Swansea City were left frustrated to leave Carrow Road empty handed after late drama saw Norwich City take all 3 points in their 2-0 win.
The home side started the game the better of the two teams but Rodgers’ side settled in well and ended the first half strongly. In the second period, it was the Swans who enjoyed most of the possession but we struggled to convert our chances into goals, with a number of shots going well off target.
While the game looked like heading for 0-0 finish – a fair scoreline that both teams would have been content with, late drama saw Swansea City miss a penalty, moments before Ashley Williams scored an own goal to give the advantage to the Canaries. The referee failed to spot an obvious handball in the lead-up to the goal. Lambert’s side then ended our hopes of a late comeback, as they took advantage of our attempts to get men forward, new signing Jackson was free in the box to volley home in injury time.
Brendan Rodgers was forced to making one change from the side that beat Preston North End last Saturday. Angel Rangel suffered a thigh injury, which sidelines him for 4-6 weeks, so Serran replaced him at right back. Other than that, it was the same setup – while Norwich City were unchanged from the team that won 1-0 at Scunthorpe United.
The home side started much the better side and enjoyed a good spell in the opening 20 minutes or so, as the Swans struggled early on. Dorus De Vries did well to make a low save to deny Korey Smith after a good attack down the right, but most of their good play was down the opposite flank, as Albert Serran was struggling with the pace of their right-sided players. The Canaries had another great chance to break the deadlock from a corner. De Vries was always struggling to claim the cross inside a busy 6-yard area, and the ball fell to a Norwich player at the back post but his header was wide of the target. A let off there.
The Swans then began to settle into the match mid-way through the opening half, and they were able to get their passes flowing together to produce some chances. We made plenty during the 90 minutes, but our finishing was very poor in front of goal.
Darren Pratley had a decent chance but he headed over the bar from a corner, while Stephen Dobbie did well but his shot was blocked. Our chance though fell to David Cotterill. Nathan Dyer cut a low cross back to the midfielder, he had plenty of time and space to shoot at goal but he fired a shot well over the bar. Cotterill had a chance to make up for his poor effort which he skied over the target when we won a free-kick within shooting range, but instead of going for goal, he played it short to Dobbie, but he was never able to get a shot on having been crowded out on the edge of the area. The Scot then had a better opportunity to fire at goal, he worked the ball onto his weaker left foot but he couldn`t aim it goalward – another shot off target for the Swans.
Brendan Rodgers would have been happy to see his side end the first half the stronger team, after a difficult start to the game which saw Norwich City have 2 or 3 good chances on goal.
The Swans carried on in the second half as they ended the first – dominating large periods but still lacking quality with the final ball. Sinclair was causing problems with his skill and pace, but no one was in the box to make use a good low cross as they went harmlessly across the face of goal. The new signing from Sinclair went down in the box in the first 45 after beating a few defenders, but the referee was never going to point to the spot for a soft challenge.
Rodgers made a change at the start of the second period as he took off Serran and brought on youngster Neil Taylor, Alan Tate switched to right back. Serran did struggle against Norwich City`s pace down their left flank, though he did look more comfortable later on as we began to settle into the game.
Sinclair was a threat again as he went on another of his impressive runs. He got into a great position inside the box but his side-footed shot was straight at the goalkeeper who made a low save to deny the youngster his first Swansea City goal.
Dorus De Vries had very little to do in the Swansea goal as we began to dictate the game. Cotterill tried his luck from distance but his shot was deflected over a corner, as we continued to search for the opening goal. Some good work from Dobbie also gave him a chance to shoot at goal a couple of times, but he had efforts well saved while the other flew off target.
After a dominant spell from the visitors, Norwich City had the best chance of the whole game, and they should have taken the lead. A low driven shot became a cross but Nelson was unable to get the slightest of touches to direct it goalwards, any touch would certainly have seen the ball go into the net, but thankfully the Canaries missed a superb chance to take an undeserved lead.
With the game heading for a goalless draw – a scoreline that both teams would have been happy about considering the chances they both missed – Scott Sinclair wins a penalty after running onto Andrea Orlandi`s through ball and being brought down by the goalkeeper.
David Cotterill stepped up to take the spot kick, he curled the ball low and wide to the bottom corner but the keeper has done well to get his finger tips to direct it onto the post and out to safety. That penalty miss proved to be very costly as Norwich stunned the Swans with a late finish. The referee failed to spot a clear hand ball in the lead-up to their first goal. A cross came in from the left and Williams slid in in his attempts to clear it, but he directed the ball into his own net to gift the home side. Better communication with his goalkeeper would have meant De Vries catching the cross safely.
As the Swans threw players forward in search of an equaliser, Norwich were able to attack against just one player – Alan Tate. Holt found Jackson unmarked inside the box, and he did well to volley the ball into the top corner to win the game 2-0. Harsh, frustrating and a shock in the end for the Swans after a very good performance at Carrow Road. Norwich looked dangerous early on but they were unable to create many chances in the second half as the Swans took control. We were punished for some poor finishing but manager Brendan Rodgers will take encouragement and positives from another good show from his team.
Norwich: John Ruddy, Russell Martin, Michael Nelson (Jens Berthel Askou, 90+2′), Elliorr Ward, Adam Drury, Wes Hoolahan (Simeon Jackson, 81′), Andrew Crofts, Korey Smith, Andrew Surman (Anthony McNamee, 64′), Chris Martin, Grant Holt (C).
Not Used: Declan Rudd (GK), David Fox, Simon Lappin, Oli Johnson.
Swans: Dorus de Vries; Albert Serran (Neil Taylor, 46′),Garry Monk (C), Ashley Williams, Alan Tate; Mark Gower,Darren Pratley, Nathan Dyer (Andrea Orlandi, 64′), Scott Sinclair, David Cotterill, Stephen Dobbie.
Not Used: David Cornell (GK), Cedric van der Gun, Jordi Lopez, Joe Allen Shefki Kuqi.