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Goals by Gary Hooper and Leroy Fer allowed Norwich City to end a run of four away defeats in the Barclays Premier League with a 2-0 win at West Bromwich Albion.
Hooper's 13th-minute strike, his second goal in three matches, and Fer's last-minute goal ended a poor run of results on the road for Chris Hughton's side, who had conceded 18 goals in those four defeats. The Norwich forward took his goal well, sending a finish across Boaz Myhill after being set up by Fer, before the Dutchman made the game safe in the final minute, cutting inside from the left to shoot low into the net. West Brom had thrown on Shane Long and Saido Berahino for the second half but the hosts, and Stephane Sessegnon in particular, missed chances to bring themselves back into the game.
Both sides made a number of changes following midweek defeats, the hosts showing five alterations and Norwich three, with Hooper among those to return to the Norwich side.
Hooper put Norwich in front after 13 minutes, planting the ball into the bottom left corner from 18 yards after being picked out by Fer.
West Brom responded strongly, Youssouf Mulumbu firing an effort straight at John Ruddy after combining neatly with Morgan Amalfitano on the edge of the area in the 18th minute. Nathan Redmond tested Myhill with an awkwardly dipping free-kick nine minutes later, and Ruddy palmed Victor Anichebe's powerful shot over the crossbar 10 minutes before the break.
Steve Clarke made an attacking double substitution at half-time as Berahino and Long replaced Amalfitano and Liam Ridgewell, and the hosts claimed a penalty a minute after the restart saying that Sessegnon's close-range effort appeared to strike a combination of Martin Olsson's chest and right arm.
Sessegnon could have levelled the score five minutes later. The Benin forward burst through the middle of the Norwich defence before placing his shot wide of a post with just Ruddy to beat 15 yards out. Jonny Howson curled his shot a yard over Myhill's bar in the 63rd minute, before Sessegnon came close again a minute later, firing straight at the legs of Ruddy after Olsson's clearance fell to him inside the six-yard box.
The hosts continued to press. Long volleyed straight into the arms of Ruddy before Anichebe headed Billy Jones' cross wide of goal.
The closing stages were dominated by West Brom, but they were unable to find a way past a resolute Norwich backline, and Fer fired a low shot beyond Myhill from 18 yards to extend West Brom's winless run to six matches.
West Brom head coach Steve Clarke: "In the game we certainly had enough possession. We created enough, but we didn't score the goal.
"We conceded a disappointing goal early in the game, which always makes it difficult, but we tried to get back in and play our football. We should have got ourselves level early on in the second half and then we could have gone on to win the game. Eventually the second goal was a consequence of us trying to get something out of the game."
Norwich manager Chris Hughton: "It was one of those old-fashioned battles. In the end they had four or five forwards and we were able to catch them on the break. It shows character in the side, delighted with the clean sheet.
"Gary [Hooper] is a super finisher and he's now up to speed with his physical condition. He's benefitting from a run of games in the team."
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|08 Feb 2014||v Crystal Palace (A)|