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Match Report: Bolton Wanderers 1-2 Norwich City

It's 1-1, it's the 90th minute, it's Bolton Wanderers - you know what comes next

Charlie Crowhurst/Getty Images

They say that the only sure things in life are death and taxes.

I beg to differ.

I say the only things to be sure of in this life is Liam Feeney putting in a terrible performance, and Bolton Wanderers conceding late goals.

It was apparently ever thus.

Wanderers actually made a decent fist of the game for an hour. Norwich City arrived unbeaten away from home since New Year, and they played like it. They dominated play for large portions of the game, but even so, Bolton had their chances.

They took the lead in the ninth minute when Graham Dorrans opened the scoring when his free-kick deflected in off the Bolton wall for his first Norwich goal. Questions could be asked of both Josh Vela and Adam Bogdan for their part in the goal - a rash tackle and some dubious positioning combined to give the visitors an early lead.

The largest away contingent ever to arrive at the Reebok from Narrch, numbered at around 1,000, rejoiced. It would be pretty much the only noise they would make all afternoon. Keen as mustard they were not. Norwich dominated the opening stages and came close to adding a second when Jonny Howson forced a terrific save from Bogdan, while Sebastien Bassong headed over a corner under pressure from defender Dorian Dervite.

Their celebrations were cut short soon after, when a delightful Adam Le Fondre finish brought the home side level - the on-loan Cardiff City man again showed what a lethal finisher he is when he finished off a flowing move that involved academy graduate Tom Walker laid on a plate.

The Canaries were undeterred, as both Nathan Redmond and Cameron Jerome forced Bogdan into saves.
In the second period, Le Fondre came close to his second, but Alex Tettey was on hand to clear the Bolton striker's looping header off the line. The Norwich boss boldly decided to bring on Lewis Grabban and Hooper off the bench to play alongside Jerome, knowing a victory was vital with others around City winning.

The former Hamilton Academical manager's approach paid off when Jerome flicked on for Hooper to slot home a dramatic winner and make it four wins in a row for the Canaries.

Norwich boss Alex Neil

"We did everything we possibly could have done to force it to come. The one thing you know about Gary Hooper is if you give him the ball in and around the box, he is a danger and it was a fantastic finish.

"I put him on with 25 minutes to go so he had plenty of time to make an impact.

"We need to try and win every remaining game. If it means I am going to throw caution to the wind and go for it and it costs us, well I would rather do that than play defensively and see out a draw which over the piece probably won't be good enough.

"I was pleased with the decisions I made - now they have paid off. Had we conceded it might have been different but those are the decisions you live and die by."

Bolton manager Neil Lennon:

"Gary Hooper is the best striker I have worked with. I got him from Scunthorpe for £1.5m and sold him for £6m. We can't keep giving away last-minute goals. It is a lack of moral fibre. And I really have to be careful how I go about it because I don't want to put myself or the club in a bad light.

"However, it is totally unacceptable that with two minutes to go, we can leave a £6m striker in front of goal with a free shot. It is not as though Norwich cut us open with a brilliant piece of football. It was a diagonal ball, a knock down and Gary is in acres.

"It is not good enough even though we are not far away. It was criminal defending and it is happening far too often."