Derby County 0-1 Norwich City: Kieran Dowell free-kick takes Canaries to cusp of promotion

Report and highlights from the Sky Bet Championship clash between Derby County and Norwich City at Pride Park as Kieran Dowell’s free-kick moved the Canaries to the cusp of a return to the Premier League

Saturday 10 April 2021 18:16, UK

Norwich took another step closer to promotion when a Kieran Dowell free-kick secured a 1-0 win at Derby who are still looking over their shoulders.

The Championship leaders were dominant in the first half but had some anxious moments in the second as Derby fought back strongly and came close to snatching a point.

Goalkeeper Tim Krul made two good saves in the space of a minute but almost gifted Derby a point in stoppage time when he lost the ball inside his area but Graeme Shinnie could not take advantage.

Swansea’s victory at Millwall meant Norwich could not win promotion on Saturday but they started with the confidence of a team that will soon be returning to the top flight.

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Todd Cantwell had an early shot easily saved by David Marshall but the Scotland keeper was relieved to see Dowell’s 12th-minute free-kick curl into the side-netting.

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But Dowell adjusted his sights in the 21st minute when he was fouled by Craig Forsyth inside the ‘D’ and picked himself up to bend the free-kick into the top-left corner of Marshall’s goal.

Norwich’s movement around the box was threatening a second but Derby responded when Shinnie won the ball and found Tom Lawrence, who shot wide from just outside the box.

Another loose Norwich pass allowed Colin Kazim-Richards to find Patrick Roberts 12 yards out but Grant Hanley made a superb block to deny the winger.

The visitors were quickly back on the offensive in the 36th minute when Oliver Skipp surged forward and found Emi Buendia, who set up Cantwell but his low shot lacked the power to beat Marshall.

Derby were staying in the game and almost got Kazim-Richards in but the striker had strayed offside.

The Rams started the second half with purpose and Kazim-Richards got in at the back post in the 53rd minute but could not squeeze the ball past Krul, who made an even better save a minute later when he turned away a Teden Mengi drive.

It was a good spell from the home side who were driving forward from midfield and knocking Norwich out of their rhythm for the first time in the game.

Roberts had a great chance in the 74th minute when he dribbled past three defenders but Krul was out quickly to save at his feet as Norwich again looked vulnerable.

Teemu Pukki had been quiet and he got in on the right before his cutback was blocked but Derby were pressing, although the final ball lacked quality.

Krul nearly cost his side the game when he was robbed by Kazim-Richards but Shinnie fired over an empty goal.

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