Wolves tamed by Holt power and precision

Norwich City 2 Wolverhampton Wanderers 1: Jarvis goal gives glimmer of hope before Norwich striker casts visitors adrift at bottom of table

Carrow Road

In August, Norwich were favourites to go down and Wolves were predicted safety. Yesterday's game, seven months on, showed why Norwich are safe and Wolves are not. Paul Lambert's side played as they have done all season: with ambition, hunger, flexibility and fierce commitment to each other. Grant Holt, who encapsulates the reasons for Norwich's success, scored both his team's goals before being sent off at the end.

Norwich are now 14 points ahead of the relegation zone and are, implausibly, just three points behind Kenny Dalglish's Liverpool. "I'm over the moon," Lambert said. "It's a massive win for us. I'm delighted with the team, as proud as anything. Two years ago we were in League One, now we're on 39 points in the Premier League."

Wolves, bottom and four points adrift, were not disastrous, and Terry Connor praised his side's "fighting spirit". But less than two minutes after Matt Jarvis had put Wolves ahead, poor defending gifted Holt the equaliser. Wolves, whose confidence was fragile, never recovered and Connor said it changed the "tone of the game".

In truth, it did not take long for Norwich to settle into dominance. Their 3-4-1-2 system, gave the hosts a numerical advantage in defence and in midfield. David Fox and Jonny Howson were a well-balanced midfield base, and combined with Wes Hoolahan to pass their way through Wolves' rigid lines. But Wolves did have an advantage in wide areas, and three times nearly took the lead from crosses. Kevin Doyle, Roger Johnson and Dave Edwards were all close to converting deliveries from Jarvis or Michael Kightly.

After 25 minutes, those two wingers combined to put Wolves ahead. Kightly tore down the right, facing little resistance, and crossed the ball. Doyle touched the ball back and Jarvis arrived with perfect timing and finished inside the far post. It was only the 14th goal Wolves had scored away this season. But relegation battles are so much about nerve, and within 90 seconds Wolves got careless. Simeon Jackson, who taunted and teased Wolves with his movement all afternoon, lifted a pass through to Holt who charged down the middle, lifted the ball over Wayne Hennessey, with delicacy, and nodded it in.

Norwich started to attack with more numbers and imagination. In the final minute of the half, they produced their best move to take the lead. A string of passes led to Holt's shot being blocked by Stephen Ward, and the ball moved back to Simon Lappin on the left. He set up Hoolahan, whose shot was intercepted by Eggert Jonsson's arm. Holt took the penalty with power and Norwich had a deserved half-time lead.

Lambert replaced Lappin with Kyle Naughton at the break, dispensing his 3-4-1-2 for a more regular 4-3-1-2. Their forward movement was just as good, and they continued to pass and create chances throughout the second half. With four minutes left Holt was sent off for a second yellow card. But Norwich finished comfortably while Wolves struggled.

Norwich (3-4-1-2): Ruddy; Martin, Ward, Whitbread; Bennett (Surman, 66), Fox, Howson, Lappin (Naughton, 45); Hoolahan; Holt, Jackson (Morison, 73).

Wolves (4-4-2): Hennessey; Stearman, Johnson, Bassong, Ward; Kightly (Gorman, 89), Jonsson (Milijas, 65), Edwards, Jarvis; Fletcher, Doyle (Ebanks-Blake, 65).

Referee: Mark Clattenburg

Man of the match: Jackson (Norwich)

Match rating: 8/10

Suggested Topics
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
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

No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor