Norwich City 1 Swindon Town 0
CHRIS Martin's fifth goal of the season was enough to give Norwich City their third successive home victory in League One.Martin struck after 31 minutes against Swindon Town when he poked the ball home from close range after a corner by Simon Lappin.
CHRIS Martin's fifth goal of the season was enough to give Norwich City their third successive home victory in League One.
Martin struck after 31 minutes against Swindon Town when he poked the ball home from close range after a corner by Simon Lappin.
It was his third goal in successive home games and moved his side up to fifth in the table.
The Canaries certainly had most of the possession on a miserably wet afternoon at Carrow Road, when skipper Grant Holt also struck the crossbar, but struggled to find the fluency of recent weeks and after dominating the first half, there was little to put the fans on the edge of their seats after the break.
Nevertheless, a crowd of nearly 25,000 saw City consolidate their place among the leading group and bounce back from defeat at Leeds.
City boss Paul Lambert kept faith with goalkeeper Fraser Forster despite the injury-time error that handed Leeds their winning goal on Monday night.
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But there were two changes to the team beaten 2-1 at Elland Road with full-back Jon Otsemobor ruled out by a recurrence of his hamstring injury and Stephen Hughes picking up a thigh injury in training yesterday.
Back into the side came 18-year-old George Francomb, making his home debut at right-back after two outings away from home, and midfielder Korey Smith, recovered from a thigh injury.It was announced before kick-off that Smith had signed a new contract with City, taking him to 2012 with the option of a further year.
Defender Michael Nelson was named as one of the substitutes - his first appearance on the teamsheet since he was injured in the 2-1 defeat at MK Dons.
Hoolahan had the first real shot of the match, firing wide from outside the area after seven minutes.
City won their first corner after 10 minutes, Holt getting his head to Lappin's kick but putting his effort wide of the target.
A Lappin free-kick provided the next chance after Martin was fouled by Cuthbert, Askou climbing well but heading over the top.
With 20 minutes gone, Swindon threatened for the first time when Revell sent a glancing header just wide from McNamee's cross with the home defence a little flat-footed.
There was a lucky escape for Swindon in the 22nd minute when Hoolahan and Martin combined to set up Holt, whose shot from the edge of the area struck the crossbar before rebounding to safety.
The Canaries' dominance was rewarded when they broke the deadlock on the half-hour, however, when Martin struck with his fifth goal of the season.
Russell let fly from outside the area and his shot ricocheted for a corner off Amankwaah.
Holt's header from the resulting flag-kick by Lappin appeared to be goalbound before it was blocked by Hoolahan, who was unable to get out of the way of it, but Doherty managed to feed the loose ball to Martin to poke home from a tight angle.
The goal heralded a subdued spell of play but three minutes before the break, Smith's long-range effort just cleared the bar from a pass by Francomb.
Swindon missed a good chance to equalise in first-half stoppage time when Obadeyi got away from Francomb but his low cross was fired wide by McNamee.
Half-time - Norwich City 1, Swindon Town 0.
There was one change for City at the interval with McVeigh replacing Francomb, who had suffered a thigh strain. Smith dropped to right-back, with McVeigh taking the right-sided midfield role.
It took a long while for the second half to splutter into life but 11 minutes after the break, Holt headed just off target from a Lappin corner. Askou was then wide with a header from Russell's free-kick.
City had most of the play and took their corner count into double figures, but did not give goalkeeper Lucas too much to deal with.
With a quarter of the game to go, Swindon made their first change with Hutchinson replacing McNamee.
A three-man collision left Lappin, Russell and Ferry with different knocks, but they were all able to carry on, and as they did so, Swindon made another change, Austin replacing Obadeyi.
Peacock replaced Revell as the visitors made their final change with 13 minutes remaining.
With eight minutes to go, Hoolahan tried an audacious shot from a free-kick on the halfway line with Lucas out of his goal, but the idea was better than the execution and the ball drifted wide.
City made their second change with seven minutes left when goalscorer Martin made way for Cureton.
Nelson made his first appearance for nearly six weeks when he replaced Smith with one minute left.
Timlin earned the first yellow card of the day in the final minute when he took a kick at McVeigh.
Norwich City: Forster; Francomb (McVeigh, 45), Doherty, Askou, Drury; Russell, Smith (Nelson, 89), Lappin; Hoolahan; Holt, Martin (Cureton, 83).
Subs (not used): Rudd, Gill, Adeyemi, McDonald.
Swindon Town: Lucas; Amankwaah, Cuthbert, Greer, Jean-Francois; Ferry; Obadeyi (Austin, 72), McGovern, Timlin, McNamee (Hutchinson, 67); Revell (Peacock, 77).
Subs (not used): Smith, Easton, Morrison, Paynter.
Referee: Grant Hegley (Hertfordshire)
Goal: Norwich City: Martin (31)
Booking: Swindon: Timlin (90)