Camara strike sinks Norwich
By James Pearson. Last Updated: 30/04/05 4:55pm
Henri Camara's late goal gave Southampton a priceless 4-3 victory over Norwich City at St Mary's Stadium.
The game looked set for a draw following a thrilling first half that saw no less than six goals on the South Coast before the Senegalese substitute struck.
In what will be one of the games of the season David Bentley opened the scoring from close range before Matt Oakley levelled matters.
Peter Crouch put Saints' ahead before a mix-up in the home side's defence resulted in Danny Higginbotham putting through his own net.
Graeme Le Saux ensured the goals kept flowing to put the South Coast side in front again, but Leon McKenzie's effort just before half time kept the scoreboard operator busy.
That goal looked enough to secure a share of the spoils before Camara found his range from outside the box to lift Saints out of the bottom three with just minutes to spare.
The visitors flew out of the traps and were inches from taking the lead in the first minute when McKenzie headed just wide at the back post with Antti Niemi stranded.
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Just minutes later The Canaries were in front when McKenzie's chip to the back post was superbly turned home by Bentley past Niemi.
Saints tried to respond through Kevin Phillips but his long-range effort was superbly saved down low by Robert Green, although parity was soon restored.
Nigel Quashie made a superb run through the midfield and played in Oakley who lashed an unstoppable right-footed drive past Green into the far post.
Norwich tried to respond and were desperately unlucky not to retake their lead when Dean Ashton's shot inside the box crashed off the inside of Niemi's post to safety.
The chances continued to flow and shortly after Jamie Redknapp tested Green from a free kick, Harry Redknapp's side were ahead for the first time in the game.
Rory Delap's right wing cross was superbly volleyed home by Crouch who did well to lose marker Thomas Helveg in the area to leave Green with no chance of a save.
Saints were controlling the play at this stage and Phillips and Crouch both tried efforts from inside the box, but on both occasions Green was on hand to make the block.
The home side's defence was unable to hold out and Darren Huckerby made space down the left before his square ball was inadvertently turned home by Higginbotham at the near post.
The equaliser gave Norwich renewed confidence and Huckerby and Bentley were close to restoring their advantage with a close-range shot and effort from distance respectively.
Once again though Saints struck back and Le Saux's first league goal for the South Coast effort put the home side ahead after 39 minutes.
Olivier Bernard's long-ball was superbly played back into the path of the former Chelsea defender who lashed a first time left-footed effort beyond Green.
Just when it looked like the scoring was over Norwich equalised on the stroke of half time when McKenzie guided Ashton's flick-on past the on rushing Niemi into the net.
Saints shrugged off the disappointment of conceding just before the interval by coming out positively following Redknapp's words of wisdom.
Quashie stung Green's palms with a well-struck effort and from the resulting corner Crouch somehow headed over at the back post.
Norwich's first meaningful attack after the interval resulted in Bentley wasting possession at the back post when he fired into the side netting instead of looking for a colleague.
In form Ashton came close on two occasions to firing Norwich ahead, but firstly his curler flashed just wide of the far post before Niemi got behind his drilled effort from outside the box.
Phillips should have done better with a back post header from Telfer's deep cross, but the former Sunderland man seemed to mis-time his jump.
Norwich did have the ball in the net shortly after, however the effort was rightfully disallowed for McKenzie's challenge on Niemi from Ashton's header.
Substitute Simon Charlton came close to snatching a sensational winner late on from Bentley's cross, but Niemi was perfectly placed to push the ball over the bar.
Both sides had chances to win the game in the closing stages with Phillips coming close to netting with an outlandish back-heel in the box while McKenzie fizzed an effort just wide of Niemi's far post.
With just minutes left on the clock Camara made himself an instant hero when he lashed the ball home from outside of the area sparking scenes of jubilation.
Click here for Southampton 4-3 Norwich player ratings.
|Southampton||Team Name||Norwich City|
|9||Shots on target ( Inc Goals )||7|
|7||Shots off Target (inc woodwork)||7|
|18||Total Fouls Conceded||15|
Barclays Premier League
|11||West Ham United||37||47|
|13||West Bromwich Albion||37||44|
|20||Queens Park Rangers||37||30|