NORWICH CITY ESCAPED from the Premier League relegation zone by coming from behind to secure a much-needed 3-1 victory over West Ham United at Carrow Road on Saturday.
Thrashed 7-0 by Manchester City last weekend, Norwich looked in danger after Ravel Morrison put West Ham ahead, but they hit back through Gary Hooper, Robert Snodgrass and Leroy Fer in the second half to arrest a sequence of four games without a win.
As well as easing the pressure on manager Chris Hughton, Norwich’s success lifted them out of the bottom three and above West Ham to 15th place, with Stoke City sliding into the relegation places as a consequence.
Hughton admitted that it would be “very tough” to rouse his players following their humiliation at the Etihad Stadium and he made three changes to his starting XI, with Snodgrass, Ryan Bennett and Johan Elmander coming in.
His opposite number, Sam Allardyce, had lost centre-back Winston Reid to injury, but James Collins’s return from a hamstring problem allowed him to slot in at the heart of the visitors’ defence.
West Ham looked full of running in the first half and only the alertness of Norwich goalkeeper John Ruddy prevented them from opening the scoring sooner than they did.
The England squad man twice saved from Kevin Nolan, while Guy Demel saw a header come back off the crossbar, before West Ham took the lead in the 32nd minute.
Nolan was thwarted by a sliding challenge from a Norwich defender, but he maintained his composure and cut the ball back for Morrison to tuck it into an empty net.
It had been a chastening first half for the home side, but they equalised nine minutes into the second period after Jussi Jaaskelainen spilled a high ball and then upended Hooper in his eagerness to atone.
Hooper took the ensuing penalty himself, drilling the ball down the middle to claim his first league goal since arriving from Celtic in July for a reported fee of £5 million ($8 million, 5.9 million euros).
There was a scare for Norwich when Collins thrashed a half-volley a fraction wide, but Hughton’s men kept pushing and saw Jonny Howson strike the crossbar with a glorious shot from 25 yards.
Snodrgass put Norwich in front a minute later, curling a sumptuous curling effort into the top-right corner, before Fer doggedly surged past James Tomkins and drilled home to complete the comeback in stoppage time.
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