THREE goals in seven devastating second-half minutes finally put paid to the stubborn resistance of ten-man Orient as the Canaries gained a welcome 4-0 League One victory at Carrow Road.
Substitute Chris Martin set the ball rolling in the 75th minute and within seven minutes it was 3-0 thanks to great strikes from Grant Holt and Michael Spillane. Jamie Cureton came off the bench to wrap up the scoring with a well-taken fourth in injury time.
The game turned on referee Karl Evans’ decision to send off Orient midfielder JJ Melligan in the 53rd minute for a challenge which left City’s Adam Drury writhing on the pitch.
Although Orient reorganised and set their stall out to graft for a point, they were eventually undone by some cracking goals from a Norwich side determined to take maximum points.
The first goal came when Wes Hoolahan and Korey Smith combined to send substitute Chris Martin racing clear into the box in the 75th minute. The young striker still had work to do but drilled home a fierce low drive with considerable panache to open the Canaries’ account.
Just three minutes later a deep cross from Adam Drury was chested down by Grant Holt who promptly smashed in a sweet volley for his seventh goal of the season.
The goal of the game finished Orient off in the 81st minute, Michael Spillane showing lovely skill to cut inside his man before curling an angled shot into the far corner from 16 yards – his first senior City goal.
Substitute Jamie Cureton provided the icing on the cake as he broke free from the halfway line and slotted home coolly past Jamie Jones to make it 4-0.
Commenting on his team’s display City boss Paul Lambert said: “I thought after the initial 10 minutes, when we weren’t really in it and we didn’t start as well as we had been in previous couple of games, after that I thought we were excellent.
“It’s never easy to play against ten men, as Gillingham found out themselves on Saturday. It gets a little bit apprehensive when they go down to ten men and the crowd are willing you on. It’s hard to break them down – but all credit to the lads, I thought they were brilliant.”
“Every goal was great, Grant’s goal was excellent, so was Micky Spillane’s and Jamie’s come off the bench and taken his very well. As for Chris Martin, one thing I will definitely say about him is that he knows how to finish. Chris’s goal is huge for us, it was a big, big goal and a terrific finish.”
Though the goals at the other end caught the eye, there was a welcome clean sheet for a defence which featured ‘keeper Declan Rudd making his first senior start at Carrow Road – and Gary Doherty coming back into the fold after a tough few weeks.
Lambert commented: “I thought Gary was terrific. It would have been easy for him to go out there and think ‘I’ve not been playing and I used to be captain’ and all those kinds of things, but I thought he was excellent. I’ve had a chat with him yesterday and to be fair to Gary he’s done great.”
Asked if tonight’s display had left him with a selection headache building up to Saturday’s clash with Bristol Rovers at Carrow Road (K.O. 3pm), Lambert replied: “Yes but that’s my job. I can’t please everybody all of the time but my job is to help Norwich City win as many games as we can and that’s what we’ll try to do.”
Source: Norwich City
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