits.

In fact, anything other than a Norwich win would have flown completely in the face of the form book, for Swansea haven't won a point away from home this season. It is the worst away record in the Premier League. Yet Michael Vorm has still kept four clean sheets, which tells you they are rather happier in South Wales than East Anglia, or anywhere else.

Any hopes the Swansea goalkeeper had of a fifth clean sheet disappeared after all of 47 seconds, when Elliott Bennett's cross found Steve Morison at the far post. He headed back to Anthony Pilkington, who was unmarked six yards out. Brendan Rodgers could only despair on the sidelines. The Swansea manager said: "We weren't solid defensively. The basics went missing and we conceded goals."

Swansea's fans had travelled 310 miles across the country, from west to east, yet Rodgers's men still hadn't crossed the halfway line when Norwich doubled their lead nine minutes later. Pilkington was blocked by Angel Rangel, giving David Fox a delicious angle by the touchline to curl in a perfect free-kick. Swansea did not help themselves by leaving Russell Martin unmarked, and the defender neatly directed his header inside the far post.

Even for a side with Swansea's terrible away form that was a shocking start, but two minutes later they proved they did intend to make a fist of things. Scott Sinclair was the catalyst. His run into the penalty box should have come to nothing when he stumbled but, despite being on the ground, he hooked the ball back for David Graham to shoot low past John Ruddy.

The runners-up in the Championship last season went from looking light years ahead of the side that came up behind them, courtesy of the play-offs, to suddenly appearing more closely matched. That was not to remain the case for long, as Norwich's better interplay and stronger game bore fruit once more.

The Canaries should have stretched their lead further 12 minutes before the interval but Morison, having set up a chance for himself with a powerful run, sliced a shot that was palmed away by Vorm even though it was missing the target. Paul Lambert, the Norwich manager, singled out his forward for special praise. He said: "That was as good No 9 play as I've seen in a long time. He's played some good games for us but he was exceptional."

Coping with Morison, who was taken off, injured, to a standing ovation two-thirds of the way through, had proved a brutal proposition for the visiting defence, with his ability to win every header. Fox's runs from midfield also caused numerous problems. For Swansea, Leon Britton was fit again after a back problem but it was Joe Allen who stood out with his confidence on the ball. The trouble was he didn't see much of it.

However, a third goal snuffed out any hope of an Allen-inspired comeback. Pretty it was not, but it was pretty effective. After 64 minutes Fox swung in a corner that Leon Barnett headed back to Bradley Johnson. Although the midfielder could have shot, he passed to Pilkington, who had to turn 180 degrees before he could score his second.

These two goals left him, and Norwich, feeling much, much better about themselves.

Norwich (4-4-1-1): Ruddy; Naughton, Martin, Barnett, Tierney; Bennett, Johnson, Fox, Pilkington; Hoolahan (Crofts, 79); Morison (Holt, 67).

Swansea (4-2-3-1): Vorm; Rangel, Monk, Williams, Taylor (Richards, 74); Allen, Britton; Dyer (Lita, 69), Routledge (Dobbie, 61), Sinclair; Graham.

Referee: Jon Moss.

Man of the match: Morison (Norwich)

Match rating: 6/10

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