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Match Reports

Match Report : 19/08/2014

19 August 2014

Norwich City 3 Rovers 1

Rovers suffered their first league defeat since March as Norwich City came from behind to win at Carrow Road.

Gary Bowyer's men got off to the best possible start when Tom Cairney blasted Rovers in front after just 41 seconds, a sumptuous strike from 25 yards.

Rovers saw strong penalty claims waved away before they were victims of a soft decision against them a cross from Garrido striking the arm of Jason Lowe in the box.

Lewis Grabban saw his spot-kick saved but was able to stroke home the lose ball after Robinson couldn't hold.

The home side were much the better side but it wasn't until three minutes from time that they took the lead. Bradley Johnson finding the back of the net with a curling shot from the edge of the box.

There was still time for late drama as Markus Olsson saw a header cleared off the line, Paul Robinson came up for the resulting corner but Norwich broke and despite what looked like a clear foul on Corry Evans the home side eventually added a third through Grabban.

So Rovers' impressive run comes to an end, they'll be looking to get back to winning ways this Saturday against AFC Bournemouth at Ewood Park.

Rovers made just the one change from the side that defeated Blackpool at the weekend, with Lee Williamson coming in for Josh King who dropped to the substitute's bench.

For the home side, they were unchanged from the team that defeated ten-man Watford on Saturday.

To say Rovers were quickly out of the blocks would be an understatement as they took the lead after just 41 seconds thanks to a sensational Tom Cairney volley.

An early free-kick was sent forward by Markus Olsson to where Rudy Gestede leapt high to nod down into the path of the Rovers midfielder and Cairney hit a rising shot on the half-volley that gave Norwich keeper John Ruddy no chance.

Cairney had scored an impressive goal on the opening day of the season against Cardiff City, this one against the Canaries topped it.

Rovers then saw huge appeals for a penalty waved away when Michael Turner appeared to handle after Jordan Rhodes had flicked on, but the referee was unmoved.

Unbowed, Rovers continued to attack the home side, Gestede nodding a Craig Conway free-kick just wide, before another Tom Cairney effort from distance was beaten away by Ruddy.

After Rovers had dominated the opening ten minutes, the home side roared back with an impressive spell of pressure themselves. On 14 Nathan Redmond fed Javier Garrido on the overlap, his cross ran through to Alexander Tettey whose low drive clipped the outside of the post.

Norwich were back on the attack a minute later, Kyle Lafferty the player to chance his arm from distance, Robinson down well to palm the shot around the post.

Lafferty was very nearly the fortunate recipient of a deflection when his backwards header struck Rovers captain Grant Hanley, the ball creeping just wide of goal.

But Rovers' luck ran out on 23 minutes when the home side were awarded a hugely generous penalty decision when Jason Lowe was deemed to have handled in the area. The defender's arms were by his side as the ball from a short distance struck him, but the referee deemed it worthy of a spot-kick.

Lewis Grabban stepped up and although Paul Robinson saved his penalty comfortably, the ball ran loose to allow the £3m summer signing to tuck it away into the opposite corner.

From then on it was the Canaries who posed the greater threat. Nathan Redmond forcing Robinson to save once more before Grant Hanley made an excellent tackle to thwart Grabban as he raced through on goal.

It had been a scintillating first half.

In contrast, the second was very much a rearguard display from Rovers as the home side looked to take the lead.

Paul Robinson saved well to deny Grabban before Alexander Tettey dragged his shot wide.

Half-time substitute Ryan Bennett then went close for the Canaries. His first header tipped over by Robinson, his second skimming the woodwork as it flashed over.

With Rovers struggling to get out of their half Josh King was introduced at the expense of Jordan Rhodes but it was still Norwich in the ascendency.

After a Russell Martin cross was put behind the resulting corner kick saw Grabban head goalwards but Robinson pulled off a sensational close-range save to tip the ball onto the bar.

Rovers' opportunities were rare, a Craig Conway free-kick was headed goalwards by Josh King but John Ruddy easily claimed.

Both sides made further changes, Josh Murphy for the home side replacing Redmond, Ben Marshall on for Conway for Rovers before Cairney breaks into the box and almost gets his shot away but just loses his balance at the vital moment.

Just when it looked like Rovers had seen off the pressure from the home side they grabbed a second goal three minutes from time.

As yet another free-kick decision went against Rovers when Steven Whittaker was adjudged to have been fouled by King.

Although the initial free-kick was cleared, Wes Hoolahan picked up possession once more to square for Bradley Johnson and the Norwich midfielder hit a curling effort into the far corner of the net.

Rovers laid siege to the Canaries goal in the final moments, Markus Olsson going closest with a header that was cleared off the line.

But there was yet more controversy from the resulting corner kick. As Paul Robinson joined the throng in the area, Ruddy caught the corner and threw the ball forward, Corry Evans in attempting to head the ball clear is caught by Murphy but with the Rovers man down, the home side chose to play on with Lewis Grabban eventually applying the finishing touch.

The Rovers camp were far from happy with the referee's decision to allow play to continue and just as unimpressed with the home side as what had been a pulsating match ended on a sour note.

NORWICH: Ruddy, Whittaker, Martin, Turner, Garrido (sub R Bennett 46 mins), Tettey, Johnson, Redmond (sub Josh Murphy 81 mins), Hoolahan, Lafferty (sub E Bennett 73 mins), Grabban.

Subs not used: Rudd, Loza, O'Neil, Surman.

Goals: Grabban 23 mins, 90+3 mins, Johnson 87 mins.

Booked: None.

ROVERS: Robinson, Lowe, Baptiste, Hanley (c), Olsson, Cairney, Evans, Williamson (sub Varney 89 mins), Conway (sub Marshall 81 mins), Rhodes (sub King 64 mins), Gestede

Subs: Eastwood, Henley, Dunn, Taylor.

Goals: Cairney 1 min.

Booked: Lowe, Evans, Williamson.

Attendance: 25,835

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