Earnie back with a bang
Leicester City 1, Norwich City 2: Robert Earnshaw made a dramatic return to first team action for Norwich City with one of the goals that wrecked former boss Nigel Worthington’s return to football management at the Walkers Stadium. The Canaries came from behind to beat Leicester City 2-1 and complete a Coca-Cola Championship double over the Foxes, who had given Worthington such a bright start to his five match stint as caretaker manager.
Robert Earnshaw made a dramatic return to first team action for Norwich City with one of the goals that wrecked former boss Nigel Worthington's return to football management at the Walkers Stadium.
The Canaries came from behind to beat Leicester City 2-1 and complete a Coca-Cola Championship double over the Foxes, who had given Worthington such a bright start to his five match stint as caretaker manager.
Ex-Canary Darren Kenton fired Leicester ahead in the first minute of the match, shooting home from a narrow angle - and Norwich immediately lost skipper Adam Drury with injury.
But the Canaries regrouped and dominated much of the contest. They had to wait until 73 minutes, however, to get back on terms when Earnshaw, who had been on the field just five minutes as a substitute, scored from the penalty spot after Darren Huckerby's shot had been handled by Patrick Kisnorbo.
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The winning goal came three minutes later when Leicester defender Gareth McAuley appeared to get the final touch to a corner from Darren Huckerby to complete an unenviable double, having scored an own goal at Carrow Road earlier in the season.
It was a victory the depleted Canaries certainly deserved, but a worrying result for their former boss with his new club at the wrong end of the table.
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There were one or two surprises in the Norwich squad with manager Grant forced into three changes after the 2-1 defeat by West Bromwich Albion on Easter Monday.
Ruled out by injury were defender Gary Doherty (stomach strain), midfielders Youssef Safri (hamstring) and Simon Lappin (broken thumb), as well as Mark Fotheringham, who replaced Safri in the first half on Monday but suffered a back injury.
Dion Dublin was back in the starting 11 in place of Doherty, while Jurgen Colin made the starting line-up at fullback for the first time in two months after recovering from a groin injury.
Michael Spillane was also named in the 11 for the first time this season after two Carling Cup appearances as a substitute under Worthington early in the season.
Biggest surprise of all, however, was on the bench where striker Robert Earnshaw was named as one of the five substitutes, more than three months after he was sidelined by a serious groin injury.
Striker Kris Renton, aged 16, and defender Andrew Cave-Brown, 18, were also on the bench with Cave-Brown hoping for his first taste of senior action in eight months after being carried off with an ankle injury at Torquay in August.
Worthington made two changes to the Leicester side that lost 3-0 at Plymouth in their last match under sacked manager Rob Kelly.
Conrad Logan was preferred in goal to Paul Henderson, while defender Gareth McAuley was back after four matches out with a hamstring injury, replacing Alan Maybury.
There was a sprinkling of ex-Canaries in the Leicester squad with Darren Kenton and Jason Jarrett in the starting line-up and Elvis Hammond on the bench, but no place for Andy Johnson.
Dublin was given a warm reception by the home crowd on his return to his former club and immediately slotted into the centre of defence as City kicked-off in bright sunshine.
But the Canaries quickly lost possession and in less than a minute they were a goal down to one of their former players - a dramatic start to Worthington's reign at the Walkers Stadium.
Newton played a pass into the Norwich area where Hume laid it back for Kenton to fire in a low, right-foot drive from a narrow angle to open the scoring.
Before play could restart, there was another blow for the visitors when skipper Drury left the field to be replaced by Eagle, with Dublin taking the captain's armband and Hughes moving to left-back.
It was a dreadful start for Norwich and Fryatt almost scored a second with a header which Warner had to dive to keep out low by his left-hand post.
With seven minutes gone, the Canaries produced their first attempt on goal with Etuhu and Eagle combining to set up Martin for a left-foot shot on the edge of the area, which was only just wide of Logan's left-hand post.
Norwich had started off with a 4-3-3 formation but with Eagle's arrival, they switched to 4-4-2 with Eagle and Croft in the wide positions.
In the 10th minute, they forced a corner on the right and Eagle's in-swinging kick was met by a glancing header from Spillane, which flew across the face of the goal.
As Leicester counter-attacked, Fryatt cashed in on a slip by Etuhu and shot narrowly wide from the edge of the box.
With 12 minutes gone, Norwich won a free-kick when Wesolowski fouled Croft, but Eagle rather wasted the dead ball opportunity by floating his kick harmlessly towards Logan.
Croft delivered the Canaries' best effort so far after 17 minutes when he picked up a pass from Etuhu and let fly right-footed from 25-yards out, but Logan was equal to his efforts and leapt to his left to palm it the other side of the post at the expense of a corner, but City were unable to make use of the flag-kick.
Leicester pushed forward with a neat four-man move which ended with Porter crossing from the left, but Fryatt's downwards header lacked the power to trouble Warner.
The home side were handed another opening when Dublin slipped over on the turf, leaving Hume in the clear but, from a tight angle, he sent a weak effort into the side-netting when he could have done better.
There was a definite opportunity for the visitors midway through the half when a through ball from Hughes landed nicely for Huckerby and he got away from McAuley but, with Logan advancing, his attempted lob dropped just over the bar.
Norwich seemed to have settled quite well after their disastrous start to the afternoon and Colin and Croft carved out a shooting chance for Martin, who brought Logan into action again.
Another useful move was spoiled by a poor cross from Hughes which was far too strong and disappeared behind Logan's goal.
A foul by Dublin on Fryatt gave Leicester a free-kick five-yards outside the Norwich area but Hume looked rather bemused when he chipped the ball into the area and it drifted out without an aerial challenge from any of his colleagues.
A minute later, Colin got back to hammer the ball clear just as Jarrett was shaping for a shot.
Warner had to jump high to gather a cross from Porter as Leicester pressed again and the home side were beginning to enjoy a better spell again.
Shackell cut out a cross from Kenton at the expense of a corner and Porter's flag-kick was met with a scissor-kick by Fryatt, but this was well off target.
It was end-to-end at this stage and Huckerby attempted at one-two with Etuhu and was only just unable to get to the midfielder's back-heel, with McAuley clearing the danger.
Leicester broke quickly and Newton ran at the Norwich defence, but his final shot took a deflection and rolled fairly gently towards Warner.
With less than 10 minutes to go to half-time, play was stopped for a drinks break while Kenton received lengthy attention, sitting on the turf halfway into the Leicester half.
Before play restarted, Kenton in fact made way for Stearman, hobbling off to a big ovation, due in no small part to his excellent goal.
The home side won their fifth corner moments later but Porter's kick gave Warner a comfortable catch.
Four minutes before the break, McAuley was shown the yellow card for bringing down Huckerby on the left touchline. As Dublin challenged for Huckerby's free-kick, however, the referee blew for offside.
Hume wriggled through at the other end as Leicester broke but Dublin did just enough to put him off and his shot went harmlessly wide.
As the first half went into three minutes of added time, a careless attempt to clear by Dublin was blocked by Fryatt, who set up Jarrett for a shooting chance and Shackell had to produce a very brave challenge in order to block the ex-Canary's shot at goal. He needed treatment and appeared to be clutching his stomach when he returned to the field.
Norwich still looked bright and Eagle combined with Martin to set up Huckerby, whose shot was superbly blocked by Kisnorbo.
t Half-time: Leicester City 1, Norwich City 0
From the restart, Leicester won a throw well into Norwich territory but on receiving the ball, McAuley aimed a poor cross into the Norwich area and Warner gathered it easily.
Hume showed brilliant control in the next attack before finding Porter, whose cross forced Hughes to head clear at full-stretch.
Three minutes into the half, Leicester went very close to stretching their lead when Stearman crossed from the right and Fryatt's first-time shot was blocked by Warner at close-range leaving Shackell to scramble the ball away.
Good work by Spillane earned Norwich a corner but they had so far been unable to make good use of their dead ball opportunities and this was no exception.
There was a brief halt to proceedings while Dublin protested to the referee and it appeared the problem may have been that the ball boys were taking too long to get the next ball into play.
Grant was arguing with the fourth official at the same time, possibly on the same subject.
The second half was 10 minutes old when Huckerby protested that he should have been awarded a penalty. An excellent through ball by Spillane found Huckerby just inside the left area and he went down under challenge from Kisnorbo but referee Webster was unimpressed.
As Leicester broke forward, a back-header from Hughes almost landed Warner in trouble and he had to dash out to collect under pressure from Fryatt.
Spillane was putting in a determined display and his efforts won Norwich another corner, but Dublin's header was hacked away.
Another corner by Croft was headed away as far as Spillane and this time his attempted volley was charged down but the youngster was certainly involved in many of Norwich's best moves.
Nearly 20 minutes into the second period, Worthington made another change with Horsfield replacing Fryatt.
At the same time Wesolowski was receiving treatment for a bang in the face, but was quickly able to resume.
Etuhu got forward to good effect and tested Logan with a half-volley after moving on to Huckerby's flick.
Midway through the half, it looked as if Earnshaw was about to be introduced as he began to put on that No. 10 shirt and was given instructions by the coaching staff and sure enough he came on after 68 minutes, though it was a little surprising that Spillane was the man to make way.
Earnshaw's first contribution was to earn a free-kick when he was impeded in trying to get past Kisnorbo.
Colin's free-kick was headed away by Kisnorbo for a corner but before Huckerby's kick reached the goalmouth, the official stopped play to lecture Martin and Johansson. The retaken kick was headed clear by Stearman but Norwich soon won a free-kick in a dangerous position, which Eagle rather wasted by curling it over the bar.
Earnshaw had been on the field just five minutes when he levelled the score from the penalty spot with his 18th goal of the season, a dramatic return to action.
A slip by McAuley left Huckerby in the clear and when he attempted to curl in a shot, it struck the hand of Kisnorbo and referee Webster pointed straight to the spot.
Earnshaw took the responsibility and stepped up slowly in the usual fashion before tucking his shot low past Logan's right hand.
The goal was greeted with great delight by Norwich's very vocal travelling fans.
As Leicester hit back, Dublin made a brilliant headed clearance to rescue his side, but Norwich were now on top and three minutes after Earnshaw's goal, they took the lead.
Norwich won a corner on the left and to complete a nightmare few minutes for McAuley, he got ahead of Shackell to deflect the ball into his own net.
McAuley was immediately replaced by Mattock, the 16-year-old making his debut as Worthington's final substitution.
It was the second time this season that McAuley had scored for Norwich after getting an own goal in Leicester's 3-1 defeat by the Canaries at Carrow Road in November.
With eight minutes to go Leicester forced a corner when Shackell made an excellent interception to atone for a slip by Hughes.
The kick was cleared as far as Jarrett who tried his luck from nearly 30-yards, but Warner was right behind his fierce drive.
Norwich's travelling fans were in good voice as the minutes ticked away towards recording what they hoped would be another Championship double over the team now managed by their former boss.
Both managers were now on the touchlines urging their players on and there were whistles from the home crowd when play was held up so that Croft could receive attention while Leicester waited to take a free-kick 10-yards into the Norwich half.
In the final minutes, Warner preserved Norwich's lead with a fine reflex save from a Kisnorbo header and as the Canaries counterattacked, Croft was denied by a flying save from Logan.
As play entered four minutes of stoppage time, Renton came on to set a new record as the Canaries' youngest ever player, in place of Croft.
t Result: Leicester City 1, Norwich City 2
t Leicester City: Logan, Kenton, McAuley, Kisnorbo, Johansson, Newton, Jarrett, Wesolowski, Porter, Hume, Fryatt. Subs: Henderson, Horsfield (for Fryatt, 65), Stearman (for Kenton, 38), Hammond, Mattock (for McAuley, 78).
t Norwich City: Warner, Colin, Dublin, Shackell, Drury, Croft, Hughes, Spillane, Etuhu, Huckerby, Martin. Subs: Gallacher, Renton (for Croft, 90), Eagle (for Drury, 2), Earnshaw (for Spillane, 69), Cave-Brown.