first_img Press Association Norwich won for just a second time in 17 Barclays Premier League games to enhance their survival claims with a 2-1 win to all but condemn Reading to relegation. The Canaries responded to vociferous support, with Elliott Bennett – one of two changes following the loss at Arsenal – twice shooting narrowly off target in the opening skirmishes. Michael Turner had to be replaced in defence by Ryan Bennett, but Reading tested the hosts too little and too infrequently in the opening half an hour. A McCleary cross had Norwich in trouble inside their own six-yard box, but Sebastien Bassong, bruised from an earlier encounter with Pogrebnyak, managed to do enough to put off the Russian, who scooped the ball over. Alex McCarthy denied Kei Kamara four minutes into the second half, stretching to turn away a left-footed shot from an angle and from the subsequent corner Norwich went in front. The Reading goalkeeper saved Grant Holt’s header from Robert Snodgrass’ set-piece, but the ball fell for Ryan Bennett, who took one touch and swept it in left-footed for his first Norwich goal. A second was almost immediate as McCarthy was caught in no-man’s land trying to reach a Snodgrass cross and Elliott Bennett shot through his legs and into the net. Norwich kept up the pressure and Holt headed over from another set-piece by Snodgrass, whose shot then was punched over by McCarthy. The Reading goalkeeper saved Kamara’s header from the resulting corner as Norwich continued playing with energy. Out of nothing, Reading pulled a goal back with 18 minutes remaining. McCleary was allowed to run at the Norwich defence and he hit a 25-yard swerving left-foot shot which Mark Bunn got a hand to but could not prevent going in. center_img Pavel Pogrebnyak’s close-range miss at the end of the first half was punished when Ryan Bennett and Elliott Bennett scored within three minutes of each other after the restart as the Canaries climbed to 13th, seven points clear of 18th-placed Wigan. Garath McCleary pulled a goal back after 72 minutes, but, 10 points adrift with 12 to play for, Reading’s one-season sojourn in the top flight appears to be coming to an end. last_img

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