PHOTOS: Norwich City 4, Burnley 1

THERE'S 21 places that separate Norwich City and the Clarets in the English football pyramid.

And that statistical gulf was conveyed in the FA Cup third round clash at Carrow Road, as the hosts progressed with a crushing 4-1 win.

The Clarets started well, creating two clear-cut chances in the opening couple of minutes. Charlie Austin's fierce strike was parried by Declan Rudd while the Canaries keeper had to be alert soon after to save low at his near post from a Jay Rodriguez effort.

But the Premier League outfit fought back with a vengeance, as the Clarets failed to address their tactical ineptitude. Wesley Hoolahan dictated the play from midfield as he was gifted too much space in the centre of the park while David Fox enjoyed a similar luxury as he dropped deep to link play between his defence and wide men.

The warning shot came when Andrew Surman swapped passes with City skipper Grant Holt inside the area but his stabbed shot was deflected wide of the far post.

But the Clarets failed to take heed of the threat and in the following attack the home side took the lead. Hoolahan's cross found a hole in the Burnley defence and Grant pounced to thunder a header past Lee Grant.

And Hoolahan was involved again as City doubled the advantage. The classy midfielder burst forward and drew his marker on the edge of the box before slipping the ball in to the overlapping Adam Drury and the defender's floated cross was powered in to the roof of the net by Simeon Jackson.

Heads could have dropped but in all fairness to Eddie Howe's side they didn't. And they were rewarded for that character when Rodriguez thumped a sensational header beyond Rudd from Ross Wallace's inswinging set-piece on the quarter-of-an-hour mark.


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That frantic tempo teetered out a bit as the half wore on; Grant was equal to Hoolahan's left-footed strike but then the Clarets fell victim to another dismal refereeing decision.

Andrew Crofts struck on the half-volley from the angle of the penalty area and the linesman waved his flag with Austin adjudged to have handled. Up stepped Holt, who hadn't missed a spot kick for three years, and justice was done as he pulled the penalty wide of Grant's right-hand post.

Rudd denied Rodriguez's volley as the half came to a close while Austin was thwarted at the near post, under pressure from Rudd and Daniel Ayala.

Burnley struggled with a lack of width, mainly down to the absence of Kieran Trippier who served a one-match ban following Monday's dismissal, as the full-back's were frustrated in attempts to push in to the final third. That freed up City's wingers as they were free to roam and forced vulnerability on a disjointed Clarets line-up.


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That was apparent after the interval; Hoolahan and Fox continued their midfield domination, dictating the tempo with relative ease, while Martin and Drury forced Burnley on the back foot powering forward in support of Crofts and Surman.

Another attack from the left resulted in Hoolahan forcing Grant in to a fantastic reflex save from his close range half-volley, Holt smashed the rebound against the post and Jackson sidefooted wide in reply with the goal gaping.

Surman, later awarded the man of the match accolade, became man of the hour as he latched on to Jackson's deft flick before storming to the area and firing beyond Grant and in to the far corner to make it 3-1.

Jackson and Holt would then be replaced by Aaron Wilbraham and Steve Morison respectively in a double change from Paul Lambert and within minutes the duo combined to seal the tie.


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Grant initially denied Wilbraham's low, angled shot with his fingertips but his strike partner was on hand to tap in to an empty net, making the scoreline 4-1.

Howe attempted to redress the balance with the introductions of Marvin Bartley, Junior Stanislas and Alex MacDonald, as the Clarets moved to 4-5-1, but that seemingly benefited the hosts as they took the foot off the gas and enjoyed ample possession.

There could be no arguments with the result as Norwich went in to the hat for the fourth round.