Norwich 2 Aston Villa 0: Only Lambert will do for angry of Villa

Aston Villa fans chanted for Alex McLeish to be sacked - and for Norwich boss Paul Lambert to replace him.

Throughout a one-sided game, when the home crowd saluted their manager with chants of 'There's only one Paul Lambert', the away section wasted no time in echoing the sentiment.

Holt end: Grant Holt hit Norwich's first goal in a victory that ended a poor season for Villa

Holt end: Grant Holt hit Norwich's first goal in a victory that ended a poor season for Villa

Match facts

NORWICH: Ruddy, Naughton, Martin, Ryan Bennett, Lappin, Elliott Bennett, Johnson, Hoolahan, Howson (Crofts 76), Holt (Morison 68), Jackson (Wilbraham 68). Unused subs: Steer, Drury, Surman, Fox.

Goals: Holt 8, Jackson 21

Booked: Holt

ASTON VILLA: Given, Cuellar (Gardner 66), Collins, Dunne, Lichaj, Ireland, Clark, Herd (Bannan 46), Warnock (Baker 81), Agbonlahor, Heskey. Unused subs: Guzan, N'Zogbia, Delfouneso, Carruthers.

Booked: Clark, Ireland

Referee: Martin Atkinson

Attendance: 26,803

Click here for the final Premier League table

McLeish vowed to fight on but a meeting with chairman Randy Lerner and chief executive Paul Falconer this week could decide his fate after less than a year in charge.

And Lambert, asked if he'd still be at Carrow Road next season, took an age to answer, and did not quash the speculation.

He said: 'It's a hard question to answer - let's wait and see.'

First-half goals by Grant Holt, taking his season's tally to 17, and Simeon Jackson earned an easy win.

Holt bundled in at the far post from a Bradley Johnson free-kick before Jackson intercepted Carlos Cuellar's back-header.

McLeish, whose side finished 16th, said: 'That was unacceptable but I still believe I can turn this club around. It is frustrating to watch that sort of stuff and not easy.

'It's been torture.'

Going close: Emile Heskey fires in a shot but Villa were to leave empty-handed

Going close: Emile Heskey fires in a shot but Villa were to leave empty-handed

 

For Norwich it has been a successful campaign back in the Barclays Premier League.

Many had expected Lambert's Canaries to be battling at the wrong end of the table on their first return to the elite for six seasons.

However, a string of industrious displays kept Lambert's hard-working side clear of danger well before the final day visit of Villa, who barring a monumental goals swing, were also secure of top-flight status, albeit after what has been an uninspiring campaign under McLeish.

Early bird: The Canaries scored quickly thanks to Holt and never looked back

Early bird: The Canaries scored quickly thanks to Holt and never looked back

 

First-half goals from leading scorer Holt and Jackson made for a party atmosphere in the Norfolk sunshine - where the several thousand Villa fans sent a loud and clear message they expected better next season.

It was a strong start by the home side, who had been outclassed in their last two matches here by Manchester City and Liverpool.

After Holt was booked for failing to retreat at a free-kick, the Norwich captain fired the Canaries in front after eight minutes.

On the slide:  Ciaran Clark (centre)  is thwarted by Norwich's Jonathan Howson

On the slide: Ciaran Clark (centre) is thwarted by Norwich's Jonathan Howson

James Collins bundled over Simeon Jackson, 25 yards out on the right.

Bradley Johnson floated the resulting free-kick into the Villa box, where Holt got up between two defenders at the far post, the ball cannoning off his shoulder and past Shay Given for a 15th Premier League goal.

Norwich continued to press and Jonny Howson let fly from 20 yards, with Given taking no chances as he turned the shot, which was going wide, around the post at full stretch.

The Villa goalkeeper was then let down by his static defence as Norwich went 2-0 up after 22 minutes. A long ball forward from right-back Kyle Naughton was headed back across his own six-yard box by Carlos Cuellar, straight into the path of Jackson.

Axed: Villa boss Alex McLeish (pointing) has gone following a disappointing campaign

Axed: Villa boss Alex McLeish (pointing) has gone following a disappointing campaign

Given was out quickly to make a smart block, but the diminutive Canada striker calmly slotted the rebound into an empty net.

Norwich had a strong shout for a penalty when Jackson's cross hit Cuellar's outstretched arm - but referee Martin Atkinson saw nothing untoward and waved play on.

Villa showed little in way of attacking intent, with Norwich enjoying a spell of possession which just lacked a final telling pass.

Lambert has been touted as a potential candidate should owner Randy Lerner look to make a change at Villa Park during the summer - with both sets of fans chanting the Scotsman's name, one as a sign of appreciation and the other as a message to their board.

Premier League wish Grant-ed: Holt instrumental in helping Norwich extend their top-flight stay

Premier League wish Grant-ed: Holt instrumental in helping Norwich extend their top-flight stay

Cooking up a storm: Norwich joint-owner Delia Smith watched another victory at Carrow Road
Heads we win: Kyle Naughton battles with Villa's Gabriel Agbonlahor

Cooking up a storm: Norwich joint-owner Delia Smith looks on as Kyle Naughton battles with Gabriel Agbonlahor

The visitors finally sprung to life five minutes before the break as American defender Eric Lichaj strode to the edge of the Norwich penalty area and sent in a low shot which John Ruddy palmed around the post

Cuellar blocked Howson right on the left corner of the penalty area, with the referee giving a free-kick rather than pointing to the spot, despite replays suggesting the offense took place just inside the line.

Villa made a change for the start of the second half as midfielder Chris Herd was replaced by Barry Bannan, and they quickly had a dominant spell.

Ruddy pushed Emile Heskey's low shot around the post before tipping over Stephen Ireland's 20-yard rising drive. Norwich, though, were soon back on the offensive themselves, with Jackson stretching the Villa backline.

After 63 minutes, the Canada striker, whose goal at Portsmouth this time last season had secured promotion back up to the top flight, sent a low, 20-yard effort goalwards, which Given turned behind at full stretch.

Villa were unfortunate not to pull a goal back when Gabriel Agbonlahor cut in from the left and his shot was touched on to the inside of the far post by Ruddy, with Russell Martin hacking the loose ball clear.

Norwich were still creating chances at the other end, where substitute Aaron Wilbraham blazed over before winger Elliott Bennett did the same.


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