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16:54 19th December 2009


Lee Clark's return to old club Norwich City was not a happy one on a chilly December afternoon as the Canaries ran out as winners by three clear goals against Town.

The scoreline was unfair on the Terriers, who had the better of the first half against their recently relegated opponents and should have been ahead at the interval. However, second-half strikes from Hoolahan, Martin and Doherty gave the home side all three points.

Town forced a corner within the first minute when the overlapping Skarz found Roberts' run with a great pass into the left channel and the winger's cross was headed behind by centre back Doherty, but it came to nothing. However, a few early breaks down that side suggested that Town may have some joy down the left during the game.

Norwich's midfield was deployed in a diamond shape, with Russell sitting deep and the dangerous former Blackpool man Hoolahan just behind the strikers. However, Lee Clark had clearly done his homework and when the home side were in possession Lee Novak dropped back to hassle the deep lying midfielder, with Jim Goodwin hounding Hoolahan.

Norwich striker Grant Holt showed his aerial prowess and strength in the 7th minute to hold off Joe Skarz and nod a long ball down to Hoolahan, but the midfielder was off target with his low drive from 25 yards.

It looked like the Terriers had taken an 11th minute lead after a long cross-field pass from Skarz dropped to winger Pilkington on the right flank; his immediate cross towards the near post was met by a superb diving header from Jordan Rhodes, but home 'keeper Forster pulled off a good reaction save to beat the ball away.

The Terriers were on top at this stage and after Collins was tripped by Holt 25 yards from goal, Roberts hit the resulting free-kick into the defensive wall. Norwich failed to properly clear the ball, which allowed Lee Peltier to cut inside and send a tame shot wide from the edge of the box with his weaker left foot.

A Simon Lappin corner in the 19th minute caused momentary panic inside the Town area as it dropped towards the near post, but Nathan Clarke cleared to safety.

Top scorer Rhodes was the next to try his luck at goal in the 25th minute as the Terriers continued to have the best of the game. Norwich right-back Martin tried to chest Jim Goodwin's raking pass down, which allowed the striker to rob possession on the edge of the box before driving a shot just wide of Forster's right-hand post.

Lee Clark's side were using the big Carrow Road pitch to good effect, knocking good balls in behind the home full-backs for wingers Roberts and Pilkington to latch onto whenever possible.

At the other end, Holt's long range header from a deep Lappin free-kick was more danger to the corner flag than Smithies' goal in the 29th minute.

Home striker Chris Martin went close the opener after a swift break from the Canaries in the 38th minute. After Town were robbed of possession inside the opposition half, a pass from Russell set the striker away down the right; he cut inside Pilkington and Skarz before unleashing a left foot drive that went just wide of Smithies' left hand post.

A minute later Novak found space on the edge of the Norwich box and toe-poked the ball back to Rhodes, but with Pilkington unmarked inside the area he tried to beat defender Michael Nelson and was tackled.

BOOKING - Norwich veteran Gary Doherty was booked in the 41st minute after scything down Jordan Rhodes on the left edge of the penalty area.

Pilkington fired the resulting free-kick across the face of goal and after taking a deflection, the ball bounced to Goodwin at the back post - unfortunately for the travelling fans, he could only guide his shot wide on the turn from fifteen yards out.

Town were on the attack in the final moments of the half and in the one minute of added time Collins showed terrific feet to dart between Hoolahan and Russell Martin in the left corner, but after driving into the penalty area he blasted the ball over the crossbar from an acute angle.


SUB - Norwich made a substitution during the interval, with Stephen Hughes replacing youngster Tom Adeyemi.

Within 90 seconds of the restart Novak was inches away from putting strike partner Rhodes through on goal, with only a vital interception from Doherty preventing the former Ipswich man from having a clear run at goal.

The Terriers went close the opener in the 48th minute with a well worked set-piece routine. Anthony Pilkington was felled down the right flank and with him and fellow winger 'Robbo' stood over the ball they deceived everyone by squaring the ball across the box to Jordan Rhodes, whose shot went inches wide of the post with the 'keeper stationary.

At the other end skipper Peter Clarke stood strong to tackle the lively Hoolahan on one Norwich breakaway, but Norwich should have scored in the 53rd minute. Peltier failed to properly clear the ball down the right side, allowing Hoolahan to slide the ball across the face of goal; with both Clarkes in the Town defence looking for offside, striker Chris Martin managed to poke the ball wide of goal from just five yards out when totally unmarked.

BOOKING - Lee Peltier picked up his third booking of the season a minute later for delaying the taking of a Norwich throw-in.

The home side were enjoying the momentum for the first time in the game at this stage and scored the opener in the 57th minute.

GOAL - Town were punished for their first poor decision of the game when Wes Hoolahan scored to put the home side ahead. Peter Clarke passed the ball to Jim Goodwin inside the centre circle when he looked likely to switch play towards Pilkington on the right flank and the lively midfielder robbed possession before dribbling to within 20 yards of goal and smashing a shot to Smithies' left side. The young 'keeper got a hand to the ball, but could only push it against the inside of the post before it entered the net.

Town tried to reply immediately, but Nathan Clarke's back post header from a raking free-kick was easy pickings for 'keeper Forster.

Norwich went very close to a second just before the hour mark when Russell's tame long range shot took a massive deflection off the boot of Peter Clarke, totally deceiving Smithies. Thankfully, the ball trickled inches wide of the post.

Jim Goodwin's speculative long range volley went high and wide in the 64th minute before a clever reverse pass from Peter Clarke found Rhodes in space inside the penalty area three minutes later - unfortunately, his side-footer lacked either the power or direction to beat Forster.

BOOKING - Gary Roberts was shown his second yellow card of the season in the 72nd minute for a tackle on Hoolahan by the touchline. From the resulting free-kick, Martin placed a shot straight at Smithies after Holt knocked the ball down.

GOAL - Norwich doubled their advantage on 74 minutes through striker Chris Martin. The forward reacted quicker to latch onto a low cross-field ball from the Norwich left after Peter Clarke couldn't intercept and he outpaced Skarz before placing the ball past the advancing Smithies.

SUB - Theo Robinson and Tom Clarke replaced Novak and Goodwin in Town's first changes on 75 minutes.

GOAL - Norwich made it three in the 79th minute when Gary Doherty scored from a left sided corner. The delivery was taken by Lappin on the left side and after a clutch of players attacked the ball on the penalty spot, the big defender reacted quickest to thump the ball past the unsighted Smithies with a left footed volley from 12 yards out.

The Canaries were turning the screw by this stage and Smithies was needed to turn Martin's decent low drive around the post with eight minutes remaining.

BOOKING - Anthony Pilkington was shown his sixth yellow card of the season in the 84th minute for a late challenge on right-back Martin.

Holt was denied a certain goal in the final minute of the game by a superb last ditch tackle from Michael Collins as Town continued to battle until the final whistle.


Town's Team (4-4-2):

Alex Smithies; Joe Skarz, Peter Clarke (c), Nathan Clarke, Lee Peltier; Gary Roberts, Michael Collins, Jim Goodwin (Tom Clarke 75), Anthony Pilkington; Lee Novak (Theo Robinson 75), Jordan Rhodes

Unused Substitutes: Matt Glennon, Andy Butler, James Berrett, Danny Drinkwater, Lionel Ainsworth

Town Bookings: Lee Peltier (54), Gary Roberts (72), Anthony Pilkington (84)

Norwich Booking: Gary Doherty (41)

Attendance: 25,004

Visiting: 1,061

    Data provided by Press Association


    Town was the first club to win three successive league titles in 1926. Only Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester United have matched this feat.