Norwich City 2 Bolton 1
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
Norwich City survived a tense finale to end their Championship winless run with Cameron Jerome's brace moving the Canaries joint top after Friday's televised 2-1 victory against Bolton at Carrow Road.
City looked to be cruising to a first win in six and a first home win in the league since beating Blackburn in August when Jerome notched a thumping second half header after his cool 12th minute strike but Lee Chung-Yong's 86th minute close range goal set up a nervy finish.
Neil Adams made three changes to the starting line up that drew 0-0 at Sheffield Wednesday. Vadis Ofoe's knee injury opened the door for Nathan Redmond to return with Gary O'Neil handed his first league start since arriving in the summer on a free transfer.
Bradley Johnson dropped to the bench and Kyle Lafferty was back after serving a one-match ban in place of Lewis Grabban. Gary Hooper was again included on the substitutes' roster against the side now managed by his former Celtic mentor Neil Lennon.
Wanderers had former Liverpool trainee Jay Spearing anchoring a midfield diamond which had underpinned the Trotters' 3-1 Championship win against Brentford last weekend.
You may also want to watch:
O'Neil slotted into a midfield two alongside Alex Tettey and the Norwegian international needed to be alert inside the opening minute to close down Darren Pratley on the edge of the City box before the striker tested John Ruddy with a rising shot.
Bolton looked composed in the opening salvos with Spearing setting the tone and Martin Olsson had to track back with Matt Mills at the concession of a throw right in front of the hardy band of away followers.
- 1 Man and woman found dead in home
- 2 Norfolk seaside holiday park battles Shell over solar panel plans
- 3 Hardware store owners retiring after more than 60 years
- 4 Norfolk RSPCA cattery full as owners give up lockdown pets
- 5 Weather warning as more thunderstorms set to hit parts of the region
- 6 Sweet Caroline and a dodgy knee - review of Olly Murs at Newmarket Nights
- 7 Car catches fire after early morning crash
- 8 Man re-arrested over murder of missing 83-year-old Pat Holland
- 9 Old Buckenham Airshow going ahead as planned this weekend
- 10 Firefighters tackling smoking car after crash near pub
Steven Whittaker's angled pass was brilliantly controlled by Lafferty who flicked the ball up over Mills but the volley lacked the precision of the initial piece of skill.
Tettey powered forward after Neil Danns mis-controlled just inside his own half but the midfielder's surge ended with a swinging strike that brushed the side netting.
Bolton's attacking adventure in the early sparring was creating space for City to exploit and the hosts broke that long barren spell of first half blanks in the 12th minute when Howson's perfectly-timed pass set Jerome free and the big frontman coolly slotted a low right-footed finish past Andy Lonergan at his near post.
Whittaker then galloped forward onto Redmond's ball, but desperate Bolton defending from Dorian Dervite kept City at bay.
Michael Turner's defensive instincts proved sound in the 17th minute to cut out Pratley's inswinging cross but City's attacking work was undoubtedly carrying a sharper edge; Lafferty's dipping low strike gathered by Lonergan at his feet.
Jerome was causing Bolton's central defence numerous problems with his power and movement and one chest control on half-way sparked a counter but Redmond was held up and the danger subsided.
Olsson curved a wonderfully inviting ball across the Trotters' six yard box in the 26th minute but Howson was blocked off by Dervite, although the Yorkshireman's advanced position illustrated his greater freedom to roam with O'Neil and Tettey offering protection.
Tettey tracked Mark Davies to quell a threatening situation with Wanderers enjoying a concerted spell of possession for the first time just past the half-hour, before Pratley headed over at the far post under pressure from Whittaker.
O'Neil was forced to lunge in dangerously on the edge of his own box to illegally halt Davies at the cost of a free kick and yellow card, but O'Neil redeemed himself to block Danns' drilled set piece.
The former QPR midfielder then picked out Redmond five minutes prior to the interval with Whittaker again powering past the England U21 starlet, who exchanged passes but dragged a left-footed shot the wrong side of Lonergan's near post.
Whittaker's eye-catching opening half continued when another burst led to a City corner which Howson acrobatically took on the volley but hammered well wide.
Mills' crazy decision to play his way out from inside his own box was almost costly when Redmond closed him down and fashioned a cut-back that O'Neil miscued 10 yards out.
Lennon made a change at the break with Liam Trotter replacing Spearing in midfield for the visitors.
Jerome carried on in the same confident vein immediately following the restart after Lafferty's back heel from Howson's pass veered towards him to whip a 20-yard shot in the Lower Barclay.
O'Neil then fed Redmond in a fresh sign of a growing link up between the duo, which forced a back-pedalling Lonergan to push the cross over his own bar.
Turner again needed to patrol his six yard box when Pratley sneaked the wrong side of Tettey down the Trotters' left-hand channel.
City sliced through in the 55th minute when Redmond combined superbly with Lafferty but Lonergan diverted the wide player's angled shot against his far post.
Redmond was relishing the wide open spaces at Carrow Road but another half-volley flew towards the home fans with City now approaching the same levels of dominance from their best spells prior to the interval.
Lafferty and O'Neil cleverly weaved a pattern around two Bolton defenders but Danns came across to thwart the Northern Irishman; respite was only temporary when Jerome climbed above Dervite at the near post to crash a header home from O'Neil's corner.
Turner ranged forward in the aftermath but his glancing flick from O'Neil's pinpoint delivery had Lonergan scrambling across his line as it dropped wide of the far post.
Bolton's tormentor-in-chief Redmond harassed Tim Ream again in the 72nd minute before an accurate cut-back Whittaker slammed at Lonergan.
Jerome and O'Neil exited to a standing ovation for Grabban and Johnson but Bolton blew a golden chance for a lifeline when Max Clayton burst inside Whittaker but rolled wide of Ruddy's far post with Lennon a picture of frustration at the front of his technical area.
Grabban peeled wide with Redmond in full flow in the 78th minute before Johnson invited him forward to drill a right-footed shot Lonergan parried behind.
Ream finally raised the white flag to earn a yellow card after hauling down Redmond but Johnson's thumping left-footed hit from the free kick drifted wide.
City were undone in the 86th minute when Lee Chung-Yong pounced on Olsson's weak headed clearance to burst through the centre of the Norwich defence and calmly lift past Ruddy from eight yards.
Grabban raced through to try and release the growing tension in the first of four additional minutes but Lonergan was out sharply to gather at his feet.
Lonergan then arrived in the Norwich penalty box for a desperate late salvo but City managed to see out the Bolton corner conceded following Russell Martin's key block.
• Norwich City: Ruddy, Whittaker, Martin, Turner, Olsson, O'Neil (Johnson 73), Tettey, Redmond, Howson, Lafferty, Jerome (Grabban 73). Subs (not used): Rudd, Cuellar, Hooper, Miquel, Josh Murphy.
• Booking: O'Neil (foul on M Davies, 37)
• Goals: Jerome (12, 61)
• Bolton Wanderers: Lonergan, Threlkeld, Mills, Dervite, Ream, Spearing (Trotter 45), M Davies, Danns, Pratley (C Davies 85), Chung-Yong, Beckford (Clayton 65). Subs (not used): Kenny, Mason, Vela, Moxey.
• Bookings: Davies (foul on Redmond, 67); Ream (foul on Redmond, 82)
• Goal: Chung-Yong (86)
• Added on time: 3 minutes / 4 minutes
• Referee: Graham Scott (Oxfordshire)
• Attendance: 26,070