Francis screamer robs Albion
By Andy Clarke
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
Damien Francis scored a superb winner for Norwich against dominant West Brom.
Damien Francis scored a stunning winner five minutes from time to give Norwich the most unlikely 3-2 victory over West Brom in a thrilling relegation tussle.
How The Baggies will be kicking themselves; after dominating from the first whistle and taking the lead twice, three times they failed to deal with hopeful balls into their penalty area and were left to count the cost.
Three times Norwich took full advantage to nick three points completely against the run of play.
Albion boss Bryan Robson appears to have recognised that there is no future in his side being defensive, as he instructed them to go for the jugular from the off.
With Kevin Campbell and Robert Earnshaw in excellent form up front, and young winger Kieran Richardson posing a threat on his debut, they created the bulk of the chances in a hugely entertaining contest.
Earnshaw tested Robert Green with a shot from 30 yards in the third minute and then somehow missed the target from six yards after a fine move involving Darren Purse and Campbell.
The Wales international then curled a shot from the edge of the penalty area against the crossbar and when Norwich failed to scramble the ball clear, Jonathan Greening blasted a rising drive against Green's near post.
The goal had to come and when it did it was down to a mistake by Green, whose poor clearance picked out Greening and he released Earnshaw to finish neatly with a low shot through Green's legs.
However, Albion showed the first signs of their vulnerability in the air on the stroke of half time, when Russell Hoult flapped at Craig Fleming's looping header and allowed the ball to drop in over his shoulder.
Robson may claim that Francis was impeding Hoult, just as he may point to the suspicion of offside about Norwich's second equaliser, headed in by Gary Doherty, after Richardson had restored his side's advantage, bundling the ball in off the crossbar after Campbell had released Earnshaw.
But Robson should not need to be making excuses for defeat, because the visitors should have wrapped up victory themselves with something to spare.
Campbell raced clear after Fleming misjudged a long ball and blasted a shot straight at Green, then after Earnshaw lifted a volley wide the former Everton man blazed over from six yards.
Greening tested Green with a shot from 20 yards as West Brom camped on the edge of the Norwich penalty area, before the Albion defence undid all the good work by failing to clear their lines again, allowing Francis to lash in the winner with a rasping half volley from 18 yards.
Still there should have been time for a West Brom equaliser, but Richardson fluffed his lines, dragging a shot well wide of the target from close range.
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|Norwich City||Team Name||West Bromwich Albion|
|7||Shots on target ( Inc Goals )||5|
|6||Shots off Target (inc woodwork)||9|
|18||Total Fouls Conceded||14|