The odds were stacked against City this weekend. Farke ditched his Parka, XXL16 was over from Hong Kong and Hull hadn't won away in 13 months. It was all set for a proper Along Come Norwich moment. Cue Lord Nelson, cue scenes and LAOTS. Let Jon Punt and Andy Lawn give you their thoughts on proceedings...
Random star performer
Given the hate he has received up to and after the horror show at The Den, James Husband’s resolve and character must have been severely tested during his absence from the side. Many had written him off completely, questioned Stuart Webber’s judgement and consigned him to a defensive scrapheap occupied by the likes of Fernando Derveld, Steven Smith, Ignasi Miquel and Victor Segura.
Hopefully Husband is made of sterner stuff and while he wasn’t City’s outstanding performer on the day, he was certainly the most capable at defending. Ivo ran into dead ends, Timmy misplaced passes, Zimm had a couple of shaky moments yet Husband stood tall and repelled what was in front of him ably. Having been without regular football for large parts of his career, maybe a run in the side will see him improve further.
This category caused some debate among us, which serves to highlight that this was a strong team performance. The result may not have been perfect, but collective performances are continuing to be upwardly mobile. Same again next week please.
Moment of the match
Just like Highlander, there can be only one. Limbs, scenes, however you want to describe it, the outpouring of joy at Carrow Road had a slight feel of the Paul Lamberts to it.
Oliveira’s instinct took him to the right position for his strike partner’s flick on and his quality did the rest. Cue Parka-less Farke marauding onto the pitch, Maddison embracing Lord Nelson in sheer delight and Stieperman grabbing a corner flag to pole vault Sergey Bubka style into the Ability Counts Corner infill before thinking that may be a bad idea.
At the other end someone who looked suspiciously familiar took his celebrations onto the pitch with an arms aloft swagger that ultimately led to bemused stewards whisking him away.
The fact City remained patient, ignoring the pleas to go long or just throw it aimlessly into the box, also spoke of the players’ genuine belief things would come off in the end, characterised by the much criticised Mario Vrancic, who despite dwelling on the ball occasionally, has the ability to find the right forward pass with a consistency that will get rewards.
The celebrations at the end also underlined the togetherness which is continuing to build. Equally important is the feel-good factor which swept Carrow Road, it may only have been a draw but it felt like a win, and that confidence and joy is momentum building.
It was highlighted before the match this referee had only taken charge of two fixtures this season, brandishing 14 yellow cards and two reds. Luckily for Norwich, he kept up his 100% dismissal success rate following Meyler’s second yellow for a rather soft challenge on the advancing Wildschut. Whether that was a cautionable offence is up for debate, yet potentially it was the cumulative effect of all those bites at Maddison during the course of the afternoon.
Biggest positive to take
The first time we’ve fallen behind since Millwall and Norwich have managed to find a way back, albeit against 10 men. This was a match we’d have lost last season.
Keeping the unbeaten run going, with the associated confidence it brings, may just be key when we visit that lot down the road next Sunday.
Furthermore the number of chances we are creating is growing with each outing. As with Burton and Bristol City before it, this could have been a comfortable win had we been more clinical, however the signs are more positive with each passing week.
As hopeful as the building attacking threat is, it remains merely a threat at the moment and the failure to take chances at home might just be holding us back. Maddison shaved the post, Wildschut had a number of bright openings including a near replica of the chance Dicko would later put away for the visitors, added to other chances which went begging. Being clinical is now key, the return of Oliveira and positive news on the Prichard injury front offers hope moving forward.
Last minute equalisers always put rose tinted spectacles onto how a match felt, yet the crowd stayed behind the team for the entire 90 minutes. It wasn’t always super noisy, but there was generally decent backing from the Barclay throughout proceedings. However, having the derby on the horizon always helps on that front.
A performance which 90% of the time yields three points. Dominant in possession, rarely troubled at the back, yet the fact a rare moment of defensive naivety left City with an uphill struggle was frustrating.
City’s squad is being tested to its limits following further injuries and suspensions, but they are managing to maintain momentum which might just give them the impetus to drive onto bigger and better things when our shining lights are fully fit.
Say it quietly, but right now no-one appears to be running away with this division and if Norwich can continue in their current trajectory it’s all up for grabs come May.
While you're here...
Two things; first, did you know we have a new podcast? It's available via iTunes and Soundcloud. Alternatively you can just listen to it in your browser via our podcast page. Di Cunningham from Proud Canaries joined us for the second episode, which is available now.
Secondly, to keep AlongComeNorwich advert free and to help us fund additional initiatives aimed at improving the Carrow Road atmosphere, we occasionally produce exclusive t-shirts.
To celebrate the latest Barclay classic chant, Farkelife we've done another one. As always, we take no profit from these and put all the revenue back into the site and things we can all enjoy.