Norwich 3-2 Bolton: Last-gasp Teemu Pukki strike earns win for Canaries
Norwich earn another late win at Carrow Road as Teemu Pukki strikes late.
Last Updated: 08/12/18 7:19pm
Teemu Pukki grabbed a dramatic stoppage-time winner as Norwich beat Bolton 3-2 at Carrow Road to stay top of the Sky Bet Championship.
The Canaries looked to have thrown away a couple points against a struggling visiting side when they let a two-goal lead slip through their grasp in the second half, with defender Mark Beevers equalising with just two minutes of normal time remaining.
But Daniel Farke's side shrugged off the setback by grabbing a decisive third goal, with top scorer Pukki thumping home from just outside the box to maintain a remarkable record that has seen City win eight and draw one of their past nine games.
The goal came just after Bolton had been reduced to 10 men following a second yellow card for Sammy Ameobi - and how Phil Parkinson's side were made to pay for his tug back on City youngster Todd Cantwell in the centre circle.
City did not have things all their own way in the opening period, with Bolton looking dangerous on the counter-attack and carving out two good early chances.
Jason Lowe's powerful drive from distance forced Tim Krul into a save, with the keeper fortunate the rebound didn't fall to a white shirt, and a couple of minutes later Will Buckley steered wastefully wide after being put in by Ameobi.
Norwich took a while to get going but gradually worked their way into the contest with their patient passing game and almost took the lead on 17 minutes when Marco Stiepermann burst through the centre of the Wanderers defence before firing in a shot that was superbly saved by Ben Alnwick. The rebound fell to Max Aarons, but the young defender's effort was blocked.
Alex Tettey then sent a free header from a corner just wide and Stiepermann had another effort well stopped by Alnwick after Pukki had laid the ball back to him.
As half-time approached the leaders were firmly in charge and they deservedly got their noses in front after 39 minutes.
Prolonged pressure ended with Aarons picking the ball up on the right-hand edge of the box before feeding an unmarked Mario Vrancic, who found the back of the net with a low shot that left Alnwick completed flat-footed.
Norwich maintained their domination of possession after the break and it took a brave block from Christian Doidge to thwart Tettey as a loose ball dropped to the home skipper, with Stiepermann then seeing another effort kept out by a defender as the pressure continued.
Alnwick was called into action to save from Emi Buendia after Joe Williams was caught in possession just outside his six-yard box before Norwich doubled their advantage after 59 minutes through another one of their slick moves.
This time Jamal Lewis found Vrancic on the right-hand side of the box with a delightful first-time ball and the Bosnian laid off a first-time ball inside to Stiepermann, who fired home confidently passed an exposed Alnwick.
Showing commendable spirit Bolton got themselves back in the game three minutes later. Some slack defending allowed Andrew Taylor to hook the ball to the back post where an unmarked Ameobi was waiting to fire home a goal that the visitors thoroughly deserved for their efforts in the face of adversity.
The goal saw Norwich redouble their efforts to seal the three points and they nearly did on 74 minutes when Stiepermann fired just wide after the ball had been worked across to him in a dangerous position in the box, with defenders nowhere to be seen.
Bolton kept going and were rewarded for their efforts with a dramatic equaliser in the 88th minute. Norwich were unable to clear their lines as the ball pinged around in their penalty area and the ball finally dropped for central defender Beevers, who blasted the ball home in emphatic fashion from just outside the six-yard box.
Ameobi was then shown a second yellow card for hauling back Cantwell, having being booked in the first half for fouling the same player, and from the resulting attack Norwich got the goal that mattered when Pukki drilled home after being picked out just outside the box by Cantwell.
Daniel Farke: "This was a really special win for the way it was achieved and I think it was fully deserved. For the first 70 minutes it was a really good performance from the boys. We had 70 per cent of possession, we created a lot of chances, had 20 shots and we scored two goals.
"Our football was high class and all we lacked was a third or fourth goal to kill the game off. Then they get a goal back out of nothing and equalise when a second ball goes to one of their players in the box. We could maybe have done better but this is not a day when I want to focus on mistakes, especially with such a young side out there on the pitch."
Phil Parkinson: "It hasn't been easy but I am lucky enough to have a really good group of lads who show pride in the shirt and will always give it their all out there on the pitch and you saw that again. It was a really good effort and I should be sitting here talking about a point at the very least.
"That was hard to take, it really was. We took a very good Norwich side, who are top of the table, right down to the wire and there's no doubt we deserved to take something out of the game."