MX23RW : Sunday, November 29 11:55:53| >> :60:1198:1198:
Oct 20, 2020 at 7.45pm UK at Carrow Road
NorwichNorwich City
1-0
BirminghamBirmingham City
Vrancic (87')
Idah (89')
FT(HT: 0-0)

Clayton (50'), Dean (54'), Friend (88'), Sunjic (90')
Clayton (86')

Result: Norwich secure late victory over Birmingham

Result: Norwich secure late victory over Birmingham
© Reuters
The midfielder earns the Canaries a second successive win.

Norwich made it two wins in the space of four days as an 87th-minute strike from substitute Mario Vrancic earned them a hard-fought 1-0 victory over 10-man Birmingham at Carrow Road.

It all went wrong from Aitor Karanka's side as Adam Clayton's red card for a second bookable offence was followed almost immediately by a well-taken winner from the Bosnian midfielder.

Norwich were able to celebrate a first home win since beating Leicester in the Premier League by the same score back in February – while it was the first time they had won back-to-back league games since the final two fixtures of the 2018/19 campaign.

For Birmingham it was a second successive 1-0 defeat – and they could have few complaints after a defensive display which produced few clear-cut openings.

Buoyed by a battling 2-1 win at Rotherham on Saturday, the Canaries started at a high tempo, pinning the visitors back with some crisp passing.

However, they were unable to translate impressive build-up play into clear-cut chances in the early stages, with Lucas Rupp's 25-yarder which went straight at goalkeeper Neil Etheridge the only effort of note in the opening quarter.

Birmingham were happy enough to soak up the pressure and rely on the occasional break, with loan striker Scott Hogan an isolated figure up front.

Norwich had talented midfielder Todd Cantwell back in the starting line-up after a big-money move failed to materialise before the transfer deadline and as the hosts continued to press he wasted two excellent chances to break the deadlock.

With seven minutes of the half remaining, he sent a low volley just wide after being set up inside the area by an astute pass from Teemu Pukki and a couple of minutes later an even better chance went begging.

This time the youngster robbed Jonathan Leko on the edge of the area and bore down on goal, only to be thwarted by the outstretched left leg of Etheridge.

The suddenly overworked keeper then had to palm away a dangerous cross from Pukki before, at the other end, Birmingham finally had a decent shot on goal as Ivan Sanchez's effort from just outside the box was deflected over.

There was a similar pattern of play at the start of the second half, with Norwich having most of the ball and Jordan Hugill quickly sent a fierce drive high and wide after a neat build-up.

Good interplay between Hugill and Pukki then ended with the Finn testing Etheridge again from a tight angle.

As the game passed the hour mark the Blues had a sight of goal when Emi Buendia surrendered possession, with substitute Jeremie Bela's shooting straight at Tim Krul – but it was the Canaries who were dominating proceedings.

Cantwell had an effort rightly ruled out for offside before side-footing Xavi Quintilla's low cross wide and then seeing his close-range shot from a Max Aarons cross brilliantly blocked by Maxime Colin.

Norwich manager Daniel Farke directed an angry tirade in the direction of referee Oliver Langford as the home frustration grew, angered by a number of decisions that had gone against his team.

Birmingham were reduced to 10 men after 86 minutes when Clayton received a second yellow card for a late challenge on Cantwell and seconds later the Canaries were deservedly in front.

The visitors lost possession when bringing the ball out of defence and when a quick ball forward from Buendia found Adam Idah, fellow substitute Vrancic took the ball off his colleague's feet to drill the ball low and hard past Etheridge.

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Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Norwich CityNorwich148421811728
2Bournemouth1476123131027
3Reading148242318526
4Bristol City147341714324
5Brentford146532013723
6Watford136521811723
7Swansea CitySwansea13652158723
8Stoke CityStoke146442118322
9Blackburn RoversBlackburn1463527161121
10Middlesbrough13562148621
11Millwall144821210220
12Luton TownLuton145451117-619
13Huddersfield TownHuddersfield145361819-118
14Cardiff CityCardiff144551713417
15Queens Park RangersQPR144551620-417
16Barnsley144461516-116
17Birmingham CityBirmingham143741012-216
18Preston North EndPreston145181721-416
19Rotherham UnitedRotherham143471418-413
20Coventry CityCoventry143471424-1013
21Nottingham ForestNott'm Forest13337916-712
22Wycombe WanderersWycombe14248720-1310
23Sheffield WednesdaySheff Weds14356712-58
24Derby CountyDerby14149621-157

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