Norwich City secured a vital 2-1 win over Reading at Carrow Road
By Rebecca Stephenson (@1rebs). Last Updated: 20/04/13 7:56pm
Garath McCleary: Gets an effort in for Reading at Norwich
Two goals in a minute at the start of the second half gave Norwich a vital 2-1 win over doomed Reading at Carrow Road.
Ryan and Elliott Bennett were the heroes for the home side as they relieved the tension that was rolling down from the stands after the home side failed to break the deadlock in the first half.
And despite Reading pulling a goal back, they held on to claim the three points that put Chris Hughton's side eight points clear of the drop zone with just four games to go.
Best of the match: Norwich v Reading
- Man of the match: Sebastian Bassong's exemplary display showed why he has been so important for Norwich this season
- Moment of the match: Ryan Barrett's opener lifted the roof off Carrow Road - his first goal for the club
- Goal of the match: Garath McCleary's swerving consolation gave Bunn no chance in the Norwich goal
- Meaning of the match: You only had to witness the desire before, anxiety during, and euphoria after this game to see what it meant to Norwich fans
In contrast Reading look certain to return to the Championship just 12 months after winning promotion from the second tier.
Nigel Adkins' side remain bottom of the table, 10 points from safety, and relegation would be confirmed in the unlikely event of Aston Villa winning at Manchester United on Monday.
Norwich made a strong start and Robert Snodgrass shot wide before Javier Garrido drilled in a low shot which Alex McCarthy gathered at the second attempt.
Canaries defender Michael Turner had to be replaced in defence by Ryan Bennett after 18 minutes, but Reading tested the hosts too little and too infrequently in the opening half.
Norwich started the second half as brightly as they had done the first, and McCarthy denied Kei Kamara before the pressure finally paid off.
Grant Holt's header from Snodgrass' set-piece, was saved, but the ball fell for Ryan Bennett, who took one touch and swept it in left-footed for his first Norwich goal.
The second came two minutes later 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.
Reading pulled a goal back with 18 minutes remaining when Garath McCleary was allowed to run at the Norwich defence and he hit a fine long-range strike past Mark Bunn.
But there was to be no miraculous comeback and Norwich held on for a vital win.
Norwich manager Chris Hughton was pleased with the result, but still thinks his side has work to do.He told Sky Sports: "I think we still have to reach that 40-point mark. We've got four games to go and I still think we'll need more points."
Reading manager Nigel Adkins thought his side paid the price for a poor spell just after the break.
He said: "We dealt with their physical presence well for the most part, but there was a 10-15 minute spell where we didn't and we've lost because we didn't deal with two balls into the box."
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Norwich v Reading
Elliott Bennett is hoping Norwich's 2-1 win over Reading on Saturday can be the catalyst for a good run.
Reading manager Nigel Adkins was left to rue a poor start to the second half after a 2-1 defeat by Norwich.
Chris Hughton believes his side still have work to do to secure survival, despite the win over Reading.