First-half goals by top scorer and player of the season Grant Holt and Simeon Jackson gave Norwich City a winning end to the season – and 12th place in the final Premier League table.

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Skipper Holt took just nine minutes to open the scoring, knocking in his 17th of the season - with his chest - from a free-kick.

And striking partner Jackson scored the second after 22 minutes after an error by Villa defender Carlos Cuellar, making his farewell appearance for the club.

The Canaries produced some scintillating football at times and could have had more goals but for a fine display by Villa goalkeeper Shay Given, whose performance was head and shoulders above his jaded looking team-mates.

It was City’s first Premier League win on a Sunday, and the first time since 2004 they have finished the season with a win.

There was more good news for Holt after the game when he collected the Barry Butler Memorial Trophy for the third year in a row as player of the year, the first man to win the award three times.

Goalkeeper John Ruddy was runner-up with midfielder David Fox third.

For Villa and troubled boss Alex McLeish, the defeat left them in 16th place, staying in the top flight but managing just seven league wins all season.

City boss Lambert named an unchanged eleven after the 3-3 draw at Arsenal, with just two changes on the bench. Adam Drury, recovered from a groin injury, and Andrew Crofts replaced Elliott Ward and Anthony Pilkington.

Villa showed two changes after the 1-1 draw against Tottenham that guaranteed their Premier League place, with James Collins back for the injured Alan Hutton and Gabriel Agbonlahor replacing Charles N’Zogbia, who was among the substitutes.

Former City boss Peter Grant, Villa’s assistant boss, was back on the touchline at Carrow Road for the first time since his spell as manager ended in 2007.

Before kick-off, Elliott Bennett received the player of the month award for April.

City, sporting their new kit for the first time, kicked off, but it was Villa who forced the first corner in the third minute. Warnock’s kick was headed away at the near post by Lappin, and cleared as far as Ireland, who struck a swerving effort well off target.

Jackson got the better of Dunne on the edge of the Villa area but stumbled as he went past the defender. City’s first corner by Elliott Bennett was a poor one, headed clear by Dunne.

Holt was shown the yellow card in the eighth minute in odd circumstances when Collins appeared to aim a free-kick straight at him from a few yards away, and he was cautioned for not retreating.

Jackson pounced on the rebound and put the ball in the net, but the whistle had long gone.

Holt, however, had the last laugh by giving City the lead a minute later. Collins fouled Jackson and from Lappin’s free-kick, Holt arrived at the far post to knock the ball home off his chest. It was his 17th goal of the season and his 70th goal for the club in just three seasons.

It was almost 2-0 after 12 minutes when Howson sent in a curling shot from 20 yards that Given saved acrobatically, leaping to his left.

With 18 minutes gone, Lappin was close to his first goal since 2007, sending in a free-kick from a similar distance that Given again saved to his left.

Given had little chance midway through the half, however, when Jackson scored his fifth goal of the season.

Cuellar tried to head the ball back towards his ’keeper from Ryan Bennett’s long ball forward, but it went straight to Jackson, and though his initial touch was parried by Given, the Canadian made no mistake from the rebound.

By this stage, Villa fans were calling for their manager to be sacked and joining in their own chorus of “There’s only one Paul Lambert” – an indication of their preferred replacement.

There were appeals for a penalty when Jackson’s attempted cross appeared to hit Cuellar’s left hand, but referee Atkinson waved City’s protests away.

Ruddy punched away a corner by Warnock as Villa made a rare incursion into Norwich territory, but City were soon pressing again and Elliott Bennett shot just wide from the edge of the penalty area.

Bennett tested Given again when he moved on to Howson’s pass and the keeper dived to his left again to save at the expense of a corner.

Left-back Lichaj showed more enterprise for Villa and set off on a forward run before forcing Ruddy to make a fine save, diving to his right.

Howson was blatantly blocked off by Cuellar on the corner of the penalty area, with the Villa man lucky to escape a yellow card, and when the free-kick was cleared, Hoolahan produced another on-target effort that Given had to get down low to save.

• Half-time: Norwich City 2, Aston Villa 0

Villa made a change at the interval when Bannan replaced Herd.

Ruddy made two excellent saves in a matter of seconds. First, a mistake by Johnson let in Heskey, who was held up but did enough to tee up Ireland for a shot that the keeper saved superbly, then as Villa continued to attack, he denied Heskey at the expense of a corner.

From the flag-kick, Ireland produced another shot that Ruddy tipped over the top.

A storming run by Johnson set up another City attack and as Elliott Bennett crossed from the right, Hoolahan attempted a volley that sailed past the angle of post and bar.

Clark became the first Villa player booked for a trip on Jackson, but Johnson thundered the free-kick into the wall.

A splendid Norwich move ended with Hoolahan’s pass being met by a first-time shot from Naughton that Given again saved.

The defenders were joining in now with Russell Martin just off target from a corner, and Ryan Bennett’s header saved by Given from a Holt cross.

In another great move, Hoolahan set up Jackson for a stinging shot that Given saved superbly, diving to his right.

Johnson was keen to get on the scoresheet and was not too far off target with a long-range effort.

Villa made another change after 66 minutes when Cuellar departed in his final game, making way for Gardner.

With just over 20 minutes to go, City changed both strikers with Morison and Wilbraham replacing Holt and Jackson.

Villa almost snatched a goal back when Ruddy did brilliantly to turn Agbonlahor’s shot on to the inside of the post, Russell Martin sliding in to clear the rebound.

Wilbraham fired just over as he went in search of his first Carrow Road goal for the Canaries.

Ireland headed over at the other end when he might have done better, but Villa were showing a little more urgency as the minutes ticked away.

Elliott Bennett fired over from Howson’s pass when he should at least have got his shot on target.

It was Howson’s last contribution as, with 13 minutes to go, he made way for Crofts.

Heskey glanced a header wide from Warnock’s cross, and Warnock was next to make way when Baker replaced him with nine minutes to go, the day’s final substitution.

In stoppage time, Bannan almost reduced the arrears with a swerving shot that flashed past the post – the last meaningful action of the season.

• Result: Norwich City 2, Aston Villa 0

• Norwich City: Ruddy; Naughton, Ryan Bennett, Russell Martin, Lappin; Howson (Crofts, 77); Elliott Bennett, Johnson; Hoolahan; Holt (Morison, 69), Jackson (Wilbraham, 69). Subs (not used): Steer, Drury, Fox, Surman.

• Aston Villa: Given; Cuellar (Gardner, 66), Collins, Dunne, Lichaj; Clark; Herd (Bannan, 45), Warnock (Baker, 81 in); Ireland; Heskey, Agbonlahor. Subs (not used): Guzan, Carruthers, N’Zogbia, Delfouneso.

• Referee: Martin Atkinson (West Yorkshire)

• Attendance: 26,803

• Goals: City: Holt (9), Jackson (22)

• Bookings: City: Holt (8). Villa: Clark (54)

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16 comments

  • I for one can't wait to se what is going to happen over the summer and next season. I am sure that work will be going on sorting out contracts for those who need it - and who we want to keep. Hopefully that goals against column will be reduced a bit next season. I still think there is room for that pacy striker who can weigh in with a decent tally of goals. Maybe Vaughan can do that, but the injury record casts doubt on his reliablility. That is such a shame as he and Pilkington were the two players I was really looking forward to seeing what they could do at the start of the season. As for Lappin, he is one of those unspectacular players who always produce reliable, solid performances. His delivery into the box is also excellent. I think Lambert will want to give it another year at least with us, unless a really big job was offered him such as Liverpool. Even his mentor, O'Neill, was unable to do too much with Villa and he had more cash to spend than McLeish. Anyway, here's to all the transfer speculation over the summer, whic we can sit back and enjoy in the knowledge that WE ARE PREMIER LEAGUE, and in a stronger position squad wise and financial wise than last year. OTBC ILWT

    Report this comment

    Preston Canary

    Monday, May 14, 2012

  • Fantastic season. Well done one and all. Clean sheet as well today - Hopefully a lot more next season! OTBC.

    Report this comment

    JMH

    Sunday, May 13, 2012

  • Sunshine, a great performance, a clean sheet, a goal and Player of the Season award for Holt - all in all a perfect day.

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    bogbog

    Sunday, May 13, 2012

  • lets hope that Lambert stays at Norwich

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    valerie hughes

    Sunday, May 13, 2012

  • Considering the stick Morison has got from some sections (unfairly I think) what ever would they be doing as Villa fans? It looked liked half the Villla team were trying to get McLeish sacked - theopbviousy;don,t see Lambert as a replacemtn because they were not out to impress him either! Greeat perfomance. Martin & Bennett have a look of McKayFleming about them, Johnson looked a lot more confident and Howson beginning to show why Lambert went for him. Have we found our new left back in the King of Spain

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    Pondlife

    Monday, May 14, 2012

  • Morning, fellow ether-fighters! Thanks Preston, I also predicted Holty would be top scorer with 14 of 54 goals, so 15 of 52 was close. Also predicted 63 conceded. Not far out, despite Man C`s best efforts! Agree with Pondy, King of Spain looks sound as a pound @ Left Back. I think Lambo gave him quite a long contract, too..... probably so he has somebody to talk to without an interpreter. :-). Is Vaughan in the workshop for running repairs? Is Pilks being hidden from view so he`s not poached? Or being sent up to Huddersfield to tempt his old mate Jordan Rhodes down here? All will be revealed-when Lambo is ready to tell of his plans for US next season. OTBC.

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    Mad Brewer

    Monday, May 14, 2012

  • An absolutely fanastic end to the season - I have to admit I was somewhat concerned we might whimper out in this game but the lads proved me wrong and I'm glad they did! Sturdy performance, and certainly one I wish we had seen at a few earlier games. The 2011-2012 season has proven to be a fascinating one for me. Man City already bought and paid for the title months ago so that was never in any doubt, but some of the other results and positions have made for interesting stuff. My only gripe is that we didn't finish above swansea, but if that's my only gripe then that can't be bad! Here's to next season and hopefully some new signings will bolster some of our weaknesses and add to the strengths we have already :)

    Report this comment

    wisemanthree

    Monday, May 14, 2012

  • I for one can't wait to se what is going to happen over the summer and next season. I am sure that work will be going on sorting out contracts for those who need it - and who we want to keep. Hopefully that goals against column will be reduced a bit next season. I still think there is room for that pacy striker who can weigh in with a decent tally of goals. Maybe Vaughan can do that, but the injury record casts doubt on his reliablility. That is such a shame as he and Pilkington were the two players I was really looking forward to seeing what they could do at the start of the season. As for Lappin, he is one of those unspectacular players who always produce reliable, solid performances. His delivery into the box is also excellent. I think Lambert will want to give it another year at least with us, unless a really big job was offered him such as Liverpool. Even his mentor, O'Neill, was unable to do too much with Villa and he had more cash to spend than McLeish. Anyway, here's to all the transfer speculation over the summer, whic we can sit back and enjoy in the knowledge that WE ARE PREMIER LEAGUE, and in a stronger position squad wise and financial wise than last year. OTBC ILWT

    Report this comment

    Preston Canary

    Monday, May 14, 2012

  • PS. Why was Holty not deemed a worthy Man of the Match contender? He showed you don`t have to be a flashy, disruptive, temperamental Italian with a weird haircut @ ManC to score with your "shoulder"! Even discussed it as a training ground practice technique! He`s a clever old boy... :-)

    Report this comment

    Mad Brewer

    Monday, May 14, 2012

  • a good spirited city on their last game of the season - they always were expected to beat a poor old villa side and they did it easily. city also got a good feedback from the match of the day presenters for what they had contributed to the premiership through the season (lot to be said for match of the day, but wouldn't have minded seeing more of the after the final whistle moments at the stadium of light while the man united players and supporters were preparing to celebrate + top marks to the premiership league management for having the the cup and winning medals already in manchester - well done city). good to see ray clemence at carrow road and to be able to meet him again, i'm sure he will give our boys a good report but i don't expect poor old ruddy will be having to delay his wedding plans in favour of euro 2012 - only four clean sheets in a season won't bluff him through! and the end of season management clearout, i think we can say goodbye to steve kean (he should have been gone before poor old steve bruce); also goodbye to poor old alex mcleisch i think (the only person who think he is any good is himself); also i think the liverpool grave robbers will be getting rid of kenny dalglish (who was not good enough second time round and never seem to have any conviction in lifting anyones hearts, let alone the red half of liverpool who still throw their money at a club that struggles with getting any sort of result from whoever they play - bill shankly would not have let it happen; & last and not least - i cannot see lambert being here come august - city could have done better and should have made their spot 9th in the league - there will be a few clubs chasing him and he will look to better himself. anyway best of luck to all and thanks for a great season and hopefully city will see sense and get steve bruce back.

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    GTOM

    Monday, May 14, 2012

  • Last game, no negatives. Well done you yellows.

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    Lobbo

    Sunday, May 13, 2012

  • I reckon he'll stay and first signing will be Snodgrass from the feeder club

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    YorkCanary

    Sunday, May 13, 2012

  • Paul, will you still be at Norwich at the start of next season?' Lambert: 'Erm, erm, erm, it's difficult to answer that'

    Report this comment

    billythebookie2000@yahoo.co.uk

    Sunday, May 13, 2012

  • Amazing end to an amazing season, real fashion about our play. Our passing, movement, pace and solidity at the back was simply too much for Villa. Now, I beg the Norwich supporters... Please don't make Lambert staying a massive talking point, it only becomes massive when everyone is talking about it, and will only raise his profile further. We don't want to look desperate, hopefully we remain in his eyes a team that is faultlessly climbing in English football, and I can only hope that's enough to convince him to further our progress. The board have a big influence on this though, they must back him more than ever before, release funds into both his wages in a new contract and his kitty for new players.

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    Billy

    Sunday, May 13, 2012

  • Of course PL will still be here in August. A great season, well done to the players, the management and the fans. To finish 12th is fantastic, onwards and upwards OTBC !

    Report this comment

    Bruce87

    Sunday, May 13, 2012

  • Brilliant season. So proud of how all of them have developed as players. Were we in Vogue Billy? Oh and congrats to Brewer for his 47 points prediction. OTBC ILWT

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    Preston Canary

    Sunday, May 13, 2012

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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