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Norwich move clear at the top after hard-fought Forest win

Norwich City v Nottingham Forest – Sky Bet Championship – Carrow Road
(Image credit: Joe Giddens)

Norwich moved three points clear at the top of the Sky Bet Championship as they came through another tight game with all three points, edging past Nottingham Forest 2-1 at Carrow Road.

The Canaries claimed victory by a single goal margin for the ninth time this season after being pushed all the way by the struggling visitors.

After going ahead on the stroke of half-time through Danish youngster Jacob Sorensen’s first goal in English football, Norwich were pegged back after 72 minutes when Anthony Knockaert scored almost immediately after coming off the bench.

But Daniel Farke’s side showed their mettle by hitting back quickly, with a 77th-minute strike from Emi Buendia – which took a big deflection – settling the game.

Having been knocked off top spot by Bournemouth on Tuesday evening, Norwich were quickly into their stride in front of 2,000 fans at Carrow Road, and Mario Vrancic tested Brice Samba with a fierce early drive that the keeper did well to parry away.

Samba excelled himself again in the 20th minute, diving at full stretch to tip a curling effort from Buendia around the post. But it was not all one-way traffic, with a spirited Forest side having their chances as well in an even first half.

Sammy Ameobi almost squeezed the ball home from close range following a goalmouth scramble and then headed a Cyrus Christie cross just wide, before Joe Lolley struck the base of a post after cutting in from the right and trying his luck.

The Canaries were just about edging it, though, and after appealing unsuccessfully for a penalty when Buendia’s corner from the left appeared to strike Tobias Figueiredo on the arm, they took the lead on the stroke of half-time.

A neat move down the left ended with Vrancic crossing into the box and Yuri Ribeiro’s poor clearing header fell nicely on the edge of the box for Sorensen who fired a low first-time shot into the back of the net.

Lolley’s strike from distance was straight at Michael McGovern as Forest made a bright start to the second period, but it needed another top-quality save from Samba at the other end to keep it at 1-0. When Marco Stiepermann put his laces through a loose ball just inside the area it looked a goal all the way but the Forest keeper saved superbly low down to his right.

Lolley then sent a free-kick inches wide as Forest continued to give their high-flying hosts plenty to think about, looking anything but a side only just outside the relegation zone.

And it was no real surprise when the visitors got back on level terms after 72 minutes.

Knockaert made an immediate impact from the bench. A little over a minute after replacing Harry Arter, the Frenchman picked up possession on right and curled the ball into the box looking for the head of fellow substitute Miguel Guerrero but it beat everyone, including McGovern, and nestled in the far corner of the net.

Forest were only back on terms for five minutes, however, as a cruel slice of bad luck saw them go behind again. Recently-introduced substitute Todd Cantwell did well to pick out Buendia just outside the box and the Argentinian’s shot took a huge deflection off the head of Forest skipper Joe Worrall to completely wrong-foot Samba.