Norwich 1-0 Spurs
Report from Carrow Road
23 February 2014|Tottenham Hotspur
A second half goal from Robert Snodgrass was enough to win all three points for Norwich for the first time in this fixture in the Premier League era.
Despite chances for Emmanuel Adebayor and substitutes Roberto Soldado and Nacer Chadli, it would be hard to deny that Norwich were not worthy of their victory as other big chances did come their way - particularly in the second half.
There were recalls for Hugo Lloris, Aaron Lennon, Mousa Dembele and Adebayor after the four missed out on Europa League action, while Kyle Walker and Younes Kaboul remained sidelined through injury.
Etienne Capoue was the deepest lying midfielder, with Nabil Bentaleb and Paulinho in advance of him, while Lennon and Dembele were assigned in support of Adebayor from wider positions.
There was an early scramble from a home corner when Lloris did well to collect a high bouncing ball under pressure from Ricky van Wolfswinkel in what was a bright beginning from Norwich, roared on by a packed home crowd, no doubt boosted by Newcastle's late winner against Aston Villa in the earlier game.
Capoue appeared to be struggling 10 minutes in, with Nacer Chadli readying himself for the event of an early call to duty. This came in the 13th minute along with a small reshuffle, with Dembele switching to inside to allow Chadli to operate in his more natural wide territory.
Norwich were playing with a real intensity, snapping at heels, pressing high up the pitch and preventing the construction of any patient forward movement. In Nathan Redmond they had a pacy outlet down the left flank that offered a fairly regular threat, but it was a case of both teams cancelling each other out in the opening 25 minutes, with neither goalkeeper unduly troubled.
Robert Snodgrass raised home hopes when he sneaked past Jan Vertonghen, only to be denied by a Bentaleb block. Redmond continued with his pacy brand of trickery when he collected the loose ball on the left, but the athletic Lloris leapt high to gather his centre.
There was half a chance for Adebayor as Chadli became a greater influence, but the Norwich back line, marshalled by Sebastien Bassong, were standing firm and repelling potential danger without too much alarm.
Lloris did brilliantly to turn away a swirling Snodgrass free-kick after Vertonghen tangled with van Wolfswinkel. The keeper reached high and just managed to take the ball off the head of the oncoming Bradley Johnson.
It was the final action of the first half and attacking improvement was required in the second.
Just two minutes into the second half Bentaleb was dispossessed and Norwich were able to sweep onto the attack, with Johnson playing in Snodgrass, who steered the ball past Lloris into the bottom corner from the edge of the area.
An attacking improvement was more than called for at this point, but Norwich continued to thwart attacking ambitions, while looking sharp while on the front foot themselves.
Adebayor did surge forward beyond defensive lines on the hour but was denied by a brave block from John Ruddy. The striker was soon to have some support in the shape of Roberto Soldado, but not before Ruddy was first to the ball again after an exchange with Paulinho.
It was Paulinho who made way for Soldado on 65 minutes and the Spaniard came close to getting on the scoresheet straight away after Lennon and Adebayor combined to present him with a shooting chance from an angle that was fired into the side netting.
There was now an urgency running throughout the side and a Lennon cross was met by a glancing header from Soldado that went wide.
The Norwich resistance overcame the period of momentum and there was a free-kick chance for Snodgrass that he fired narrowly wide as the clock ticked quickly to 80 minutes.
Chadli then had the best chance of the game after being picked out by Dembele inside the area, but Ruddy stayed big and blocked his low shot.
Andros Townsend then took over from Danny Rose, but the next chance was Snodgrass shooting over after being teed up by the substitute Gary Hooper.
Then from a free-kick some 25 yards out, Johnson hit a piledriver that cannoned off the underside of the bar.
The team pushed on in the closing stages but could not carve out a decisive opening.
Norwich City: Ruddy; Martin, Bassong, Yobo, Olsson; Johnson, Tettey; Snodgrass, Fer, Redmond (Hoolahan, 86); van Wolfswinkel (Hooper, 72). Unused subs: Bunn, Whittaker, Howson, Pilkington, Elmander.
Spurs: Lloris; Naughton, Dawson, Vertonghen, Rose (Townsend, 82); Capoue (Chadli, 13), Bentaleb, Paulinho (Soldado, 65); Lennon, Adebayor, Dembele. Unused subs: Friedel, Fryers, Eriksen, Kane.
Yellow cards: Norwich - Ruddy. Spurs - Dawson, Dembele, Vertonghen.
Goals: Norwich - Snodgrass (47).
Referee: Mr C Pawson.