Newcastle 1-0 Norwich (FT)
16.36 – A belated welcome to this afternoon’s liveblog. As you may or may not have noticed, we’ve been busy today, hence the delay here.
Anyhow, Newcastle currently lead 1-0 courtesy of a Cisse goal.
16.37 – Here are the line-ups:
Newcastle: Krul, Simpson, Williamson, Coloccini, Perch, Ben Arfa, Cabaye, Guthrie, Gutierrez, Ba, Cisse. Subs: Elliot, Santon, Abeid, Gosling, Shola Ameobi, Vuckic, Donaldson.
Norwich: Ruddy, Naughton, Ward, Whitbread, Drury, Elliott Bennett, Pilkington, Howson, Fox, Surman, Morison. Subs: Steer, Martin, Johnson, Crofts, Holt, Jackson, Hoolahan.
16.40 – Great block from Naughton to charge down a Cisse volley from a Ben Arfa cross.
16.45 – Ruddy gets down well to stop Cisse from scoring a second. Norwich are living on the edge at the moment.
16.47 – Poor attempt from Andrew Surman, who fails to hit the target, after a cross finds him unmarked at the far post.
16.48 – HALF TIME: NEWCASTLE 1-0 NORWICH
16.51 – So Newcastle appear in control after that first half. Norwich look as if they need a spark of inspiration at the moment. Wes Hoolahan perhaps?
17.05 – The second half has begun…
17.06 – And immediately, Ben Arfa races through on goal, but fails to hit the target from a difficult angle.
17.10 – A ferocious shot from Cisse stings the fingertips of Ruddy.
17.15 – Pilkington finds himself through on goal, but Krul gets down well at his near post to save.
Shortly thereafter, the Newcastle goalkeeper makes another excellent save from Whitbread’s bullet header.
17.23 – Surman rounds Krul and plays it across the box, but tellingly, there isn’t one Norwich player in the six-yard area.
17.24 – Krul seems to have injured himself taking a kickout. He’s carrying on for the moment, but it looks like he may need to come off.
17.31 – Norwich have looked threatening at times in this second half, and a goal for the visitors would be well-earned.
Meanwhile, Newcastle have made a substitution – Ameobi has replaced Cisse.
17.33 – A Cabaye shot is saved by Ruddy, and Ba snatches ineffectually at the rebound.
17.36 – Whitbread almost pulled off Ba’s shirt as a Newcastle corner was delivered into the area. Not sure how the ref missed that.
17.42 – The game’s hit a bit of a lull in the last few minutes, with no major incidents to speak of.
Wes Hoolahan, however, is now on.
17.47 – Five minutes remaining, and the Norwich attack has gone AWOL in recent minutes. An equaliser does not at all look on the cards, to be honest.
17.49 – Bennett’s lofted cross is comfortably collected by Krul. The visitors simply look devoid of ideas at this stage.
17.52 – A simple header on is latched onto by Morison, as the Newcastle defence fall asleep, however the striker’s shot is limp to say the leasst.
Three minutes of added time…
17.53 – FULL TIME: NEWCASTLE 1-0 NORWICH
18.06 – Newcastle have, despite the odd scare, deservedly prevailed. They delivered a solid performance at the back throughout, after that opportunistic strike from Cisse. They’re now only two points behind fifth-placed Chelsea.
Norwich, meanwhile, leave with nothing (as Anne Robinson would say). Their plan to leave out creative, attack-minded players such as Hoolahan, was reflected by their inability to test Newcastle for most of the match.
Overall, it wasn’t the most entertaining game of football you’ll ever see, but nonetheless, another important victory for Newcastle in their search for a European spot.
Gutierrez, who crossed expertly for Cisse’s goal, gets the man-of-the-match award.
18.08 – Right, I’m done. Thanks, as always, for reading.