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Robert Snodgrass gave Norwich City's Barclays Premier League survival hopes a huge boost by sealing a 1-0 victory over Tottenham Hotspur at Carrow Road.
Chances were few and far between for both sides in the first half at Carrow Road on Sunday, but Chris Hughton's men burst out of the blocks in the second period. Some good work by Bradley Johnson sent Snodgrass through on goal and the Scot made no mistake in slotting past Hugo Lloris.
The win was Norwich's first in five top-flight matches and their first at home over Spurs in the league since 1991. Spurs failed to score for the first time under Tim Sherwood in the league and end the weekend six points adrift of the top four.
Spurs were back at full strength after resting players for the 1-0 UEFA Europa League defeat at Dnipro on Thursday, with Lloris, Mousa Dembele and Emmanuel Adebayor among those to come into the starting XI.
It was Norwich who had the first goalscoring opportunity in the third minute, but Ricky van Wolfswinkel, who had only mustered four shots on target in his previous 17 Barclays Premier League appearances, was unable to meet Snodgrass's cross with a meaningful touch, despite having two bites at the cherry.
Chances were at a premium for both sides as the half progressed, with goalkeepers John Ruddy and Lloris seeing little action for the duration of the opening period. Paulinho did get a sight of goal from the edge of the penalty area in the 23rd minute, but his effort sailed high and wide of the target.
Spurs, who were forced into an early substitution when Etienne Capoue hobbled off in the opening 10 minutes, looked like they might be nursing some heavy legs following their midweek trip to the Ukraine, as Norwich tried their best to take full advantage.
The hosts were ahead two minutes into the second half, when Snodgrass lost his marker to meet a Johnson pass and curl a left-footed effort around Lloris into the bottom-left corner of the net. It was Norwich's 12th home league goal of the season.
Adebayor was sent clean through on goal on the hour, but Ruddy rushed off his line to gather the ball at his feet, before Snodgrass stung the palms of Lloris with a 20-yard strike at the other end.
Sherwood introduced Roberto Soldado five minutes later, but the Spaniard's first contribution was to skew an effort wide of the right-hand upright, having been teed up by Adebayor. His second was to miss the target with a header from an Aaron Lennon cross shortly afterwards.
Nacer Chadli was denied by Ruddy late on, as Spurs registered their first shot on target in the 81st minute. Johnson clattered the underside of the crossbar from a free-kick three minutes later, before Nathan Redmond saw an effort saved by Lloris in a frantic finale.
Norwich manager Chris Hughton: “I’m really delighted with the group of players, because they have worked very hard. It feels like a big win. We’ve had a good level of performance over the last three games, and we should have got more from them.
“There’s always the chance that level of performance drops which gives you less of a chance, but there was certainly no indication of that today. The team were excellent.”
“We endeavoured to win the game, but when we had to defend, we defended really well because they’ve got some really talented players that are going to test you. If you give them time then they can hurt you. They’ve got good quality, but we had to play to what we feel are our strengths. In the second half the game became more open that perhaps what we’d have liked, but we showed great spirit.
“Everybody’s pulling in the right direction. We all want the same things and as manager of this football club it’s my job to lead this group of players. You have to accept the ups and downs and look forward to the next game.”
Spurs head coach Tim Sherwood: "The result was very disappointing. The first-half performance was disappointing. Second half wasn't, but [it was] too late and if you don't take your chances, which we clearly had, then you ain't going to win no football matches unfortunately.
”It was a sluggish start and it was a nothing game in the first half. They never did anything, we didn't do anything. You were happy to come in at 0-0 and hopefully we could respond, but obviously took a real blow early on in the second half in going behind to a sloppy goal. We created a few chances, but unfortunately we couldn't take them."
"We were stronger in the second half, so we can't use that [Thursday’s UEFA Europa League tie] as an excuse. It's the first major setback I've had and we're going to need to be spirited to get back and show what we're made of."
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