Friday night football seemed like such a good idea before the game. It turns out that football ruins a Friday.
Andrew Lawn and Jon Punt look back on a potentially decisive Carrow Road night.
Random star performer
Alex Tettey. The Norwegian was tipped by some to be a big part of any success we had this season, by breaking up play and protecting the back 4. His 45 minute cameo last night was the first time he'd shown those qualities in a disappointing season for both him and the club. With the team severely lacking midfield bite and Mulumbu on international duty for a good chunk of January a return to form and fitness for Tettey is more important than ever.
Moment of the match
The Barclay picked up where it left off on Tuesday with vocal, positive backing, even after Huddersfield took an early lead. Again they were rewarded as Howson’s quite excellent header almost immediately levelled things up. Joniesta ghosted into the box, connecting to a hopeful rather than accurate cross, it was one of those goals which seemed to go in in slow motion and when it did everything seemed ok again. For a while. Things would be less positive later.
Biggest positive to take
No one can be left in any doubt that the board now firmly know how the supporters feel. It isn’t going to take some much maligned fans’ consultation and quite frankly we’re getting a little bored of hearing about the lack of engagement on Twitter – the club might just have more pressing business right now.
When the venom started to fly from perplexed mouths the TV cameras panned to Delia. She’d got the message, whether we get an acknowledgement or read receipt is a different matter.
Just one aspect of a frustrating night in which 50/50s seemed to go the opposition’s way. That said, the frustration had already arrived and the man in the middle did little to add to it. He just became another scapegoat in an evening of blame and recrimination.
However, notable mention has to go to the assistant referee nearest the Barclay for forgetting his boots and bringing instead some lovely 1980s luminous running trainers. Quite the fashion statement.
Good at first, then really good, then quiet, then vitriolic before a quick detour into good, and back to vitriolic.
The crowd has now turned. Its difficult not to respect Alex Neil in a way for refusing to bow to it (more of shortly) but the road back is an unlikely and long one from here. Echoes of Burnley at home all those years ago, it was just missing a patent Doherty rugby tackle.
Booing. It's been covered before in great detail, but this was different. First Seb Bassong had his name booed before a ball was kicked Tuesday. Then last night it got nasty. We started booing the back 4 for passing the ball to each other. Surely that's allowed?
The chorus of disapproval that greeted a clearly exhausted Oliveira's withdrawal was the loudest the rest of Carrow Road has been since the play-off semi-final. What followed highlighted the crowd’s anger, but also the possible inability to see what AN had done rationally. The substitutions made sense (2 attacking players for a tired striker and holding midfielder) and they very nearly worked. But at this point nothing mattered, the game is up. The crowd don't want AN in charge any more and Gary Rowett's shock sacking in the week has only added fuel to that fire. There is now a more than viable candidate out of work.
Alex isn't for bending to the mob, the real question is Delia/Jez/MWJ?
Outclassed, out thought, out run, there really aren’t many places to hide for Norwich after their weaknesses were laid bare to a national TV audience. Huddersfield were everything Norwich weren’t – dynamic, energetic and organised. The Terriers ability to press high, then mop up the pits and pieces if a yellow shirt went long meant they went relatively untroubled until Norwich started to force the play in the latter stages.
Rather than turning the corner many were talking about our hands have slipped from the steering wheel and we’ve hurtled into the central reservation. If Alex Neil’s post match comments are anything to go by this season is quickly becoming an insurance write off.
Our transformation from being relatively competitive to flat track bullies has been rapid and alarming. The root causes of the issue are still partially unknown, but there’s only one man that carries the can.