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Report: Norwich 6 Millwall 1

26 December 2014

Full-time from Carrow Road

Norwich City handed Millwall a Boxing Day bashing as Ian Holloway's men were thumped 6-1 at Carrow Road.

There was little festive cheer for Millwall as a disappointing run of just two wins in their previous 17 starts became two in 18 after this crushing defeat.

Carrow Road had not proved to be a happy hunting for The Lions, who went into action having last tasted victory at Norwich in November 1968 - and so it proved again as goals from Steven Whittaker, Cameron Jerome, Bradley Johnson (2) and Gary Hooper (2) eased Neil Adams' men to victory. Jermaine Easter's late header was scant consolation for The Lions.

Manager Holloway tinkered with his team from the XI that started against Bolton Wanderers seven days ago, making five changes in all, as he tried to find that winning combination.

In came defenders Mark Beevers and Matthew Briggs, with John Marquis, Ricardo Fuller and Lee Martin completing the quintet of changes. Andy Wilkinson, Scott McDonald, Scott Malone, Lee Gregory and Martyn Woolford were those to make way.

The Lions started with a 4-2-3-1 system, using Martin just behind Fuller with Gueye and Marquis taking care of the left and right flanks respectively.

However Holloway's men were on the back foot from the start as the Canaries flew out of the traps. With a little more composure - and slice of luck - they could have been 2-0 ahead within the opening five minutes.

Jerome wasted a glorious opportunity to fire the home side ahead within 90 seconds, capitalising on some slack defending to sprint clear of Beevers and Danny Shittu in a central position. But with the goal at his mercy, he lashed the ball high and wide of the target.

Hooper did have the ball in the back of the net on five minutes with a deft flicked finish from close range only for the linesman to raise his flag and rule out the effort for offside.

However Norwich were not to be denied and duly opened their account after 12 minutes when Whittaker picked up a neat pass from Nathan Redmond and hit an angled drive that squirmed under the body of keeper David Forde and into the back of the net.

Matters went from bad to worse just five minutes later when Jerome was on hand to stab home goal number two from an acute angle after Forde had got in a tangle with the big striker.

Jerome was a real handful throughout for the Millwall defence and could have put the result out of reach by half-time lashing wildly off target with keeper Forde to beat and then seeing Beevers clear his cheeky back-heel effort off the line.

Hard as they tried The Lions couldn't produce the necessary quality in the final third of the field and left the pitch at half-time desperate for the opportunity to regroup and try to get back into the game.

Marquis forced a corner in the early moments of the second period but from the resulting delivery, Johnson headed clear to spark a counter-attack that saw Hooper poke wide with Forde to beat 10 yards out.

Whittaker did well to work space for a shot with a back heel to lose Briggs, but his rising shot flew into the upper tier.

Norwich finally grabbed their third goal on 54 minutes when Hooper laid the ball into the path of the advancing Johnson, who crashed a first-time strike past Forde from 20 yards.

Johnson added his second - and Norwich's fourth - of the game in the 61st minute when he arrived unmarked at the far post to divert Redmond's angled shot into the back of the net from point-blank range.

Forde denied Johnny Howson with an excellent stop low to his left on 66 minutes as the Canaries threatened to run riot and a fifth goal duly arrived just three minutes later when Wes Hoolahan slipped the ball through to Hooper, who produced a clinical finish to make it 5-0.

Millwall pushed on in search of what was to be no more than a consolation goal and it nearly arrived when Jermaine Easter spun on a sixpence around Whittaker but fired over in the 81st minute. The Lions' persistence finally paid off with four minutes remaining when Easter nodded home after Shaun Williams' free-kick was tipped onto the bar by keeper Ruddy.

There was still time for Norwich to press forward again, and that they did with both Hooper and Hoolahan denied by Forde before Hooper sealed the rout in the 91st-minute, rolling the ball home from inside the six yard box.

Norwich City: Whittaker (12mins), Jerome (17mins), Johnson (54, 61mins), Hooper (69, 90+1mins)Scorers:
 Ruddy; Whittaker, Martin, Cuellar, Olsson, Redmond, Howson, O'Neil (Hoolahan, 66mins), Johnson (McGrandles, 76mins), Hooper, Jerome (Grabban, 62mins). Subs not used: Rudd, Turner, Lafferty, Bennett.

Millwall:  Easter (86mins)Scorer:
Beevers (73mins) Booking:
Forde, Dunne, Beevers, Shittu, Briggs, Williams, Angel (Abdou, 71mins), Marquis, Martin, Gueye (Easter, 71mins), Fuller (Gregory, 71mins). Subs not used: King, Wilkinson, McDonald, Upson.

Ref:A. D'Urso
Att: 26,714

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