West Brom 0-1 Norwich: Robbie Brady gives Canaries crucial win in relegation battle
By Sam Drury
Last Updated: 19/03/16 6:55pm
Robbie Brady's goal early in the second half was enough to give Norwich a vital 1-0 away win at West Brom in their battle to beat the drop.
The winger was on hand to turn the ball home five minutes after the break and they were then able to see out the remainder of the game comfortably against a Baggies side desperately lacking imagination.
Victory, the Canaries' first in 11 games, lifts them out of the bottom three ahead of the clash between relegation rivals Newcastle and Sunderland on Super Sunday.
The result ends a run of three without defeat for West Brom although, with 39 points already on the board, Tony Pulis' side look well clear of a potential relegation scrap.
Norwich were given an early chance to take the lead when Brady was tripped on the edge of the box but the winger curled the free-kick over the bar.
It set the tone for a first half full of endeavour but lacking in quality, certainly in the final third at either end.
Saido Berahino worked himself half a yard of space just inside the Norwich area before hitting a wayward effort into the stands at one end before Russell Martin failed to make the most of Brady's right wing cross at the other.
The half's best effort came soon after from Claudio Yacob - a dominant presence in the middle of the park - as he powered a shot that just clipped the angle of post and bar having been teed up by Salomon Rondon.
A good spell for Norwich followed but they were unable to create any chances of note and, three minutes before half-time, they almost gifted Albion the opener. Gary O'Neil's square pass allowed Stephane Sessegnon to intercept and drive into the box, only for the midfielder to slice the shot wide.
The breakthrough came five minutes after the interval with Dieumerci Mbokani threading a pass through to Matt Jarvis inside the area and the winger looked to have fluffed the chance as he made a complete mess of his shot, the ball fell kindly for Brady to steer it home from close range.
That was the game's first shot on target and, ultimately, it proved the only one as West Brom's push for an equaliser never materialised.
In fact, it was Norwich who looked the more likely to find another goal as Patrick Bamford fired wide with a shot on the turn from eight yards and Mbokani proved a constant nuisance for the Albion defence.
The one negative for Norwich came as Brady was forced off, having initially attempted to play on, after falling and landing on his back after a challenge with Craig Dawson.
However, even losing one of their standout performers on the day had little adverse effect and when West Brom did, belatedly and fleetingly, threaten through Rondon in stoppage time, Sebastien Bassong was on hand to intervene and ensure Norwich held on for all three points.
Soccer Saturday verdict - Paul Merson
"Norwich look like they've got a new-found belief they can survive. Norwich played very well, they all got into their shape, and things look a lot different to their display against Liverpool a few months ago.
"It was a great result for Norwich and it piles the pressure on Tyne-Wear derby tomorrow - if Newcastle lose at home then that really throws the cat among the pigeons.
"If Norwich continue playing in this manner they could be OK, they've earned two clean sheets and a bit of luck today to get the chance to win the game."
West Brom: Foster (6), Dawson (6), McAuley (6), Olsson (5), Evans (6), Sessegnon (6), Yacob (8), Fletcher (7), Gardner (6), Berahino (5), Rondon (6).
Subs: McClean (6), Pritchard (6), Lambert (5).
Norwich: Ruddy (6), Martin (6), Klose (7), Bassong (8), Olsson (7), Jarvis (6), O'Neil (6), Howson (7), Brady (8), Bamford (7), Mbokani (7).
Subs: Naismith (6), Odjidja-Ofoe (5), Pinto (5).
Man of the match: Robbie Brady