EFL

Josh Sargent at the double as Norwich crush Cardiff

By Sports Desk February 17, 2024

Norwich reeled off their fourth straight home win as they cruised past Cardiff 4-1 to maintain their Championship play-off push.

The Canaries recovered from the shock of going behind completely against the run of play to record a dominant victory which followed hard on the heels of a 4-2 triumph over Watford in midweek.

Jamilu Collins fired Cardiff ahead after 19 minutes but the hosts were in front by half-time thanks to two goals in five minutes from Josh Sargent and Gabriel Sara.

Sargent went on to add his 10th of the season after the break, with a fourth from substitute Christian Fassnacht completing a comfortable win against a Cardiff side who have now lost three on the trot to drop away from the play-off battle.

Norwich completely dominated the first half but needed a late double to go in ahead at the break after conceding a sloppy opener.

A goal-line clearance from Nat Phillips to deny Sargent set the tone early on, with the Cardiff goal under almost constant siege as the Canaries turned on the style.

Ethan Horvath made a fine reaction stop to deny Borja Sainz, Ashley Barnes headed over from close range and Sara hit the upright from distance but it was the visitors who opened the scoring.

Rubin Colwill did well to work his way into the area on the right before drilling in a cross that Angus Gunn was unable to gather and Collins was well placed to bundle the ball in at the past post, with Grant Hanley’s attempted block merely diverting the ball into the net.

The one-sided nature of proceedings soon resumed, however, and Norwich were deservedly back on level terms in the 39th minute when Horvath could only palm away Sam McCallum’s rising drive from a tight angle and Sargent was on hand to tuck the loose ball away.

Barnes netted again almost immediately, only to be thwarted by an offside flag.

But the home fans didn’t have to wait long for a second Norwich goal.

On the stroke of half-time, Sara won a free-kick some five yards outside the box and completed the job by curling a delightful effort into the far corner, via a slight deflection off the Cardiff wall.

Norwich gave themselves some breathing space by making it 3-1 nine minutes into the second period.

Sargent got on the end of a Jack Stacey cross from the right only to be foiled by the upright but the American striker acrobatically got to the rebound to reach double figures in an injury-hit season.

Sargent missed a chance for a hat-trick on the hour mark when he shot straight at Horvath when well placed while at the other end Cardiff barely posed a threat.

It was merely a question as to whether Norwich could add to their tally and they duly did so in the 77th minute as two of their substitutes combined.

Sydney van Hooijdonk, who had come on for Sargent, did well to spot the overlapping Fassnacht in the box and the Swiss drilled home for his sixth goal of the campaign.

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