Pressure on Chris Hughton eased as Norwich came from behind to beat West Ham and go above them – and almost without scoring from open play.
Conceding the opener to Ravel Morrison, the hosts completed a second half turnaround at Carrow Road through a Gary Hooper penalty and Robert Snodgrass’s fine free kick. Leroy Fer then sealed victory in stoppage time.
Canaries coach Hughton made two changes from the 7-0 thrashing at Manchester City last weekend. Sebastien Bassong and Steven Whittaker dropped out as Ryan Bennett came into defence. Robert Snodgrass also returned after being hospitalized by a concussion sustained in the League Cup defeat by Manchester United.
Hammers boss Sam Allardyce also tweaked the XI that began the goalless home draw with Aston Villa. Winston Reid missed out with an ankle injury, so James Collins came in at centre back. Joe Cole got the nod over Matt Jarvis as the Londoners continued to setup with a six-man midfield.
Anthony Pilkington worked Jussi Jaaskelainen from a tight angle early on as Norwich caught West Ham a little cold. Big Sam’s boys quickly went on the offensive, however, with John Ruddy saving from Hammers captain Kevin Nolan. Guy Demel then rattled the bar with a near post header from a corner.
Nolan drew another stop from Ruddy when he turned Razvan Rat’s centre goalwards. Visiting pressure grew and then told on the Canaries defence after half an hour. Rat got down the left, finding Nolan at the by-line and he pulled back for Morrison to sweep home his third top flight goal from inside the six yard box.
Hughton had to make a change as Pilkington picked up an injury. Nathan Redmond came on, but the Hammers were well on top at the break. Allardyce’s veteran keeper Jaaskelainen then undid all their first half promise when he spilled the ball and brought down Hooper in the box.
Referee Jon Moss pointed to the spot. Hooper picked himself up and blasted the penalty down the middle, bringing Norwich level ten minutes into the second half and breaking his Premier League duck. This equaliser settled the Carrow Road crowd, rejuvenated Hughton’s Canaries and rankled West Ham.
Jonny Howson pinged one off the bar for the hosts as Big Sam sent on Mohamed Diame for the anonymous Joe Cole. Norwich then completed the turnaround with 20 minutes left as Snodgrass curled in a superb free kick, scoring for the first time this season.
Hooper drew a stop from Jaaskelainen from a tight angle. Leroy Fer nodded wide when a corner came over. Snodgrass then lashed over from eight yards. Allardyce threw on Carlton Cole and Jarvis whilst Hughton turned to Johnson to see out a vital win.
Dutch midfielder Fer confirmed the victory for the Canaries, pinching possession and firing beyond an exposed Jaaskelainen. It’s a something of a curious result as the unorthodox system used by the Hammers worked well and limited chances in open play, yet they essentially lost to two dead balls. Three welcome points for Norwich means Stoke City drop into the bottom three and West Ham sit just a point above the drop.
- Norwich: 1 John Ruddy, 2 Russell Martin (c), 6 Michael Turner, 24 Ryan Bennett, 23 Martin Olsson, 7 Robert Snodgrass, 8 Jonny Howson, 10 Leroy Fer, 12 Anthony Pilkington (22 Nathan Redmond 33’), 11 Gary Hooper (4 Bradley Johnson 87’), 16 Johan Elmander 4-4-2
- Goals: Gary Hooper pen 54’, Robert Snodgrass 72’, Leroy Fer 90’+3
- West Ham: 22 Jussi Jaaskelainen, 20 Guy Demel, 5 James Tomkins, 19 James Collins, 8 Razvan Rat, 23 Stewart Downing, 10 Jack Collison (24 Carlton Cole 74’), 4 Kevin Nolan (c), 16 Mark Noble (7 Matt Jarvis 87’), 15 Ravel Morrison, 26 Joe Cole (21 Mohamed Diame 72’) 4-6-0
- Goals: Ravel Morrison 32’