Match report: Norwich City 2 Brighton 0
PUBLISHED: 21:42 21 April 2017 | UPDATED: 19:36 22 April 2017
©Focus Images Limited www.focus-images.co.uk +447814 482222
Norwich City denied Chris Hughton's Brighton a Championship title party at Carrow Road in bizarre fashion, with Seagulls' keeper David Stockdale credited with two own goals in 2-0 league win for the Canaries.
Stockdale twice diverted Alex Pritchard strikes into his own net in the first half after the ball had cannoned back into play against his woodwork. The Seagulls looked sluggish for the most part after celebrating promotion on Easter Monday.
Pritchard was berated throughout by the Brighton travelling support after snubbing a transfer move to the south-coast last summer but the midfielder proved the difference at Carrow Road.
Interim boss Alan Irvine made one change from the line up that beat Preston 3-1 on Easter Monday. Nelson Oliveira was preferred to Cameron Jerome up top with Josh Murphy retaining his place in the XI. James Maddison was on the bench again after his goalscoring cameo at Deepdale on his Norwich league debut.
Wes Hoolahan returned to the matchday squad after being rested earlier in the week and Alex Tettey was passed fit after missing out at Preston with a back complaint. Timm Klose (knee), Matt Jarvis (hip) and Louis Thompson (Achilles) again missed out.
Russell Martin captained the side against his hometown club on his 300th appearance for the Canaries.
Hughton made four changes, on his first competitive return to Carrow Road, with Steve Sidwell and Oliver Norwood forming a new central midfield duo.
Norwich players wore black armbands as a mark of respect towards former England international Ugo Ehiogu, who died on Friday morning after suffering a cardiac arrest on Thursday.
The two teams, staff and match officials paused with supporters for a minute’s applause prior to kick-off for the Tottenham development coach.
Oliveira’s sliding far post effort diverted Jonny Howson’s low cross wide in a positive start from the Canaries.
Brighton’s fans taunted Pritchard following his transfer snub last summer but the ex-Tottenham starlet delivered his answer in the 18th minute when his 20-yard strike cannoned against the bar and hit Stockdale before rolling over the goal line.
Graham Dorrans and Anthony Knockaert were both booked before play could restart after a running skirmish in the build up to Norwich’s goal.
The unmarked Steven Naismith then headed over seconds later from Pritchard’s free kick. John Ruddy was required to palm away Uwe Hunemeier’s glancing flick seven yards out from Norwood’s teasing delivery.
Dorrans was fortunate to escape conceding a penalty when Jamie Murphy tumbled under his outstretched leg but Sussex official Tim Robinson was unconvinced.
City cashed in on the let off to double their lead in bizarrely identical fashion to the opening strike. Pritchard whipped another strike from the edge of the area that clipped a post and rebounded against the luckless Stockdale, to concede his second own goal of the first half.
The luckless one-time Ipswich loanee Stockdale earned a huge ovation from the Barclay as he emerged after the interval for his pivotal role in City’s first half goals.
Mitchell Dijks conjured a measured centre for Naismith to rise above Lewis Dunk but the Scottish international failed to direct his header on target.
Howson hacked Glenn Murray’s header off his line from a Brighton corner just prior to the hour mark in the biggest moment of alarm for the Canaries.
Murray drilled a 20 yard effort straight at Ruddy in the 72nd minute in a rare foray from the visitors.
• Norwich: Ruddy, Pinto, Martin, Bennett, Dijks, Howson, Dorrans, Josh Murphy (Hoolahan 86), Naismith, Pritchard (Maddison 88), Oliveira. Subs: (not used): McGovern (GK), Whittaker, Jerome, Jacob Murphy, Tettey.
• Booking: Dorrans (dissent, 18)
• Goals: Stockdale og (18, 39)
• Brighton: Stockdale, Bruno, Huenemeier, Dunk, Pocognoli, Knockaert (Hemed 63), Sidwell, Norwood (Stephens 62), March, Murphy, Murray (Akpom 83). Subs: (not used): Maenpaa (GK), Tomori, Rosenior, Skalak.
• Booking: Knockaert (18)
• Time added on: 2 minutes / 3 minutes
• Referee: Tim Robinson (Sussex)
• Attendance: 26,932