Football: CRASH LANDING; NORWICH..................1 Jarvis 88 WATFORD..................2 Fitzgerald 24, Cox (Pen) 81 High-Flying Canaries Stung by the Hornets

Article excerpt

Byline: DAVE SMITH

THE soaring Canaries had their wings clipped as Watford ended their perfect home record - and hopes of going top.

A ninth win on the trot would have seen Norwich leapfrog West Brom and Sheffield United, but Watford had other ideas.

Without on-loan stars Peter Crouch and Kevin Harper, Nigel Worthington's men lost their bottle at a crucial time and looked anything but promotion candidates.

A first half strike by Scott Fitzgerald and an 81st-minute penalty from skipper Neil Cox gave the Hornets an impressive and deserved victory.

A late goal by Norwich sub Ryan Jarvis tested the visitors' nerve but they held firm with keeper Lenny Pidgley among the Watford heroes.

Norwich started with all guns blazing and Pidgley, on loan from Chelsea, saved well early on from Darren Huckerby.

From the resulting corner the keeper made a brilliant, instinctive stop from unmarked Craig Fleming's header.

Watford, without international stars Micah Hyde and Paul Devlin, looked to have conceded an 11th-minute penalty when skipper Cox threw himself in the path of a Huckerby cross, but referee Steve Bennett ruled the ball his his chest.

The visitors put their uncertain start behind them in the best fashion possible when Cook fired over a cross from the left which Fitzgerald turned in from close range.

Huckerby was booked for diving in the box moments later and Norwich were further frustrated when Paul McVeigh also had a penalty claim turned down.

McVeigh went tumbling in the box again after 37 minutes but once more referee Bennett ruled in Watford's favour.

Soon after the restart Norwich keeper Robert Green saved comfortably from Danny Webber, who was then denied another goal scoring opportunity by Malky Mackay. …