Canaries boss Paul Lambert paid tribute to the City ‘unit’ after thumping Brighton and Hove Albion 4-1 at Carrow Road tonight, despite all the plaudits going to Messrs Holt, Martin and Hoolahan.
The trio have now notched 35 goals between them and their fitness will be crucial to hopes of maintaining the Canary promotion push.
Despite going into the break two goals to the good through Holt and Hoolahan, James Tunnicliffe’s 61st minute tap-in gave the Seagulls a glimmer of hope, before City sealed the contest through an own goal and a classy Martin finish.
But Lambert was quick to acknowledge the contribution of all the Norwich squad and to a man, you couldn’t fault any of them. And they now sit fourth in the table and climbing, after Swindon enjoyed a 2-1 success over Lee Clark’s Huddersfield.
“There is no question that those three lads have been excellent. But if you ask them, they would say that they need the others behind them as a unit.
“We should give everybody credit for what they’re doing, not just one or two individuals. The whole group as a team and as a unit have been terrific. I thought the lads were excellent against a good Brighton side.”
City notched up their 10th win in 14 outings in a controversial Carrow Road contest and it was certainly one of the more eventful first halves you’re likely to see.
Apart from the two goals, to be fair to Brighton, there were chances at both ends. But they had the worst possible start when City took the lead after just three minutes.
Some sloppy defending let in captain and talisman Holt and he chipped superbly from the left-hand side to beat opposition ‘keeper Graeme Smith.
Albion then surged forward in search of an equaliser and they should have had one just five minutes later when Gary Doherty’s attempted clearance deflected off Liam Dickinson, only for the lively forward to shoot wide when it would have been easier to score.
There were further chances for Korey Smith and Brighton’s Andrew Crofts but slightly against the run of play, the Canaries made it two on 22 minutes when Adam Drury’s tackle deflected to Hoolahan in the box – the Irishman made no mistake with the outside of his boot.
The main talking point of the opening 45 was, however, the 20 man brawl that accompanied Dean Cox’s foul on Darel Russell. How both teams escaped going down to 10 men is a mystery but after the resulting melee, only the two mentioned and Crofts were given yellow cards.
The second half was a slightly quieter affair but City had enough chances to make life a little easier before Albion’s goal – with Holt and Doherty both nearly heading home from Simon Lappin corners. The Canaries’ top scorer had an even better chance just before the hour mark when Hoolahan fed him a beautiful through ball, but Holt could only shoot at the imposing Smith.
Tuncliffe’s 69th minute effort after Glenn Murray’s cross made life interesting for a while but City came back strong again, even if their third was a little fortuitous. Just when a few nerves were beginning to jangle, Lappin’s 69th minute free-kick missed everything bar Tommy Elphick’s back to slide into the net and seal the deal for Norwich.
But if the third was a tad lucky, the fourth was pure quality from Martin on 82 and after picking up the ball around 25 yards out, his low shot was unstoppable to make it another convincing success for Lambert’s high-flying Canaries.
City: Forster; Otsemobor, Doherty, Askou, Drury; Smith (Hughes 72), Russell (Adeyemi 86), Lappin; Hoolahan; Holt (McDonald 83), Martin.
Subs not used: Theoklitos, McVeigh, Dawkin, Nelson.