West Brom's record signing Salomon Rondon pours on the agony for Norwich
Published 24/10/2015 | 17:11
Salomon Rondon's early second-half goal was enough for West Brom to leave Carrow Road with all three points.
Norwich were looking to bounce back from a galling defeat at Newcastle last Sunday but could not make their early dominance pay as West Brom secured a narrow 1-0 victory.
Canaries boss Alex Neil dropped both of his full-backs following the 6-2 hammering on Tyneside but Norwich could not breach a solid backline from the visitors.
With games against Manchester City, Chelsea, Arsenal and Manchester United to come in their next six Premier League fixtures, Norwich needed a result here but were toothless when it mattered - with West Brom's record signing Rondon heading home less than a minute into the second half.
Wes Hoolahan had the first chance for a quick-starting Norwich, firing over after good work from Matt Jarvis and Nathan Redmond had teed up the Republic of Ireland international.
The visitors were slower out of the blocks but Chris Brunt's drive still forced a smart save out of John Ruddy before Jonny Howson was next to miss the target for Norwich.
Neil's side were really pushing the issue as Alex Tettey saw a rasping shot bravely blocked by Jonny Evans with Redmond finally drawing a save out of Boaz Myhill with a low drive.
Howson was shown a yellow card for tripping Saido Berahino and was lucky not to pick up a second booking moments later for a foul on Darren Fletcher - with referee Kevin Friend giving him the benefit of the doubt.
A well-worked free-kick routine from the Baggies almost saw Rondon put them in front but he could not connect as he slid in to meet Craig Dawson's cross.
Jarvis was enjoying his battle with Dawson and again managed to cross from the left with Redmond only able to send a shot over the bar on the slide.
West Brom's attacks may have been few and far between but Brunt again tested Ruddy from distance with the England goalkeeper shovelling the ball behind for a corner.
Both sides came close before the break, firstly Dawson somehow missed a header from inside the six-yard box before Dieumerci Mbokani's close-range chance was smothered by Myhill.
Rondon also headed over the top as the game opened up in the final five minutes of the first half - but the sides went in level at the interval.
But West Brom needed no second invitation after the restart as Berahino was freed down the right, playing in James McLean whose cross was nodded home by Rondon.
Pulis' side were now in control of the game as, for a third time, Ruddy was on hand to prevent Brunt scoring from outside the box.
Norwich had no response as Russell Martin flashed high and wide from the edge of the box and they could not create a clear chance as they slipped to a fifth league defeat of the campaign.
TWEET OF THE MATCH
"I don't care we're still staying up. Bournemouth, Villa and Sun'lun going down innit." - Norwich blogger @Holtamania is confident of staying up.
PLAYER RATINGS (Out of 10)
John Ruddy: 7
Russell Martin: 5
Ryan Bennett: 6
Sebastien Bassong: 6
Robbie Brady: 6
Alex Tettey: 7
Jonny Howson: 6
Nathan Redmond: 7
Wes Hoolahan: 6
Matt Jarvis: 7
Dieumerci Mbokani: 6
Cameron Jerome: 6
Boaz Myhill: 6
Craig Dawson: 6
Gareth McAuley: 6
Jonny Evans: 7
Chris Brunt: 7
Claudio Yacob: 6
Darren Fletcher: 6
James McLean: 6
Saido Berahino: 6
Stephan Sessegnon: 6
Salomon Rondon: 7
Rickie Lambert: 6
Craig Gardner: 5
Salomon Rondon: Unlike Norwich, West Brom spent big on a striker in the transfer window and the Venezuelan was the difference this afternoon. May not have been involved in too much of the action but snaffled his chance away and his two league goals have earned the Baggies two 1-0 away wins so far.
MOMENT OF THE MATCH
Salomon Rondon: In a game of fine margins, the 26-year-old made sure his side went back to the West Midlands with three points. No other real stand-out moments means the forward earns the right to claim the moment of a forgettable match.
VIEW FROM THE BENCH
Neil changed his full-backs from the defeat at Newcastle but it was in attack his side were again found wanting. Introduced Cameron Jerome to play alongside Mbokani but neither looked like providing the spark to get the Canaries something out of the game. Pulis stuck with the same side that beat Sunderland and was rewarded with another three points here.
MOAN OF THE MATCH
Norwich supporters were well behind their players in the early stages but quickly turned as things went against their side. They may have known just what a big a game this was given their tricky run of fixtures but were restless and there were a smattering of jeers at the full-time whistle.
WHO'S UP NEXT
Everton v Norwich (Capital One Cup, Tuesday October 27)
West Brom v Leicester (Premier League, Saturday October 31)