Norwich City 3-2 Bolton Wanderers

  • December 08, 2018 | By Chris Mann
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Teemu Pukki scored in the third minute of stoppage time as Norwich City beat Bolton, who had seen Sammy Ameobi sent off for a second bookable offence just seconds earlier.

Trailing to goals either side of the break from Mario Vrancic and Marco Stiepermann, Wanderers reduced the deficit through Ameobi just after the hour before Mark Beevers lashed home an unlikely equaliser with two minutes of normal time remaining.

But that was all to change in added time - with a second yellow card for Ameobi leaving the visitors with 10 men, who just couldn't hold out as Pukki fired home a winner that sees the Canaries retain their place on top of the Championship table.

Having seen an improved display in a 1-1 draw with Wigan Athletic last time out, Wanderers boss Phil Parkinson named the same starting line-up as he looked to continue building the attacking partnership of Ameobi and Christian Doidge.

Indeed, Ameobi was involved in the first attacking action of the game as his low cross into the Norwich box picked out Jason Lowe, whose first-time drive was pushed away by Tim Krul.

Ameobi was involved again moments later, this time finding Will Buckley inside the Canaries box. Buckley was on the scoresheet against Wigan seven days earlier, but this time failed to hit the target when it had looked easier to score.

Ameobi's wings were then clipped somewhat as he received a yellow card for a late challenge on Todd Cantwell, shortly before Norwich burst forward for the first time in a move which saw Stiepermann force Ben Alnwick into a stop.

Alex Tettey was next to try his luck for the hosts, heading over a corner from Max Aarons midway through the half, before Aarons then turned provider for Cantwell, who bent a strike from the edge of the box narrowly wide of the target.

Pawel Olkowski curled a shot wide at the other end after Norwich had failed to deal with a free-kick from Andrew Taylor, while Buckley prompted Krul into a comfortable save with a cross-cum-shot shortly before the half-hour.

Vrancic shot wide from distance as Norwich stepped up the pressure, while both Craig Noone and Joe Williams came close to breaking the deadlock at the other end.

Stiepermann brought Alnwick into another save on 38 minutes, but the Bolton goalkeeper was beaten from the next attack as Aarons laid the ball off to Vrancic, who drilled low and hard into the bottom corner from 25 yards.

Williams hit an attempt wide of goal as Bolton looked for an immediate equaliser, while Alnwick claimed comfortable from Pukki as the half drew to a close with City leading 1-0.

There were no changes to either side as the players returned for the start of the second period, which began with Emi Buendia whipping a cross narrowly wide of Alnwick's far post after his initial corner was cleared by Doidge.

Doidge, known more for his attacking talent, was once again the defensive hero on 53 minutes, this time charging down a goalbound attempt from Alex Tettey after Beevers had cleared a free-kick from Aarons.

Andrew Taylor was next to put his body on the line, with Vrancic this time the unfortunate City forward to be denied, while Ameobi fired high and wide at the other end as Bolton looked to get themselves back on level terms.

That miss would serve as a turning point as, just three minutes later, Norwich doubled their advantage when Stiepermann was left unmarked inside the box and he beat Alnwick with a first-time strike at his near post.

The visitors were back in it just four minutes later, though, as Olkowski's cross from the right-hand side was only half-cleared. The loose ball fell kindly to Taylor, who hooked it back into dangerous territory for Ameobi to volley past Krul.

Cantwell and Stiepermann both failed to hit the target as the clock ticked into the final 20 minutes, before the latter dragged a shot inches wide of Alnwick's left-hand post after Vrancic picked out his teammate on the edge of the area.

Then, with two minutes to play, Wanderers got themselves an unlikely equaliser as a right-sided cross from Lowe caused panic in the Norwich box. Substitute Josh Magennis failed to connect with a header, sparking a scramble between Doidge and Krul, before Williams poked a loose ball to Beevers who slammed home from close range.

Many thought that would be all the story had to tell at Carrow Road, but there was to be two big moments to follow.

First, Ameobi was shown a second yellow card for a needless tug on the shirt of Cantwell, leaving Wanderers to play out four minutes of added time with 10 men.

Unfortunately for the Trotters, it was a task too far as, in the third of those, a cross from Cantwell wasn' dealt with and Pukki smashed home a winner to keep Norwich on top of the division and consign Wanderers to yet another defeat.

Bolton return to action next Saturday, when they step out at the University of Bolton Stadium against Leeds United.

Norwich City: Krul, Aarons, Zimmermann, Godfrey, Lewis, Vrancic, Tettey, Buendia (Hernandez 83), Stiepermann (Rhodes 87), Cantwell, Pukki (Srbeny 90+6)
Subs Not Used: McGovern, Marshall, Trybull
Booked: Vrancic
Goals: Vrancic 39, Stiepermann 59, Pukki 90+3

Bolton Wanderers: Alnwick, Taylor, Beevers, Hobbs, Olkowski (O'Neil 79), Buckley (Magennis 71), Lowe, J Williams, Noone (Dyer 60), Ameobi, Doidge
Subs Not Used: B Williams, Vela, Wilson, Wheater
Booked: Ameobi, O'Neil
Sent Off: Ameobi
Goals: Ameobi 63, Beevers 88

Referee: Scott Duncan
Attendance: 25,811

Sky Bet League One Standings

Pos Team Pld Pts
13 Accrington Stanley 27 36
14 Charlton Athletic 27 33
15 Bolton Wanderers 26 32
16 Lincoln City 26 31
17 Cheltenham Town 27 31
View Full Standings >>


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