Norwich Strike Late
Attendance: 26, 078
A late Simeon Jackson goal to complete his hat-trick, five minutes into injury time, gave Norwich City all three points after an entertaining clash with Derby County as they came out 3-2 winners to keep their automatic promotion push going. Norwich dominated the early stages with Jackson coming close early on but The Rams gradually forced their way back into the match only to fall behind on the stroke of halftime when Jackson out jumped Gareth Roberts at the far post to head home. Steve Davies` looping header levelled the score just under ten minutes into the second period only for the home side to go back in front five minutes later with a neat chip from Jackson. Derby fought back almost immediately with Alberto Bueno`s neat finish from the edge of the area restoring parity and there were chances for both sides in the closing stages with Brad Jones the busier of the keepers. Just as Derby looked to have earned an impressive point they were denied in injury time when Jackson poked home after a goalmouth scramble to claim all three points for The Canaries.
Derby made two changes to the side beaten by Burnley on Saturday with Jamie Ward and Russell Anderson making way for Alberto Bueno and Gareth Roberts respectively with Ward serving the first game of his two match suspension after his red card. Norwich had their tails up after defeating rivals Ipswich Town 5-1 last time out and they forced a corner within the first thirty seconds and Simeon Jackson was found by a long ball forwards on seven minutes but his shot was sliced high and wide when well placed and the chance had gone. Brad Jones did well to keep out an Andrew Crofts diving header and he then pushed another effort from Jackson over the top as the home side maintained their forward momentum.
The Rams began to force their way back into the match with Stephen Pearson and Gareth Roberts both off target from range and Steve Davies tested John Ruddy in the home goal from 20 yards with a shot on the turn but he was more than equal to the effort. Just as Derby looked to have established themselves and made it through to halftime level they fell behind when Marc Tierney was given room down the left and his delivery picked out Jackson at the far post and he outjumped Roberts to head the ball past Jones for his sixth goal in as many games.
Derby came out strongly after the break and got themselves back on level terms ten minutes into the second period when a neat move involving Robbie Savage and Roberts ended with Alberto Bueno picking out Davies with a deep cross that he looped beyond Ruddy an into the net for his fifth goal of the season. Bueno then came close himself moments later when his freekick was just off target and Norwich responded by re-taking the lead when Grant Holt picked out Jackson again and he chipped Jones from twenty yards into the far corner to restore the advantage for his side.
The Rams didn`t let this setback knock them off their stride however and were back on level terms again two minutes later when Bueno rode a couple of challenges on the edge of the area and lashed a low left foot effort beyond Ruddy and into the far corner. Jones reacted well to save a firm header from Elliott Ward from an Andrew Surman corner and he also saved well from Henri Lansbury as Norwich piled forward in search of a winner. John Brayford stung the hands of Ruddy with fifteen minutes to go as Derby also looked for the winner and Jackson`s touch was heavy at the other end when he looked to be in on goal and Jones took the ball off his toes in a dangerous area. With five minutes of injury time played Norwich`s pressure told when they grabbed the winner, a shot was cleared off the line and in the ensuing goalmouth scramble Jackson popped up to prod the ball over the line and snatch a dramatic victory for his side to keep them in second place in the table.
Norwich City: Ruddy, R Martin, Whitbread (Edwards 57), Crofts, Holt, Jackson, Surman (Pacheco 71), Hoolahan, Fox (Lansbury 67), Ward, Tierney.
Subs: Rudd, C Martin, Lappin, McNamee.
Derby County: Jones, Brayford, Barker, Ayala, Roberts (Anderson 90), Savage (Hendrick 88), Bailey, Pearson, Robinson, Bueno, S Davies (Ball 79).