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Gary Hooper's superb long-range effort secured Norwich City a 1-1 draw against Swansea City at Carrow Road. The former Celtic striker showed neat interplay with Johan Elmander before unleashing a stunning volley that left Swansea goalkeeper Michel Vorm with no chance, and extended Norwich's unbeaten home run in the league to four matches.
Swansea made a bright start and took the lead after 12 minutes when Nathan Dyer latched on to a long ball and calmly lifted his effort over John Ruddy. The winger was then withdrawn in the first half with a suspected fractured ankle. Norwich finished the half brightly before levelling proceedings in first-half injury time through Hooper's magnificent effort.
The hosts looked the more likely to find a winner in the second half, with centre-half Michael Turner coming closest when his header rebounded off the crossbar. But neither side could fine the breakthrough as the shares were spoiled, with the point moving Norwich to 14th, while Swansea remained in 10th.
Vorm returned in goal after missing the 1-1 draw with Hull City due to a knee injury, while Norwich were unchanged from the side that beat West Bromwich Albion 2-0.
Swansea enjoyed the better of the opening exchanges and were rewarded with the opening goal early on when Ashley Williams played a superb long ball that Norwich failed to deal with as Dyer ghosted in and confidently beat Ruddy.
The hosts could have levelled 10 minutes before the break as great tenacity from Hooper allowed the striker to outmuscle Williams but he fired wide after Vorm reacted quickly to narrow the angle.
The game came to a temporary halt when Dyer was taken off the field on a stretcher in a challenge with Sebastien Bassong, with a potentially lengthy spell on the sidelines awaiting the 26-year-old.
With six minutes of time added on, Norwich pushed for a leveller and Williams had to divert the ball off the line when it ricocheted off Jordi Amat. Chris Hughton's side finally drew level deep into first-half stoppage time, when Steven Whittaker's punt forward was chested down by Elmander and Hooper's spectacular strike from 30 yards was too good for Vorm.
Norwich started the second half in a similar fashion to how they ended the first, and shortly after the break Bassong met Nathan Redmond's driven corner but headed wide. Turner came agonisingly close to netting the winner with a looping header in the 68th minute that bounced back off the bar, before Hooper collected Jonny Howson's pass but was denied by a fine stop from Vorm.
Substitute Wilfried Bony nearly stole a late win for Swansea as he forced Ruddy into a diving save to his left.
Norwich manager Chris Hughton: "On the balance of the play in the second half, against a Swansea team which showed a great quality at times, we were the better side. It's a big blow to go 1-0 down, especially with the manner of the goal, but the reaction was very good. We could have and should have gone on and won it."
"It's a super goal from Gary, and the timing was perfect. Anybody seeing that will agree it's a wonderful strike. He's quality, and he's used to scoring goals. What's pleasing is that it's a chance out of nothing. When somebody can produce something from nothing, it's clearly special. He has that type of ability."
"The second half was good, and we certainly looked to get that winner. Our endeavours were all about trying to get that winning goal. You see we're pushing to get the winner. It's a game we don't want to lose on the back of a decent run. They broke well at times, but it's important we didn't lose as well."
"They're all big games of us, irrespective of positions in the table. We know where a win would've taken us, but we've kept a run going. We need to keep that resilience and that second half performance, starting with Sunderland next weekend.”
Swansea manager Michael Laudrup: "That game of football we controlled quite well in the first half and then just before half-time, after the injury, we had 10 minutes where we lost a little bit of perspective and they scored a fantastic equaliser. We have reached 20 points after 16 games. That is positive after a very difficult week for us.
"The health of a person is the most important thing. We know football can have injuries. Hopefully I'm wrong, but this looked much more serious. We have to wait a couple of days for an X-ray and a scan, and we all cross our fingers to hope it is not that bad. That will overshadow everything else. It is just a game of football."
|28 Jan 2014||v Newcastle (H)|
|01 Jan 2014||v Crystal Palace (A)|
|11 May 2014||v Arsenal (H)|
|28 Dec 2013||v Man Utd (H)|
|18 Jan 2014||v Hull (H)|
|29 Mar 2014||v Swansea (A)|