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Robert Snodgrass scored a stunning free-kick as Norwich City beat West Ham United 3-1 to move out of the relegation zone.
After their 7-0 defeat by Manchester City last weekend, things did not start well for Chris Hughton's side when Ravel Morrison gave West Ham a first-half lead with his third Barclays Premier League goal. However, Jussi Jaaskelainen dropped the ball and then upended Gary Hooper to allow the former Celtic striker to score his first Barclays Premier League goal from the penalty spot.
Snodgrass, back in the side after recovering from concussion, sealed Norwich's first win in five top-flight games with his first goal of the season after 72 minutes to ease the pressure on Hughton. Leroy Fer made sure of the points with a left-foot finish in stoppage time as Norwich secured their first victory over the London club since 1994, with West Ham now without a win in four.
Snodgrass, Johan Elmander and defender Ryan Bennett all came into the Norwich side at the expense of Bradley Johnson, Sebastien Bassong and Steven Whittaker after the drubbing at City. James Tomkins replaced the injured Winston Reid in the West Ham defence, while Joe Cole was preferred to Matt Jarvis in midfield.
Norwich could have been in front after just two minutes when Snodgrass picked out Anthony Pilkington, but Jaaskelainen did well to keep out the winger's left-foot strike. A lack of goals has been a problem for Sam Allardyce's West Ham this season, but they showed a real threat going forward and Norwich goalkeeper John Ruddy had to be alert to keep a Kevin Nolan shot out with his legs after 11 minutes. Norwich were on the back foot and Guy Demel's powerful header rattled the crossbar a minute later, then Ruddy denied Nolan once again.
The visitors were in front 32 minutes in when Nolan failed to get anything on Razvan Rat's cross, but the West Ham captain kept the ball in and picked out the onrushing Morrison, who was left with a simple finish.
Norwich had looked short of ideas going forward, but were gifted an equaliser eight minutes into the second half when Jaaskelainen spilled the ball and was adjudged to have upended Hooper as he attempted to retrieve it. Referee Jon Moss pointed to the spot and Hooper drilled his penalty down the middle to open his account in the Barclays Premier League.
Jaaskelainen could only watch on as Jonny Howson's long-range strike thumped against the bar 20 minutes from time as both sides strived for a winner. Snodgrass then produced a moment of class to put Norwich in front with a free-kick from around 20 yards that looped over the wall and into the bottom-left corner of the net. Fer then wrapped up the win in stoppage time when he raced through and slotted home with his left foot to ensure Norwich leapfrog West Ham in the table.
Norwich manager Chris Hughton: "It's a little bit of relief on the back of some really tough games and the level of our performance hasn't been that bad, but of course we're on the back of two defeats to the two Manchester clubs."
“I thought we thoroughly deserved it in the end. Sometimes when you're on a run like we are, there's a little bit of nervousness. We were certainly able to raise it in that second half and apart from the goals I thought we had some other very good chances.
"We have to build on this. We had a similar start last season where we had some tough games and didn't start so well, and we had a game here against Arsenal and from then onwards we were a better side. It was a bit of a spring forward and let's hope that's today."
West Ham manager: Sam Allardyce: "We let Norwich back into a game that we shouldn't have let them into. We've only got ourselves to blame.
"What I'm disappointed about is the confidence we've gained from our away results this year was there for all to see in the first half. We'd only conceded one goal away from home and that shouldn't have been a goal.
"We capitulated from our own errors and let Norwich back into a game that we shouldn't have let them into. We've only got ourselves to blame.
"I didn't expect that error from Jussi and the error for the second goal. It was such an unusual error and big error from Jussi, the players looked round and I think it killed them."
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|30 Nov 2013||v Crystal Palace (H)|
|11 Feb 2014||v West Ham (A)|