Blackpool 1, Norwich City 3

Glenn Roeder proved that bold is beautiful as City finally shook off their away day jinx. The Canaries were sitting in what was - for them - a comfortable position at 1-1 with just under half an hour to go. But Roeder wasn't content with a point - so on went Darren Huckerby, followed by Ched Evans and then Lee Croft - and in came three of the most valuable points Norwich City are going to win in a long, long time.

Glenn Roeder proved that bold is beautiful as City finally shook off their away day jinx.

The Canaries were sitting in what was - for them - a comfortable position at 1-1 with just under half an hour to go.

But Roeder wasn't content with a point - and with a three-point gap to make up there is clear urgency in everything City do from now on.

So on went Darren Huckerby, followed by Ched Evans and then Lee Croft - and in came three of the most valuable points Norwich City are going to win in a long, long time.


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Two minutes after Croft's introduction City went ahead for the second time and then in the final minute Dion Dublin put the result beyond any doubt with is second of the night.

It could have been different - at 2-1 goalkeeper David Marshall performed heroics to keep out Wes Hoolahan's penalty and his follow-up - but none can argue that, once again, City's new-found guts and determination deserved to see them through.

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Roeder had kept faith with the team which beat Coventry on Saturday, his only change on the bench, where Huckerby replaced Chris Brown.

Blackpool boss Simon Grayson had Hoolahan back after missing the weekend defeat at Southampton, with Andy Welsh dropping to the bench, while Danny Coid replaced the injured Tony McMahon at right back.

City, playing in their white change strip, were first to show, with Darel Russell picking out Jamie Cureton in the inside left channel, although Luke Chadwick was unable to carry on the move as the ball went out of play.

They went closer two minuets later when Chadwick raced clear, sent Jon Otsemobor free down the right and the full-back's shot was saved by keeper Paul Rachubka, Shaun Barker getting to the rebound just before Cureton.

It sparked a spell of three City corners in a minute - an encouraging start for the visitors, but one they didn't immediately take advantage of.

Chadwick was clearly causing problems down Blackpool's left, working well with Otsemobor, with Russell again biting in the middle.

Blackpool had struggled to get supply to their front men, but Andy Morrell did well to bring the ball under control on the edge of the box, only to send a half volley a yard over Marshall's cross bar on 16 minutes.

It was, apart from a couple of poor kicks by Marshall, the first sign of consternation in the City area, although a superb break involving Chadwick, Cureton and Otsemobor consigned that to the “will do better next time” bin.

Claus Jorgensen's weak header was easily gathered by Marshall, after good work by Danny Coid and Hoolahan, but both sides began to get sloppy, losing possession when it seemed easier just to control the ball.

Hoolahan had no such problems on 26 minutes when he slipped into the right side of the City area after receiving a Coid throw and fired a rasping left-footed shot through a crowded penalty area that Marshall did well to get down and collect.

It was the first sign of real penalty area urgency by either side - City, for arguably their neater passing, had created little by then.

But it's amazing what a scare like that can do - within a minute City were ahead.

Cureton was freed down the right after Otsemobor's long ball had gone over the head of Stephen Crainey. His cross from the right gave Pattison two opportunities in the area, both of which were blocked by the keeper before Fotheringham had a shot blocked by a defender for a corner.

The on-loan midfielder took responsibility from the corner and fired it in to the near post where Dublin clipped it home from close range for his third of the season.

The veteran striker was arch enemy number one five minutes later when he went in late on keeper Rachubka, who was trying to shepherd the ball out of play, and, despite howls from the home fans, was given a yellow card.

But their derision turned to elation on 37 minutes when City failed to clear a long punt by the keeper, Gary Taylor-Fletcher took aim and saw his shot take at least one deflection, including one possibly decisive one off team-mate Bartosz Slusarski, before going past Marshall.

Brilliant footwork by Hoolahan a minute later almost put the hosts ahead, his shot coming back off Marshall's post after he had left three defenders for dead.

City, from a goal up, were on the rack with eight minutes, although the momentum Blackpool had accrued was over before it had started and the Canaries were able to safely see out of the half.

t Half-time: Blackpool 1, Norwich City 1

The disappointment of losing the advantage would surely have been assuaged by the knowledge that a first away win of the season was well within City's capabilities.

Hoolahan's long-distance effort two minutes into the second half suggested he felt otherwise.

But Roeder had a potent weapon on the bench in Huckerby, and with six minutes off the half gone he was on for Chadwick, heading straight for the wide right position.

A run down that flank ended with a neat Pattison lay off to Cureton on the left of the area, but the marksman put too much power into a shot which came back off a stanchion.

But it was Blackpool who were making most of the running, Martin Taylor and Shackell producing some timely interceptions in the heart of the City defence - but every time they cleared the ball it just went straight back into the area. The tricky Hoolahan was the instigator, firing in from the edge of the area and forcing Marshall down to his right on 62 minutes.

It was time for another weapon from the bench, this time the secret one - Ched Evans, who came on for Cureton on 65 minutes.

At that stage you felt most of City's 430 travelling fans would be happy with a point, although when Roeder made his final substitution, bringing on Lee Croft for Pattison, it was clear the manager wouldn't.

And within two minutes he had made his point.

First, Huckerby set off on a trademark run, set up inside his own half with a lovely touch by Evans, before he was stopped by Kaspars Gorkss in the Blackpool area. Croft picked up the loose ball, his shot going out for a corner.

From then on it was simplicity itself: Fotheringham's inswinger was met by the head of the diving Taylor on 12 yards and ended up perfectly nestled in the corner of the net - and City were ahead again.

Still the drama didn't stop, with Blackpool given a golden opportunity to get back into the game when Otsemobor was adjudged to have fouled sub Andy Welsh in the area on 80 minutes.

The protest were loud and clear from City fans - Russell earned him his fifth caution of the season - but they were to turn to delight within moments. Hoolahan stepped up, Marshall saved to his left then amazingly stopped Hoolahan's attempt from the rebound. Bodies were flying in left, right and centre before Shackell somehow managed to scoop the ball out for a corner.

City were close to a famous victory - Morrell headed against the bar to give them an anxious moment - but when Dublin sidefooted Huckerby's square pass home from 15 yards it was all over. At last.

t Result: Blackpool 1, Norwich City 3

t Blackpool: Rachubka, Coid, Barker, Gorkss, Crainey, Taylor-Fletcher, Southern, Jorgensen, Hoolahan, Morrell, Slusarski.

Subs: Jackson, Parker (for Slusarski, 70), Vernon (for Coid, 85), Fox, Welsh (for Taylor-Fletcher, 66).

t Norwich: Marshall, Otsemobor, Shackell, Taylor, Camara, Chadwick, Russell, Fotheringham, Pattison, Cureton, Dublin.

Subs: Arnold, Huckerby (for Chadwick, 51), Croft (for Pattison, 71), Doherty, Evans (for Cureton, 66).

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