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Football: Norwich push to Reading verge of relegation

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

Norwich boosted their Premier League survival bid and pushed Reading to the brink of relegation with a 2-1 win at Carrow Road on Saturday.

Chris Hughton's team moved eight points clear of the bottom three after claiming just their second victory in 17 league games.

But in contrast Reading look certain to return to the Championship just 12 months after winning promotion from the second tier.

Nigel Adkins' side remain bottom of the table, 10 points from safety, and relegation would be confirmed in the unlikely event of Aston Villa winning at Manchester United on Monday.

Ryan Bennett and Elliott Bennett scored within three minutes of each other early in the second half to put Norwich firmly in control.

Garath McCleary pulled a goal back, but Reading couldn't complete the comeback.

Norwich made a strong start and Robert Snodgrass shot wide before Javier Garrido drilled in a low shot which Alex McCarthy gathered at the second attempt.

Canaries defender Michael Turner had to be replaced in defence by Ryan Bennett after 18 minutes, but Reading tested the hosts too little and too infrequently in the opening half an hour.

A McCleary cross had Norwich in trouble inside their own six-yard box, but Sebastien Bassong managed to do enough to put off Pavel Pogrebnyak, who scooped the ball over.

Norwich also went close before the break when Grant Holt won an aerial challenge and found Kei Kamara, whose volley on the turn was well saved by McCarthy.

McCarthy denied Kamara early in the second half, stretching to turn away a left-footed shot from an angle and from the subsequent corner Norwich went in front in the 50th minute.

McCarthy saved Holt's header from Snodgrass' set-piece, but the ball fell for Ryan Bennett, who took one touch and swept it in left-footed for his first Norwich goal.

Norwich's second goal came two minutes later as McCarthy was caught in no-man's land trying to reach a Snodgrass cross and Elliott Bennett shot through his legs and into the net.

Reading pulled a goal back with 18 minutes remaining when McCleary was allowed to run at the Norwich defence and he hit a fine long-range strike past Mark Bunn.

smg/dj

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130420/football-norwich-push-reading-verge-relegation