Coventry City 1, Norwich City 2

Skipper Grant Holt returned from suspension to secure Norwich City's fifth Championship away win of the season with two second-half goals against 10-man Coventry.

The Sky Blues were reduced to 10 men by a first-half red card for Aron Gunnarsson for a two-footed challenge on Henri Lansbury.

The Canaries dominated after the break and took the lead in the 65th minute when Holt scored with a diving header from a Russell Martin cross.

Coventry were level eight minutes later when Marlon King produced a splendid finish, but Paul Lambert's men had the last laugh when Holt turned in the winner from an 87th-minute corner by David Fox.

It was only the fourth time Norwich had won at Coventry in 53 visits in all competitions, and the perfect Christmas present for nearly 1,800 travelling fans at a bitterly cold Ricoh Arena.


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The one negative for the Canaries was an injury to Wes Hoolahan, whose stint as substitute lasted just 14 minutes before he made way for Anthony McNamee.

The match went ahead despite a light covering of snow on the surface after two inspections by referee Chris Sarginson, with ground staff working hard to clear the lines.

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City boss Paul Lambert made three changes to the side that lost 2-0 at home to Portsmouth.

Michael Nelson returned in defence for Leon Barnett, serving a one-match ban for his two yellow cards against Pompey.

Korey Smith was back in midfield because Andrew Crofts was suffering from illness.

And Holt returned in attack after a one-match suspension, with Wes Hoolahan the man to make way.

There were two defenders on the bench – Danish centre-half Jens Berthel Askou and 18-year-old left-back Sam Habergham.

With skipper Lee Carsley suspended, Coventry recalled ex-Canary winger David Bell.

City adopted a 4-3-3 formation with Smith and Lansbury in the wider midfield roles and Jackson and Chris Martin the wide attackers.

It was still snowing at kick-off but Coventry had escaped the heavy downfall that badly affected Birmingham just down the road during the morning.

A two-tone orange and red ball was used because of the conditions and Norwich threatened first in the fourth minute when Holt nodded on Fox's free-kick, but goalkeeper Westwood was able to gather before either Jackson or Chris Martin could take advantage.

There were appeals for a penalty at the other end when Platt went down under challenge from Nelson as he pursued Bell's through-ball, but referee Sarginson was unimpressed.

Chris Martin produced Norwich's first shot on target but it was comfortably dealt with by Eastwood.

The Canaries forced their first corner when Cameron cut out Holt's low centre, but Fox's kick was an easy catch for Westwood.

Ruddy gathered teasing cross from the left from McSheffrey as Coventry hit back.

Jackson was next to threaten and he was just over the top with a lob after moving on to Chris Martin's pass.

Coventry won a free-kick a few yards outside the Norwich area when Lansbury tangled with Doyle, but McSheffrey drilled it straight into the wall.

Tempers became frayed when Holt appeared to be caught by a flailing arm from Doyle, then, with Holt still on the floor, Lansbury felled Bell and earned a lecture but escaped a yellow card.

Korey Smith was only just off target with a low drive after Chris Martin's cross was cleared into his path.

King then earned a ticking-off for a late challenge that left Ward clutching his ankle.

King had a powerful shot blocked by Ward as the Sky Blues pushed forward again.

Bell was shown the first yellow card of the afternoon in the 23rd minute for a foul on Lappin.

Fox was next in the book two minutes later for a shoulder charge on McSheffrey.

There was further controversy 10 minutes before the break when Coventry were reduced to 10 men by the sending-off of Gunnarsson.

Gunnarsson's two-footed challenge on Lansbury left the loan player motionless on the turf and after a short delay, referee Sarginson produced the red card, much to the anger of the home crowd.

As Coventry readjusted, Bell dropped into central midfield and King moved to the wide right role.

Coventry forced a corner when Doyle's shot deflected wide off Ward, but Ruddy made a clean catch from Bell's kick.

The needle continued when Holt was fouled by King - and King was shown the yellow card.

In the final minute of the half, a huge clearance by Westwood gave Ruddy a difficult bounce to deal with, then Bell tested the Norwich 'keeper by floating in a long-range effort that he caught just under the bar. HALF-TIME: Coventry City 0, Norwich City 0

Coventry made a change at the interval with Cranie replacing Bell and McSheffrey switching to a role behind King and Platt.

Holt had the first effort on target after the break but his header from Russell Martin's cross was straight at Westwood.

Cranie brought Ruddy into action with a low drive that forced the 'keeper to dive to his right but lacked the power to trouble him.

Norwich forced a couple of corners as they tried to make their one-man advantage tell, but failed to trouble Westwood with either.

Ten minutes after the break, Wood missed a great chance to give Coventry the lead when McSheffrey's inswinging corner reached the far post unchallenged but the big defender planted a free header wide.

Chris Martin earned a corner when his shot from Jackson's pass was deflected wide.

Norwich were very close to taking the lead in the 58th minute as Westwood produced a great save.

Chris Martin flicked on Fox's corner at the near post and Holt struck a first-time shot that had goal written all over it, but was kept out by a flying reaction save from Westwood.

From Fox's corner, Ward flashed a header across the face of goal.

With 25 minutes left, however, the Canaries did grab the lead, to the delight of nearly 1,800 travelling fans.

Russell Martin was the provider with a cross from the right and Holt dived in, unmarked, to head past Westwood.

Russell Martin needed attention after a challenge by Wood and while the Canaries were waiting to take it, Hoolahan was sent on in place of Jackson.

As they went looking for a second goal, Korey Smith fired wide after Hoolahan and Chris Martin combined to set up the chance.

Hoolahan was left hobbling after appearing to take a bang on the knee from Doyle's challenge.

Ward decided to try a long-range effort against his old club but it was easily collected by Westwood.

After threatening little in the second half, Coventry drew level in the 73rd minute through King.

It was a clinical finish as he moved on to a through-ball, eluded Ward's challenge and powered an unstoppable right-foot shot past Ruddy.

Chris Martin was close to restoring his side's lead when he fired just wide from 25 yards from a pass by Fox.

Suddenly the torpid home crowd burst into life as the 10 men pushed forward in search of a winner.

There was a double change with 10 minutes to go as Coventry replaced Platt with Jutkiewicz and the hobbling Hoolahan made way for McNamee.

King and McSheffrey both ballooned efforts into the crowd as the Sky Blues pressed forward.

Westwood made another fine save five minutes from time when he dived to hisd right to keep out Lansbury's long-range shot, then he twisted high to his right to keep out McNamee's curling effort.

The resulting corner produced the desired result, however, as Holt scored his second. Fox's kick drifted beyond the far post, but Holt turned superbly to fire home from a tight angle.

There was a yellow card for Cameron as his foul on McNamee prompted another shoving match.

Coventry made a third change as striker Eastwood replaced defender McPake in the last minute.

With four extra minutes played, Lansbury was just off target with a powerful shot.

Eastwood hit the post from a narrow angle before Norwich replaced Korey Smith with Askou. RESULT: Coventry City 1, Norwich City 2

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