Late goals from Andrew Surman and Anthony Pilkington handed Norwich City a deserved three points against Owen Coyle’s Bolton Wanderers side at Carrow Road today.
Norwich manager Paul Lambert rated the win as one of the best performances he has seen since taking over three years ago.
What pleased Lambert most was the fact his team completed the victory with full-backs Kyle Naughton and Russell Martin in the centre of defence after
losing Daniel Ayala and Zak Whitbread to injury in the first half.
He said: “In my time, which is nearly three seasons now, that’s as good as it’s been because of the circumstances and the desire they showed. They were brilliant. They were fantastic. It’s a blow when you lose your two centre-backs. I can’t remember that happening to me before. The two lads who went off are big, big players and Bolton are a big side. Kyle Naughton is knee-high to a grasshopper.
“It showed the desire of the lads to not get beaten. We deserved to win the game. I thought we were dominant and we might have got another couple of goals.”
The Canaries dominated the first half and should have been well ahead by half-time, the Bolton woodwork and goalkeeper leaving them frustrated.
The hosts finally took the lead in the 70th minute when Andrew Surman volleyed home at the second attempt after David Wheater blocked his original attempt.
Five minutes from time the Canaries wrapped up the points when Martin’s shot rebounded into the path of Pilkington and the former Huddersfield player drilled home from eight yards.
For Bolton, the afternoon proved a frustrating one as despite their recent good form, including a well-deserved point against Arsenal, they rarely tested Norwich keeper John Ruddy and dropped back into the relegation zone.
Manager Coyle said afterwards: “I thought we started quite slowly in the match, we offered one or two bits on the counter-attack but not a lot and Norwich deserved to win. I am disappointed we didn’t get to the standard we set previously and we need to go back to that quickly. We just need to pick ourselves up. We know we have a good side when we are at our best.”
Norwich: Ruddy, Naughton, Whitbread (Bennett 40), Ayala (Martin 23), Drury, Fox, Pilkington, Surman, Hoolahan, Holt, Jackson (Morison 74).
Bolton: Bogdan, Mears, Wheater, Knight, Ricketts, Eagles (Tuncay 73), Muamba (Kevin Davies 57), Reo-Coker, Petrov, Mark Davies, Ngog (Sordell 82).