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Norwich City held off Swansea City’s second-half fightback to extend their unbeaten run to 10 games with a thrilling 4-3 win at the Liberty Stadium. The Canaries had stunned their high-flying hosts by racing into a 3-0 half-time lead, before Swansea rallied with goals from Michu and Jonathan De Guzman. Robert Snodgrass made sure of the win with an excellent free-kick, before Michu netted again in injury time.
Chris Hughton's team started the match strongly and took the lead in the 16th minute. Snodgrass laid the ball off to Steven Whittaker, and the ex-Rangers man was allowed to run through and fire low past Gerhard Tremmel for his first Norwich goal. Snodgrass forced a save from Tremmel as he cut in from the right flank, before Danny Graham came close to an equaliser when his header from De Guzman's cross came back off the bar.
Sebastien Bassong struck for the third time in four games to put Norwich two goals up. Holt hoisted a cross to the far post, where the defender rose above Davies to beat Tremmel at the German's near post. Just two minutes later it was 3-0. A Snodgrass free-kick picked out the unmarked Grant Holt, who steered his header beyond Tremmel .
Michu gave Swansea a route back into the game as he slotted into the far corner from Davies' low ball across the box in the 51st minute. Swansea then got back to within a goal of their visitors on 59 minutes. Nathan Dyer outpaced Javier Garrido down the flank and, when his cross was not cleared, De Guzman volleyed in. Graham could have levelled eight minutes later but Garrido made a vital intervention as the striker ran in on goal. Swansea substitute Itay Shechter had the ball in the net soon after as Mark Bunn failed to hold the ball under pressure from Michu, but referee Howard Webb ruled the Spaniard had fouled the goalkeeper.
Michu then headed wide, before Norwich doused Swansea's fire with their fourth of the afternoon. Ashley Williams was booked for a foul on Holt, and Snodgrass stepped up to curl home a beautiful strike from the resulting free-kick. It meant the points were safe for Norwich and Michu's second goal in injury time was a mere consolation.
Swansea manager Brian Laudrup: "We didn't play well in the first half. We found ourselves three goals down at the break, but the reaction was great in the second half. The players realise that you can't play at 90 per cent at this level. You have to be at your best all the time.
"We were too predictable in the first half but after the restart we were faster, played one and two touches and were moving ball around well. But overall, we didn't deserve to win after our performance in the first half."
"We showed a lot of character in the second half. As we did in the home games against Sunderland and Reading. But it is a lesson for everyone that you have to be at 100 per cent.
"We had a lot of praise last weekend and if people are telling you that you are great, then you start to believe it. Sometimes you can drop a little and get punished."
Norwich manager Chris Hughton: "It was a game of two halves. It couldn't have gone any better for us at 3-0 but we didn't do ourselves any justice by conceding two goals early on in the second half.
"It's a good win against a Swansea side that are in good form and they showed what a good side they are in the second half. But the fourth goal was pivotal for us and the players showed great character in the second half and I'm delighted with the win."
|16 Dec 2012||v Spurs (A)|
|23 Dec 2012||v Man Utd (H)|
|26 Dec 2012||v Reading (A)|
|29 Dec 2012||v Fulham (A)|
|01 Jan 2013||v Aston Villa (H)|
|12 Jan 2013||v Everton (A)|