Canaries clip Swans’ wings

Pilkington, a £2million summer signing from Huddersfield,

opened the scoring after just 50 seconds before Russell Martin

doubled the Canaries’ lead soon after with a 12-yard header. Danny

Graham drilled home to pull one back for Swansea, but the Welshmen

never looked like equalising and Pilkington sealed the win for the

home side just after the hour when he swivelled neatly in the box

before firing home from close range. Paul Lambert’s side were

installed as favourites for the drop after their promotion, but

they now sit ninth in the league after picking up 11 points from

their opening eight games. Swansea displayed little of the fight

that saw them beat Stoke two weeks ago and are still in search of

their first top-flight win in 19 years. It was clear from the first

10 minutes who was going to win the contest of the two

recently-promoted teams. Just four hours after Wales exited the

rugby World Cup, Swansea were looking to restore a bit of happiness

to their nation, but they made the worst possible start and went

behind after just 50 seconds. Canaries striker Steve Morison

knocked down Elliott Bennett’s cross at the back post to find

Pilkington, who fired past Michel Vorm from close range with a

crisp half-volley. Morison’s hulking figure and sheer pace caused

Swansea problems all afternoon and Garry Monk was perhaps fortunate

to receive just a booking when he pulled back the Wales striker as

he broke through the away defence. Swansea could not get into the

game and they found themselves 2-0 down in the ninth minute when

Martin headed home unmarked from 12 yards after getting on the end

of David Fox’s pinpoint cross. The two-goal cushion lasted less

than two minutes, however, as Swansea raced up the other end to

pull one back with their first real chance of the game. Scott

Sinclair skillfully skipped between Bennett and Fox and, despite

falling to the ground, stuck a leg out to hook the ball across the

box to Graham, who powered home from six yards for his second in

two games. Swansea started to play more confidently and Angel

Rangel came close to equalising with a powerful 30-yard shot that

flew just over. Morison then battled his way past three Swansea

defenders before laying the ball off to Pilkington, but he hammered

in to the side netting from an acute angle. Vorm then athletically

tipped wide a Morison shot as the big striker kept bullying the

away defence. Swansea ended the first half the stronger side and

they thought they should have had a penalty when Nathan Dyer went

down after what looked to be a legitimate challenge from Bradley

Johnson, but the referee waved played on. Bennett beat his marker

down the right in first-half injury time and floated over a

speculative cross that landed on top of the crossbar and bounced

out for a goal-kick. The start of the second half was nowhere near

as entertaining as the opening period of the first, with both sides

playing scrappily in midfield and wasting chances up front.

Pilkington went for glory 35 yards out after some good work by Kyle

Naughton and Wes Hoolahan but ploughed his shot in to the stand.

Manager Brendan Rodgers, unhappy with Swansea’s start to the second

half, brought on Stephen Dobbie for Wayne Routledge. His hopes of a

revival were quickly dashed, though, as slack marking allowed

Norwich to score their third. The ball fell to Johnson in the box

after Swansea failed to clear a Canaries corner and he laid a calm

pass in to the path of Pilkington, who cleverly swivelled and poked

home from eight yards. Morison’s afternoon came to a premature end

25 minutes from time when he came off with what looked like an

injury and was replaced by Grant Holt. Rodgers brought on Leroy

Lita for Dyer soon after and Vorm then saved well to deny Johnson

from 25 yards. Vorm had to be at his best moments later to keep out

Holt’s powerful 25-yard piledriver. Dobbie wasted a chance to put

Swansea back in the game when he miscued his shot after Graham had

beaten two Norwich defenders to sneak into the box. Lita had an

opportunity to pull one back for the visitors in the last minute

but his poor header flew at least five yards wide and Swansea went

home to a despondent Wales with nothing.