Norwich City 0 PNE 1
The on loan centre half put Daniel Johnson’s right wing free into the top left hand corner from ten yards out to give the Lilywhites three points and lift them into the top half of the table at Carrow Road.
The home side almost had a dream start when Wes Hoolahan fed Cameron Jerome in the box inside the first 15 seconds, but the Canaries’ top scorer was denied by a fine save from Chris Maxwell, clawing the ball out of the top left hand corner after the forward’s 15 yard effort.
But the best chance of the first half, however, came the way of the Lilywhites. Ben Pringle sent Jordan Hugill clean through on goal down a left hand channel. He was one-on-one with Northern Ireland’s No.1 Michael McGovern, but the keeper did brilliantly to spread himself and deny the No.25 with a superb save.
A quarter of an hour in and a Callum Robinson cross from the left gave Hugill another chance from 12 yards, but the PNE top scorer headed just wide of the right hand upright.
The home side had a number of efforts on target from Hoolahan, Tettey and Dorrans, but nothing that wasn’t straight at Maxwell and right on the half-time whistle another great chance came the way of the Lilywhites.
Once again McGovern was forced to make a brilliant save, this time a double stop from Robinson, after the frontman was put through yet again by Pringle, before collecting it well and rounding his man, but the Canaries stopper smothered the effort six yards out.
Right at the start of the second half a superb ball in the midfield from Gallagher split the Norwich defence and Pringle was sent through, however, excellent judgement from McGovern saw the keeper come out and just take it off the midfielder’s toes on the edge of the ‘D’, when if he was even slightly late his afternoon would have been over early.
Robinson was close again on 52 minutes, volleying Hugill’s nod down on the edge of the box just wide of the left hand post.
With 70 minutes gone Norwich substitute Alex Pritchard fired a free kick inches past the right hand upright after fellow sub Nelson Oliveira had been brought down in a central position 25 yards from the goal.
But with 15 minutes to go the Lilywhites went ahead. Callum Robinson was fouled out on the right wing and Daniel Johnson whipped over a perfect cross to the edge of the six yard box where Alex Baptiste rose and powered a header into the top left hand corner of McGovern’s goal.
It was almost an immediate riposte from the home side though as Cameron Jerome got space in the box after North End failed to clear, two attempts that forced Maxwell into a brilliant stop, firstly with his left hand and then his legs to keep the lead intact.
Bailey Wright was the next to save North End with a wonderful acrobatic clearance off the line with Maxwell beaten after Pritchard’s header seemed to be heading into the goal when he met a left wing cross at the back post, until the Aussie hooked it away to safety.
The closing minutes were tense, but calmed by Maxwell’s excellent handling and they managed time brilliantly to take the points back up to Lancashire.
Norwich City line-up: McGovern, Olsson, Dorrans, Martin (c), Jerome, Brady (Pritchard, 57), Hoolahan, Klose, Jacob Murphy (Oliveira, 56), Bennett, Tettey. Subs not used: Ruddy, Bassong, Naismith, Josh Murphy, Thompson.
PNE line-up: Maxwell, Baptiste, Cunningham, Pearson, Clarke (c), Wright, Gallagher (Browne, 73), Johnson, Robinson (Huntington, 90), Hugill, Pringle (Spurr, 73). Subs not used: Lindegaard, Humphrey, Makienok, Doyle.
Attendance: 26,213 (TBC PNE Fans)
Referee: Mr S Martin
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