Match report: Norwich 2-0 Villa
Norwich proved to be party-poopers as the claret and blue army - featuring superheroes Superman, Batman and Wonderwoman - watched their team go down 2-0 on the final day.
Grant Holt and Simeon Jackson scored the goals which ensured victory for the home side on a sunny afternoon at Carrow Road.
The only crumb of comfort for the travelling troops - bedecked in fancy dress - was that were was no mega goal difference swing at the foot of the Barclays Premier League table, ensuring Villa stay a top-flight titan for another season, Bolton slipping through the relegation trapdoor.
It's worth pointing out that there's certainly no shame for Villa in losing to Paul Lambert's team, who have proved to be a slick and stylish side in their first season in the Barclays Premier League.
Norwich played like a team who wanted the season to run and run while Villa looked like a side who were desperate for it to end.
Villa really didn't get going in the first half, with Norwich taking control with their attractive brand of progressive football.
Norwich, on the crest of a wave after their impressive campaign, played with confidence and class.
Ironically, Villa did have the first chance of the opening 45 minutes, Stephen Ireland blasting wide from 25 yards out after meeting a corner clearance.
But after that, the Canaries soared and took the lead on nine minutes.
Grant Holt, who finds himself mentioned alongside Wayne Rooney, Darren Bent and Peter Crouch in contention for the Euro 2012 squad, did his chances no harm by bundling home Simon Lappin's free-kick from the left-hand side.
While Villa couldn't get to grips with things in the outfield, Shay Given was showing his shot-stopping skills in goal, however.
Given stretched to his right to keep out a 20-yard Johnny Howson blaster and then produced an even better stop to keep out a free-kick from Lappin.
That offered Villa some brief respite, but not for long.
Jackson doubled the lead on 22 minutes, finishing comfortably from close-range after an error from Carlos Cuellar.
The Spaniard misplaced a header, with the ball falling perfectly for the Norwich striker to stroke home.
Villa did go close late in the half, Eric Lichaj abandoning his defensive duties for a moment and going on a mazy run before firing goalwards.
John Ruddy managed to dive to his right to tip away the on-target effort.
Villa's forward momentum increased after the break, Alex McLeish's men coming out of the blocks fast.
Ruddy, in fine form in the Norwich goal, tipped away efforts from Ireland and Heskey in consecutive minutes in the opening exchanges of the second period.
In fact, both goalkeepers proved to be the main men after the break, with Given showing his undoubted class too.
Wes Hoolahan, Bennett and Jackson were all denied by brilliant stops from the Republic of Ireland ace as the final half of the season continued apace.
There were moments for Villa at the death, Ireland heading over from Gary Gardner's pinpoint cross and Barry Bannan blasting over from 30 yards out.
But the visitors couldn't bag that vital goal which would have made the nerve-ends tingle for the home side in the closing moments.
Despite the loss, there was a lovely moment after the final whistle, with Cuellar donning a wig, his national flag and throwing home shirts into the away end for his adoring masses.
Norwich: Ruddy, Martin, Naughton, Bennett, Johnson, Hoolahan, Bennett, Lappin, Howson (Crofts), Holt (Morison), Jackson (Wilbraham). Subs: Steer, Drury, Surman, Fox.
Villa: Given, Cuellar (Gardner), Collins, Dunne, Lichaj, Herd (Bannan), Clark, Warnock (Baker), Ireland, Heskey, Agbonlahor. Subs: Guzan, Carruthers, N'Zogbia, Delfouneso.
Go to full match coverage for Norwich 2 - 0 Aston Villa (13th May 2012) >
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