Holt's brace sinks Wolves
Grant Holt's first-half brace left Wolves rooted to the bottom of the Premier League after a 2-1 defeat at Norwich.
Last Updated: 24/03/12 7:45pm
Grant Holt's first-half brace handed Norwich a first win in five games and left Wolves rooted to the bottom of the Premier League after a 2-1 defeat at Carrow Road.
Wolves, aiming to bridge their three-point gap to safety, edged ahead when Matt Jarvis stroked home Michael Kightly's 25th minute cross.
But Terry Connor's men, who had conceded 19 goals in their last five matches, allowed Holt to equalise for the home side within 90 seconds.
The striker raced onto Simeon Jackson's through ball before calmly lobbing over the advancing Wolves keeper Wayne Hennessey to nod home from close range.
And Hennessey was beaten again seconds before the half-time break when Holt fired in a penalty after Eggert Jonsson's handball.
Norwich were put on the back foot when Holt received his marching orders for two bookings late on, but they fought off a Wolves onslaught to move up to 11th in their first season back in the top-flight.
However, the battling visitors slipped further into the relegation mire as they crashed to their fourth defeat on the bounce.
Wolves made three changes to the side defeated heavily by Manchester United and it had the desired effect early on as they began brightly.
After Stephen Ward fired wide inside a minute, Norwich goalkeeper John Ruddy had to react well to stop Kevin Doyle heading home a Kightly free-kick.
Wolves were playing with a confidence that belied their recent performances, although City soon responded.
Returning skipper Roger Johnson had to be alert to block two goalbound efforts in quick succession before Jackson controlled a loose ball in the box and forced Hennessey into action.
Having recovered from their slow start, Norwich pressed for an opener that would have come in the 10th minute had Kightly not been on the goal-line to clear away a Zak Whitbread header.
The hosts continued to dominate yet fell behind during a Wolves foray forward in the 25th minute.
Kightly, impressing on his return to the team, darted down the right flank and sent over a cross that was touched away from the Norwich defenders by Doyle for Jarvis to fire home low into the bottom right-hand corner.
However, Wolves showed a minute later why they had the worst defensive record in the league when Jackson played through Holt to equalise.
Wolves were forced to defend in numbers to keep the home side at bay and when Holt had a fierce shot superbly blocked by Ward, Hoolahan's follow-up was handled in the box by Jonsson.
The former Hearts midfielder was booked for the incident and referee Mark Clattenburg awarded a penalty, which Holt duly dispatched.
Elliott Bennett and Jonny Howson had early second-half shots blocked as City looked to extend their advantage, before Jackson lost his footing when through on goal.
Wolves were impressing in flashes and Steven Fletcher almost connected with a deflected Jarvis cross-shot, before Norwich returned to the attack.
Sebastien Bassong's last-ditch challenge prevented Holt heading in his hat-trick goal in the 60th minute and Howson came close with a fierce drive from the resulting corner.
Wolves searched desperately for an equaliser as the clock wound down, with the hosts welcoming them on in the hope of catching them on the break.
Hennessey did well to save a stinging Howson effort in the 80th minute, but that was the last chance of note as Norwich's defence remained steadfast to hold off Wolves late on.
But it was tempered somewhat by the late red card for Holt. The 30-year-old, already booked for a tussle with Johnson, received his second yellow in the 85th minute after clattering Kightly.
|Norwich City||Team Statistics||Wolverhampton Wanderers|
|2||1st Half Goals||1|
|4||Shots on Target||2|
|4||Shots off Target||5|
|68.8||1st Half Poss.||31.2|
|58.3||2nd Half Poss.||41.7|