Norwich City secured another season of Premier League football with a 4-0 thrashing of West Bromwich Albion.
Norwich guaranteed survival at a canter with goals from Robert Snodgrass, Grant Holt, a Gareth McAuley own-goal and a fabulous strike from Jonny Howson.
West Brom struggled to get out of first gear at Carrow Road against a highly motivated Canaries side.
Chris Hughton made just one change from the side that lost to Aston Villa last weekend, but it was a significant one as goalkeeper John Ruddy returned after five months out through injury to replace Mark Bunn.
Steve Clarke made five changes from the side that lost 1-0 to Manchester City in midweek as he continued his rotation policy. Steven Reid and Goran Popov returned from injury, while McAuley and Ben Foster were also back in the side. Shane Long was restored in a three-pronged attack alongside Romelu Lukaku and Markus Rosenberg.
Norwich entered the match three points ahead of 18th-placed Wigan Athletic with two games to play. Hughton had spoken before the match about not wanting to rely on the results of other teams and his side came out with an intensity that would have impressed their manager.
Snodgrass was a menace down the right and his battle with Goran Popov was one of the highlights of the first-half.
For all Norwich’s energy, chances were at a premium until midway through the opening half when Anthony Pilkington let fly with a fierce effort that Foster in the West Brom goal did well to palm away.
But the Canaries took a deserved lead moments later when Ryan Bennett headed down a right-wing cross. Wes Hoolahan’s close-range shot was pushed away by Foster but only to Snodgrass who kept his cool to fire into the roof of the net from close range for his seventh goal of the season.
The relief could be felt around Carrow Road and the lead going into half-time could have been greater.
Jonas Olsson made a mess of a header at the back and Hoolahan unleashed a glorious left-foot shot that Foster did superbly to turn over his bar.
West Brom failed to create a genuine chance in the first-half and looked like a side with little to play for in the final two games of the season.
Baggies boss Clarke, clearly unhappy with what he had seen from his side in the first-half, made two changes at the break as he introduced Billy Jones and Chris Brunt in place of Steven Reid and Markus Rosenberg.
Pilkington spurned a golden chance to put Norwich further ahead as he mis-kicked in front of goal, although Olsson was fortunate not to give away a penalty as the ball clearly struck his arm.
Holt headed a glorious Snodgrass cross over the bar from close range on the hour but moments later Norwich were 2-0 up thanks to a howler from Foster.
Hoolahan played the ball through to Holt with the outside of his foot, and as Foster came out to clear he completely mis-kicked - and Holt was on hand to roll the ball into an open net for one of the easiest goals of his career.
If there were any doubts that Norwich would be staying in the Premier League, they were well and truly extinguished when West Brom's Player of the Season McAuley rose to head Snodgrass’s devilish free-kick from the right into his own net.
Foster then went some way towards atoning for his earlier error as he got down superbly to turn away a sweeping shot from Pilkington after good play down the right from Holt.
But a further goal came anyway as Howson put the icing on the cake of what was a procession for Norwich with the goal of the game in the 90th minute.
The midfielder played a neat one-two with substitute Luciano Becchio and curled a stunning shot beyond Foster into the top corner.
This was Norwich’s biggest win of the campaign and a victory which sealed a third consecutive season in the Premier League.
MAN OF THE MATCH
Robert Snodgrass (Norwich) – The former Leeds United star was a constant thorn in West Brom’s side and it was he who scored the all-important first goal at Carrow Road.
NORWICH CITY: Ruddy 6; R.Martin 7, Bassong 7, R.Bennett 7, Garrido 7; Johnson 7, Howson 8, Snodgrass 8, Pilkington 7; Hoolahan 7, Holt 8. Subs: E.Bennett 6, Becchio N/A, Tettey 6.
WEST BROMWICH ALBION: Foster 4; Reid 5, McAuley 5, Olsson 5, Popov 6; Yacob 5, Morrison 5, Mulumbu 6; Rosenberg 5, Long 5, Lukaku 5. Subs: Jones 5, Brunt 5, Odemwingie N/A.
- Sports & Recreation
- Robert Snodgrass
- West Bromwich Albion
- Grant Holt
- Goran Popov
- Gareth McAuley