Norwich fight back to beat Hammers
Norwich produced a comeback victory to beat West Ham 3-1 and ease the pressure on manager Chris Hughton with three second-half strikes turning the tables on the Hammers at Carrow Road.
West Ham boss Sam Allardyce had labelled the match a "six-pointer" earlier in the week and it was his side who dominated the first half and duly led at the break courtesy of Ravel Morrison's third Barclays Premier League goal of the season.
The Canaries were jeered off at half-time but emerged a much more cohesive unit as Gary Hooper scored his first league goal for the club from the penalty spot before Robert Snodgrass curled in a match-winning free-kick and Leroy Fer added a late effort to secure victory.
Both sides also saw efforts come back off the woodwork but it was Norwich, who had started the day in the bottom three, who held on to take all three points and climb above the Hammers and up to 15th place.
West Ham started to exert their authority on the game with Norwich proving wasteful in possession all too often, looking nervous following a string of bad results which culminated in a 7-0 hammering at Manchester City seven days ago.
Norwich goalkeeper John Ruddy was forced into the first meaningful save of the game on 12 minutes as he pushed away Kevin Nolan's effort. The ball was eventually turned behind for a corner with Guy Demel's header coming back off the crossbar.
It was Nolan who had the next good chance as the West Ham skipper opened up his body to take Razvan Rat's cross first time, but his shot was too close to Ruddy to cause the England goalkeeper problems.
Nolan was once again heavily involved as the visitors deservingly broke the deadlock through Morrison.
After seeing his initial shot blocked, Nolan collected the ball on the byline and pulled it back perfectly for Morrison to tuck his chance away and give Allardyce's side the lead after a long spell of dominance from the Hammers.
Nathan Redmond was introduced from the bench by Hughton in the immediate aftermath of the goal as Anthony Pilkington appeared to have been struggling with a knock for some time.
The young winger, signed from Birmingham in the summer, has become as instant favourite among Norwich fans and he was quick to get involved but could only fire wildly over the bar when picked out on the edge of the box.
With no further chances for either side, West Ham led at the break and the home fans vented their frustration as the teams headed towards the dressing rooms.
The toxic atmosphere inside Carrow Road soon changed as referee Jon Moss awarded Norwich a penalty eight minutes into the second half.
Jussi Jaaskelainen failed to hold a tame header from Michael Turner and, after clambering around to deal with his spillage, the experienced Finn brought down Hooper, who stepped up to tuck away the resulting spot-kick.
The lead was almost very short-lived as the Norwich defence could not deal with a ball into their box, with the returning James Collins thrashing a volley wide for the visitors.
Chances were starting to materialise at both ends as Redmond drove inside before arrowing a low shot which Jaaskelainen saved with relative comfort.
Fer then bent an effort high over the crossbar after being afforded far too much time and space on the edge of the West Ham box as the Canaries continued to come back into the game.
West Ham enjoyed a spell on the ball before Jonny Howson went much closer in the 70th minute with a dipping long-range effort cannoning off the crossbar with Jaaskelainen well beaten.
The ball bounced out to Snodgrass, who was brought down by Collins and the Scotland winger curled the free-kick over the wall and into the net to put the home side ahead.
The goal seemed to inject new belief into the Norwich players and they continued to create chances as good work from Fer resulted in Hooper letting fly with a well-struck effort that was too close to Jaaskelainen.
Fer then sent a glancing header from a deep Snodgrass corner wide of the goal, with Hughton's side roused by their comeback and looking to kill the game off.
Johan Elmander had been recalled to offer more options in attack but, despite a hard-working display, he did not have a first sight of goal until the 82nd minute when he fired wide from inside the box.
The best chance to add a third was spurned by Snodgrass, who hacked at a clever knockdown by Elmander when well placed in front of goal.
But the Canaries did manage to make it 3-1, with Fer tucking away a coolly taken chance in stoppage time as Norwich sealed their third win of the season and, if Allardyce is to be believed, helped revert the pressure from Hughton onto the West Ham boss.
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