Premier League - Morison header edges out WBA

Sat, 14 Jan 16:56:00 2012

A Steve Morison header with 11 minutes left saw Norwich edge out West Bromwich Albion 2-1 in the Premier League at the Hawthorns.

West Brom 1 Norwich 2

Andrew Surman gave the Canaries a first-half lead against the run of play minutes before the break, but sub Shane Long netted a deserved equaliser from the spot on 68 minutes after Daniel Ayala fouled Jerome Thomas.

Albion looked the most likely to find a winner, but a superb Norwich counter ended with Grant Holt crossing for Morison, who made no mistake from close range.

The Canaries were looking to avenge a 1-0 defeat to the Baggies back in September, courtesy of a third minute goal from Peter Odemwingie.

But since that early autumn loss, the East Anglians have eclipsed their opponents and, with just one defeat in six matches, sat six places and three points ahead of Roy Hodgson's men coming into the return.

As Albion's injury crisis began to ease, Jerome Thomas, Paul Scharner and Youssouf Mulumbu all returned to the starting line-up, while Norwich manager Paul Lambert made five changes to the team that beat Burnley in the FA Cup, including bringing back goalkeeper John Ruddy.

The Baggies had failed to find the net in the last three Premier League matches, but a morale-boosting Simon Cox hat-trick in the 4-2 FA Cup victory over Cardiff had The Hawthorns faithful eager for more.

And it was the hosts who came closest to opening the scoring after five minutes.

Odemwingie was given time and space on the edge of the box only to see his rasping drive somehow pushed onto and over the bar by the sprawling Ruddy.

It was the visitors, themselves fresh from putting four past Burnley, who next hit the woodwork.

A flick looking for Morison was cleared by the sliding Ben Foster straight into the Norwich man's legs and rolled agonisingly off the outside of the West Brom post.

The let-off galvanised the Baggies, and Odemwingie should have done better with a shot that flew well wide of Ruddy's post before the Norwich keeper awkwardly palmed an Odemwingie cross narrowly over the incoming James Morrison.

In a rare foray, Simeon Jackson hooked a snapshot beyond Foster's post, but as Albion continued to press, Ruddy again denied Morrison, stopping his dinked effort.

Ayala then survived a penalty appeal after clipping Jerome Thomas's foot and Surman was in the right space to clear Morrison's left-foot volley off the line.

And West Brom's failure to convert their chances came back to haunt them with two minutes of the half remaining.

A quick Norwich counter saw Jackson hold the ball up for Wes Hoolahan and the skipper showed good vision to pick out Surman who fired past Foster.

Albion were immediately on the front foot as they looked for a leveller after the restart.

Morrison fired well over the bar before Scharner also blasted off target when the cross seemed the better option.

Morrison again wasted another opportunity with another wayward effort and was almost made to pay when Jackson tested Foster at the other end.

Hodgson reacted by bringing on Long for Odemwingie and Graham Dorrans for Scharner to an almost instant impact as Long swivelled in the box only for his shot to ricochet off Ruddy's legs.

But the West Brom man was not to be denied for long. Thomas swept into the box and was halted by a reckless challenge by Ayala.

Referee Mike Dean deemed the offence worthy of just a yellow card, but Long's cheeky spot-kick sent Ruddy the wrong way to make it 1-1.

As the hosts pressed, Craig Dawson missed a gilt-edged chance when he headed straight at Ruddy from eight yards out, but it was Norwich who struck the telling blow.

Youssouf Mulumbu overran the ball on the edge of the Norwich box and a swift and incisive counter-attack released Holt who perfectly picked out Morison to finish, despite Foster's desperate attempt to keep the ball out.

Norwich saw the rest of the match out comfortably and while the win sees the Canaries further consolidate their comfortable ninth place, Hodgson is once again casting an eye over his shoulder at the foot of the table.

Ian Hare / Eurosport

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