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Sunday, 28 April, 2002, 15:27 GMT 16:27 UK
Norwich wrench the advantage
Mark Rivers scored with a left-footed volley
Rivers left celebrates scoring Norwich's equaliser
Norwich City 3-1 Wolverhampton

Malky Mackay's injury-time header secured Norwich a massive advantage to carry into the second leg of their First Division play-off semi-final with Wolves.

Mackay struck deep into stoppage time to strengthen the Canaries' grip on the tie after Nigel Worthington's side had produced an impressive second-half fightback.

Goals from Mark Rivers and Paul McVeigh had turned the tie around after Dean Sturridge's 21st goal of the season had put Wolves in front at half-time.

Dave Jones' team had started the game with drive and purpose - and showed no sign of a hangover following Wolves narrow failure to clinch automatic promotion.

  Key moments
22 mins: Sturridge scores for Wolves
56 mins: Rivers scores for Norwich
73 mins: McVeigh gives Norwich the lead
But Wolves failed to build on their first goal against Norwich in three meetings this season and may have let the tie slip through their fingers with a poor second-half display.

The Canaries upped the tempo after the break and played with courage and determination to ensure they take a two-goal advantage into the second leg on Wednesday.

Norwich appeared nervous in the opening stages, while Wolves enjoyed some good early pressure without troubling Robert Green.

Indeed, Wolves goalkeeper Michael Oakes made the first save of the game after 15 minutes.

A precise Norwich move culminated in a powerful shot from Adam Drury, which Oakes parried around the post for a corner.

But it was Wolves - playing in their hideous silver away kit - who broke the deadlock.

Kevin Cooper's deep cross from the left was headed back across goal by Shaun Newton towards Nathan Blake - who missed the ball with an attempted scissors kick.

The ball fell to Sturridge, who showed excellent composure, weaving his way across the Canaries' defence before slotting home from six yards.

Replays suggested Sturridge was in an offside position when Newton headed the ball towards him.

Gary Holt had an excellent chance to quickly restore parity but sliced his shot woefully wide when unmarked 10 yards from goal.

Norwich failed to breach the Wolves defence in the remainder of the first half, with Paul Butler and Aaron Lescott comfortable in the centre of defence.

But Nigel Worthington's team equalised 11 minutes into the second half.

Norwich's David Nielsen was closely tracked by Wolves' defence
Nielsen tries to weave his way through Wolves' defence
An over-hit cross was headed back into the danger zone by Mackay and Rivers volleyed goalwards from seven yards.

Rivers - extremely right footed - did not make a clean connection but got enough on the ball to beat Oakes' sluggish dive.

The game opened up after the Canaries equaliser and it was the home team who scored the game's third goal after more precise approach play.

Drury whipped-in a brilliant cross from the left and McVeigh - Norwich's pint-sized striker - ghosted between Wolves' two central defenders with a glancing header into the top corner.

Shortly afterwards Norwich striker Iwan Roberts - available again after injury - was introduced as Worthington's team went in pursuit of a third.

And deep into injury time Norwich skipper Mackay headed home from Clint Easton's corner to give his team a firm advantage.


Norwich: Green, Kenton, Mackay, Fleming, Drury, Rivers, Holt, Mulryne, Easton, McVeigh, Nielsen. Subs: Crichton, Sutch, Notman, Libbra, Iwan Roberts.

Wolverhampton: Oakes, Halle, Butler, Lescott, Camara, Newton, Cameron, Rae, Cooper, Blake, Sturridge. Subs: Murray, Naylor, Proudlock, Pollet, Miller.

Referee: R Furnandiz (Doncaster)

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 ON THIS STORY
BBC Sport's Alistair Bruce-Ball
"Norwich fully deserved their victory"
Norwich boss Nigel Worthington
"We passed the ball exceptionally well"

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