English Premiership

Norwich banish drop fears

2013-05-12 18:19
Robert Snodgrass (AFP)

London - Norwich City all but guaranteed their Premier League survival with a breezy 4-0 win at home to West Bromwich Albion on Sunday that left them six points clear of the relegation places.

Robert Snodgrass gave the home side the lead mid-way through the first half before Grant Holt, capitalising on a woeful mistake by West Brom goalkeeper Ben Foster, and a Gareth McAuley goal made the game safe, with Jonny Howson adding a late fourth.

The victory sent Chris Hughton's side up to 12th place in the table and means they will be assured of avoiding relegation if third-bottom Wigan Athletic, the FA Cup winners, fail to win at Arsenal on Tuesday.

It was a third consecutive defeat for Steve Clarke's West Brom, who nonetheless remain in eighth place and are guaranteed to finish the season no lower than ninth.

Both sides made changes in the goalkeeping department, with John Ruddy replacing Mark Bunn for Norwich and Foster starting for West Brom in one of five changes to the team beaten 1-0 at Manchester City in mid-week.

Foster was the first goalkeeper to be tested, pushing away a well-struck shot from Anthony Pilkington in the 25th minute, but moments later, the visitors fell behind.

Ryan Bennett headed down a Holt cross from the right and although Foster raced out quickly to thwart Wes Hoolahan, the ball span wide to Snodgrass, who showed superb composure to steer the ball into the roof of the net from an awkward angle on the left.

The Scotland international's goal sparked joyous celebrations at Carrow Road and Hoolahan almost doubled the hosts' lead with a vicious 25-yard shot just before half-time, only for Foster to athletically push it away.

However, any hopes of a West Brom fightback quickly evaporated shortly after the hour as two calamitous defensive errors took the game beyond them.

Foster was the first culprit, miscuing an attempted clearance after rashly rushing to the edge of his area in the 62nd minute and allowing Holt to run the ball into an empty net.

Three minutes later, McAuley inadvertently headed a Snodgrass free-kick into his own goal, before Howson curled in a fine goal in the last minute to leave Norwich all but certain of their place among the English elite.

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