Premier League: Norwich City duo Wes Hoolahan and Gary Hooper hail crucial win
Norwich goalscorer Gary Hooper paid tribute to team-mate Wes Hoolahan following their 1-0 victory over Crystal Palace.
By Ben Hampshire - Follow me: @BH92
Last Updated: 01/12/13 11:15am
Hooper struck on the half-hour mark as Norwich took the lead from a wonderfully created team goal, instigated by full-back Russell Martin and winger Nathan Redmond.
The attack-minded duo exchanged passes on the right wing before Redmond cut inside to find Johan Elmander, who swiftly passed the ball into the box for Hoolahan.
Despite being through on goal, Hoolahan selflessly squared the ball to Hooper, who found himself with time and space to control and find the bottom corner.
"I wasn't expecting it, he was one-on-one with the keeper and I thought he would slot it in but he took the assist and I put it in the back of the net," Hooper told Sky Sports.
Although he opted to place faith in his fellow forward, Hoolahan was worried that Hooper was going to squander the opportunity as he took time to control the ball before striking.
"For a second I thought he wasn't going to get it but he was very clever and put it into the goal," said Hoolahan.
Having spent the majority of the season on the sidelines, Hoolahan was instrumental to the Norwich attack and duly received a warm reception from the crowd when he was substituted, a gesture he treasured.
"I hadn't played a game in 10 weeks so it was good to be back out there," he added.
"I always give my best and it was great to see the fans clapping me off the pitch."
With both Fulham and Cardiff losing, victory elevated Norwich to 14th in the Premier League standings and, after Saturday's clash had been billed as a 'relegation six-pointer, Hooper acknowledged the significance of the result.
"It's very important, we needed to win," said Hooper. "I thought in the first half we played really well against an organised team with two big strikers.
"We did well in the second half, won the game and got a clean sheet."