Norwich City 0, Portsmouth 2

Norwich City's six-match unbeaten run was ended in stormy fashion as a second-half goal from striker David Kitson and a Greg Halford penalty gave Portsmouth their second successive away win.

For City, defender Leon Barnett – whose permanent move from West Bromwich Albion was confirmed only yesterday – was sent off in stoppage time after conceding the penalty with a trip on David Nugent.

Barnett had already been booked and departed after a second yellow, and there could be more trouble for the centre-half as he appeared to throw the ball at referee Simon Hooper before leaving the field.

Kitson struck first in the 73rd minute from a Nugent cross and Halford's spot-kick wrapped up the game to inflict the Canaries' fourth home defeat of the season.

City were on top for long spells but paid the price for not taking their opportunities in the first half, and in the end they failed to score for the first time since the 0-0 draw at Queens Park Rangers in October.


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The Canaries dominated the opening period but for once failed to capitalise. Simeon Jackson, replacing suspended skipper Grant Holt, missed two opportunities, Chris Martin had a header blocked and Andrew Crofts sliced wide in first-half stoppage time.

Portsmouth came into the contest more after the break but the first goal was still against the run of play as Kitson struck following a storming run and cross by Nugent.

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Nugent's run into the box also led to the penalty, but his provocative behaviour towards the home crowd afterwards did him little credit.

Manager Paul Lambert made one enforced change with skipper Holt serving a one-match ban for picking up his fifth yellow card of the season in the 2-1 win at Derby, Jackson replacing him up front.

Crofts was given the captain's armband in the absence of Holt.

There was also one change on the bench where 18-year-old Jed Steer, who saved a penalty in the 1-0 FA Youth Cup win over Charlton on Tuesday, replaced Declan Rudd.

Portsmouth relied on the side that won 2-1 at Swansea a fortnight ago but named only five substitutes, among them veteran former Arsenal striker Nwankwo Kanu.

A foul by Barnett on Nugent gave Portsmouth a free-kick on the edge of the Norwich area in the fourth minute, Lawrence curling his shot into the side netting.

Barnett was forced to concede the first corner in the eighth minute, under pressure from Kitson.

The kick was played short and rather wasted, but Pompey forced another corner when Ward headed out. This time Lansbury headed clear from Lawrence's kick.

At the other end, there were appeals for handball when Mokoena and Mullins converged on a cross by Jackson, but referee Hooper was unimpressed.

A neat passing move ended with Rocha conceding a corner as Crofts tried to get in a cross. Hoolahan's kick was headed clear, however, and as Fox tried to find Crofts on the edge of the area, Pompey were able to clear.

Mullins was shown the first yellow card after a quarter of an hour for a tackle from behind on Lansbury.

Jackson missed an excellent chance to open the scoring in the 18th minute when headers by Hoolahan and Chris Martin put him clean through against Ashdown, but he struck a tame left-foot shot straight at the former Norwich loan 'keeper.

Chris Martin's persistence earned another corner and this time Jackson went much closer to scoring with a glancing header that was just the wrong side of the post.

Hoolahan forced Halford to concede another flag-kick for Fox to take on the left, Barnett this time heading over the top.

Fox tried a long-range effort after 25 minutes but was over-ambitious and well off target.

Mokoena conceded the fifth corner when he cut out Russell Martin's cross and there was a moment of alarm for Pompey when Ashdown let Hoolahan's kick slip through his hands, but Barnett was just unable to hook the loose ball goalwards as Halford challenged.

City were dominating things and after Lansbury's powerful drive was blocked by Rocha, Chris Martin tested Ashdown with a swerving shot from the edge of the area.

Rocha needed treatment after taking a bang in the face as Jackson tried to connect with Lappin's centre.

A couple of promising Portsmouth attacks were halted by the offside flag, Nugent tucking the ball in the net on the second occasion, but the visitors had given City 'keeper Ruddy very little to do.

Brown's free-kick was met with a backheader by Mokoena but Ruddy made an easy catch.

As City pressed again, a flowing five-man move was spoiled by a poor cross from Russell Martin. Then Lansbury attempted to shoot but Rocha did enough to take the sting out of his effort and Ashdown gathered.

Chris Martin almost broke the deadlock two minutes before the interval but his far-post header from Lappin's cross struck Ward on the back of the head and dropped just the wrong side of the post.

City had squandered many opportunities in the opening half and in stoppage time Crofts was the guilty man, shovelling his shot wide from Jackson's pass after Mokoena's attempt to clear Russell Martin's cross had rebounded off Chris Martin.

• HALF-TIME: NORWICH CITY 0, PORTSMOUTH 0

Portsmouth forced a corner two minutes after the break when Lawrence's shot was deflected wide, Lappin heading clear from Lawrence's inswinging kick.

Barnett was shown a harsh but costly yellow card in the 50th minute when he caught Kitson's heel in trying to meet a through-ball – his fifth booking bringing a one-match ban. Both players suffered knocks in the process.

There was an opening for Pompey when Crofts was caught in possession just outside the Norwich area and Lawrence might have done better when the ball fell to him than fire narrowly wide.

Ashdown made an important save nine minutes after the break, beating away Hoolahan's powerful shot.

Hoolahan let fly again from 25 yards as Fox's challenge set up a quick counter-attack, but he was just wide of Ashdown's left-hand post.

Halford was booked on the hour after tangling with Hoolahan and, as City raised their game again, Chris Martin forced their ninth corner.

Ashdown, solid apart from his first-half error, made a confident catch from Fox's kick.

Utaka made a blatant block on Russell Martin to halt another Norwich attack, but somehow escaped a yellow card, much to the crowd's annoyance.

With 20 minutes left, Johnson began warming up on the touchline for City.

Out of the blue, Portsmouth snatched the lead in the 73rd minute with a goal from Kitson.

Nugent was the architect with a determined run which took him past Elliott Ward's challenge and his low cross was tucked away first-time by Kitson, arriving in the six-yard box. It was the only significant contribution by either player so far, but a telling one.

Lansbury's bouncing effort almost supplied the equaliser but Ashdown, diving to his right, was equal to it.

City's first change came with 11 minutes left when Johnson replaced Jackson.

Lansbury fired over the top from long range before Korey Smith replaced Lansbury with eight minutes to go.

Nugent was booked with three minutes left for kicking the ball away.

With just over a minute left, McNamee was sent on for Lappin.

Portsmouth replaced Utaka with Ciftci as the game entered four minutes of stoppage time.

Elliott Ward almost levelled with a header from McNamee's corner but Kitson deflected it wide.

Pompey made two more changes by introducing Kanu and Sonko.

In stoppage time, Barnett tripped Nugent to concede a penalty and was shown the red card by referee Hooper. Barnett then threw the ball at the official before leaving the pitch to a rousing ovation.

• RESULT: NORWICH CITY 0, PORTSMOUTH 2

• Norwich City: Ruddy; Russell Martin, Barnett, Elliott Ward, Lappin; Fox; Crofts, Hoolahan; Lansbury; Jackson, Chris Martin.

Subs: Steer, Nelson, Tudur Jones, Korey Smith (for Lansbury, 82), Mcnamee (for Lappin, 89), Johnson (for Jackson, 79), Daley.

• Portsmouth – Ashdown; Halford, Mokoena, Rocha, Joel Ward; Lawrence, Mullins, Brown, Utaka; Nugent, Kitson.

Subs: Flahavan, Hreidarsson, Ciftci (for Utaka, 90), Sonko (for Lawrence, 90), Kanu (for Kitson, 90).

• Referee: Simon Hooper (Wiltshire)

• Attendance: 25,215

• Goals: Portsmouth: Kitson (73), Halford (pen, 90)

• Red card: Barnett (90)

• Bookings: Norwich: Barnett (50). Portsmouth: Mullins (15), Halford (59), Nugent (87).

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