Wes Hoolahan grabbed his first goal for Norwich as caretaker manager Bryan Gunn steered the Canaries to a vital Coca-Cola Championship win over Barnsley.

Hoolahan skipped around Tykes goalkeeper Heinz Muller to net for the first time since moving from Blackpool last summer and lift the gloom at Carrow Road before Jamie Cureton capped his return with the second goal.

Sammy Clingan's late penalty and a stoppage-time strike from Darel Russell applied some gloss to a thoroughly deserved win.

Unhappy Barnsley manager Simon Davey said: "It was always going to be difficult to come here this week but that does not excuse our second half performance. That was unacceptable and it is not something we are used to. We paid the price for some poor defending and it was a shambles.

"There are no excuses and all those goals could have been avoided. We had a decent first half and had some chances but 45 minutes like that is unacceptable. It was surprising to capitulate like that and it is the first time it has happened this season. We will have to look at that and that starts on Monday morning."

Norwich sacked Glenn Roeder this week after slumping to fourth from bottom in the Championship table and losing to Charlton in the FA Cup.

Former goalkeeper Gunn was handed the reins on a temporary basis and he handed a recall to Cureton.

Cureton was set for a weekend off as his loan spell at Oakwell rendered him unavailable to face the Canaries.

However, the 33-year-old was recalled within hours of the sacking of Roeder on Wednesday and he scored the decisive second to sink the players he had called team-mates since November.

Cureton had the first sight of goal when he flashed a header wide from Lee Croft's cross before Russell also came close.

Hoolahan broke clear down the left and cut the ball back perfectly for Russell to drill low and hard and only a superb block from Dennis Souza prevented him from chalking up the opener.

Gary Doherty then headed over from six yards when he rose highest to meet Clingan's corner before Hoolahan went close.

A flowing move saw Russell tee the winger up on the edge of the area and he flashed in a low shot which Tykes goalkeeper Heinz Muller gathered at the second attempt.

Russell then saw another powerful effort fail to hit the target as the half drew to a close.

Gunn's charges continued to press at the start of the second half and were rewarded when Hoolahan broke the deadlock in the 55th minute.

The impressive Russell was again the architect as he played the winger in on goal. Hoolahan had lots to do but rounded Muller and buried the ball from a tight angle.

Hoolahan then fizzed another effort into the side-netting as the Canaries pushed for a killer second goal with Cureton the next to test Muller with a curling effort from 20 yards.

Cureton then did get on the scoresheet in the 74th minute as he capitalised on a moment to forget by Darren Moore.

The veteran centre-half tried to shepherd a long ball forward back to Muller but Cureton was able to nip in and steal the ball. The striker showed great composure to run in and clip the ball past Muller for his first goal in a Norwich shirt.

Gunn replaced both goalscorers and one replacement, Matty Pattison, was involved in the third goal.

He was felled in the area by Marciano Van Homoet and Clingan sent Muller the wrong way.

There was still time for Russell to grab a deserved goal in the last minute.

Another sub David Bell was involved and he picked out Russell with a cross from the right and he guided a header past Muller to seal a crucial three points.

Yorkshire Post, 18 January 2008
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Ian Wilkinson

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