Impressive Norwich see off Newcastle
Norwich became just the third team to triumph over Newcastle in the league this season as a double from captain Grant Holt helped the Canaries defeat the 10-man Magpies in a six-goal thriller at Carrow Road.
Demba Ba’s first-half strike cancelled out Wes Hoolahan’s opener before Holt powered home a header to make it 2-1 just before the hour.
Dan Gosling saw red for a dangerous two-footed challenge shortly after giving away the ball in the run up to Steve Morison’s header which made it 3-1 to the hosts.
Ba pulled one back for Newcastle to set up a tense finale, but Holt lost his marker to head home his second eight minutes from time to seal the win.
Saturday’s game was a chance for Pardew to prove that the bubble has not burst around his team’s impressive start to the season, but slack defending from a reshuffled back four will do little to dampen the suggestion that he does not have the strength in depth to mount an unlikely assault on the top four.
Last week’s 3-0 humbling against Chelsea had clearly inflicted damage on the Magpies and the loss of Steven Taylor and Fabricio Coloccini was evident this afternoon as the inexperienced centre-back pairing of James Perch and Danny Simpson failed to handle Holt and Morison in an impressive display from the home side.
Norwich enjoyed the majority of the early possession before John Ruddy saved twice in quick succession from Jonas Gutierrez and Yohan Cabaye.
Andrew Crofts was booked for a late challenge on Shola Ameobi as he attempted to steal the ball from the striker 10 yards out before Holt used his hulking frame to burst past Perch, but Simpson put in a diving block to deny the striker as Norwich started to dominate.
Andrew Surman went down under the slightest of pressure from Gabriel Obertan in the Newcastle box, but Martin Atkinson waved play on.
Norwich had another shout for a penalty turned away after 26 minutes when Kyle Naughton’s flat cross caught Davide Santon’s out-stretched arm, but again Atkinson waved play on, much to the home fans’ anger.
A superb diving save from Ruddy stopped Cabaye from giving the visitors the lead as Newcastle began to grow in confidence, but it was Norwich who took the lead five minutes before half-time in controversial circumstances. The assistant referee, despite being positioned at least 30 yards away, ruled that Tim Krul had carried the ball out for a corner from a looping shot despite the goalkeeper insisting he had kept the ball in play.
The Dutchman palmed away Crofts’ powerful header from the resulting corner, but the ball rebounded in off Hoolahan to give Norwich the opener.
Replays appeared to show that the corner should not have been given as Krul had kept the ball in play and the Newcastle players were furious that Atkinson had allowed the corner to take place.
Their anger lasted barely five minutes, however, as Ba latched on to Cabaye’s excellent through-ball before prodding past Ruddy to make it 1-1 in first-half injury time.
Ba was left unmarked at the back post immediately after the interval, but he blazed over from a tight angle after being picked out by Ameobi.
Hoolahan was booked for kicking the ball away from a Magpies free-kick before Gosling was shown a yellow card for a foul on the opening goal scorer soon after.
Norwich made it 2-1 just before the hour when Krul parried Holt’s header with his feet before the journeyman striker powered home the rebound off the bar from eight yards.
The goal, Holt’s fifth of the season, buoyed the home side and they added their third four minutes later.
Gosling dallied on the edged of his own box, allowing Crofts to race down the flank and cross for Morison, who hammered home a powerful header for his seventh of the season.
Gosling’s afternoon went from bad to worse two minutes later when he was given a straight red for a dangerous late tackle on Russell Martin.
The match was set up for a tense finish when Ameobi won the ball on the halfway line after Zak Whitbread dallied, and played in Ba, who controlled calmly before drilling past Ruddy with 20 minutes to go.
Gabriel Obertan created space with a couple of step-overs but could only fire straight at Ruddy as Newcastle kept up the pressure in search of an equaliser.
But the tense atmosphere around Carrow Road eased with eight minutes to go as Holt took advantage of slack marking to head home Bradley Johnson’s cross to make it 4-2.
Alan Smith came on in injury time for just his second appearance of the season, and Shane Ferguson also came off the bench, as Newcastle pushed for a consolation, but it never came.