(Reuters) – Norwich City were relegated from the Premier League on Saturday after being beaten 2-0 at Aston Villa following a goal and assist by substitute Danny Ings.
Ings, who came off the bench for Leon Bailey, found Watkins with a searching ball from the left with practically his first touch and his fellow forward capitalised on a slip by Brandon Williams to fire Villa into the lead after 41 minutes.
Ings got on the scoresheet himself in the dying minutes of the match to double Villa’s lead with a sharp swivel and shot.
Norwich needed to avoid defeat and hope Burnley did not beat Watford to avoid going down. However, late goals from Jack Cork and Josh Brownhill gave Burnley a 2-1 win and condemned Norwich to the Championship after one season back in the top-flight.
“I’m disappointed with our result. It is probably fair, we haven’t been good enough this season,” Norwich captain Grant Healy said.
“It’s difficult for me to comment on anything right now. Emotions are high, we gave our all but it wasn’t enough and the story of our season.
“It’s important not to look too far ahead, we still have pride to play for. Then we will see where we stand.”
Norwich spurned a golden chance to equalise two minutes after Watkins’ goal, when the unlucky Williams headed over after Grant Hanley nodded a Norwich freekick back across the box.
Bailey, who limped off injured just before halftime, nearly gave Villa the lead with 20 minutes on the clock but his snap shot from just outside the area was touched onto the crossbar by the outstretched Tim Krul.
Villa’s attacking trio of Ings, Watkins and Philippe Coutinho tore into Norwich after the restart, with Ings coming close to doubling the lead in the 51st minute only to see his attempted chip blocked behind for a corner, from which he then headed against the bar.
Norwich ran out of steam as the match wore on and could barely get out of their own half by the end as Villa piled on the pressure before Ings put the gloss on the scoreline deep into stoppage time.
Villa’s first win in six games moved them up to 13th, on 40 points, while Norwich are rooted to the bottom on 21.
(Reporting by Simon Jennings in Bengaluru; Editing by Ken Ferris and Christian Radnedge)