PRESTON NORTH END (H); THE REVIEW

26/11/17

Another home game for the masses to leave disappointed. Were there any signs of progression or is the Farke-lution starting to stutter? Jon Punt and Andrew Lawn take you through the key moments.

Random star performer

As our resident stat man, who last season provided readers of this parish with some fantastic tales of yore, we have to give this to David 'Spud' Thornhill. If only for bringing the latest German export; denim on the touchline to Carrow Road. With the linesman injured, it appeared the referee was considering abandoning the game, citing a lack of a 4th official, which leads to 2 questions; why and do the FA really have no contingency plan for an official getting injured?

That aside, it's known to nearly all Norwich fans that Spud is one of the most passionate and loyal City fans there is. His face of glee as he held aloft the board to signal 10 minutes of stoppage time was a sight to behold. This was as close as he will ever get to taking part in proceedings at Carrow Road and following a lifetime of dedication towards the Canary cause, you have to say it's well deserved.

Moment of the match

Maddison's latest glorious free-kick takes some beating, but as the grumbles from the perma-miserable masses began to bubble again, the introduction of Alex Pritchard lifted some spirits. As Farke continues to try and find the most effective trio to operate behind a rusty Oliveira, Alex's return is a huge boost. He'd been injured so long that someone in the Barclay even called him Alan.

But. As much as Pritchard's return will offer a confidence boost to those around him, it could appear to many to be ill judged. 45 minutes of U23s action after a length lay off was not ideal preparation to be thrown into a pressured environment where expectancy is high. It would be easy to surmise City's current injury woes are a product of such recklessness or desperation, particularly when young Todd Cantwell was another option. If the Dereham youngster isn't quite ready, why is he part of the match day squad at all? That's us picking holes though. Welcome back Pritch, we've all missed you.

Farke watch

Passionate and involved, Farke was furious when his side switched off from the set-piece which tied the game up. Down on his haunches and visibly outraged at what he'd seen, the German gathered himself to then be imploring his side to go again.

It was good to see Maddison head straight over to the bench to celebrate his goal and shows there is still a sense of togetherness in the squad, despite the winless run. It was also the first point for the black Farke Parka.

Biggest positive to take

Although you wouldn't know it from the miserable faces on the trudge home, this was another improvement, albeit not backed up by 3 points. Was it scintillating, no, but it was better than Barnsley. A fairly low bar we know, but when everyone accepts this is a work in progress, incremental steps are all we can ask for. Onwards and upwards. Hopefully. Maybe. Please?

Weekend whinge

Another home game without a win will only add fuel to the confirmation bias that is beginning to settle in and will require some shifting. There is a semblance of a point though, City aren't clinical enough with the small amount of chances they create, which places a heavy burden on the forward players to convert. When that doesn't happen momentum can shift quickly, just as it did on Saturday.

The visible change in tempo when City did take the lead also raises alarm bells. The opening spell demonstrated Norwich had enough in their armoury to kill the game off, yet confidence sapped players appeared content to grind it out. Home crowds expect more, and it's currently not being delivered.

Also reports of people waving flags being threatened are appalling but reinforce the need to better meet the needs of those who want to play a part in the atmosphere and those who do not. A singing section for example...

Atmosphere rating

Better but far from spine-tingling. For the first 30 mins there were audible sounds of life from the Barclay, but oddly the goal seemed to dampen, rather than fuel it. By half-time near silence had again engulfed Carrow Road. However, see the aforementioned comments about incremental steps, both the crowd and players are on a journey here and need to remain together, it's just a shame no-one is currently clear where the destination is.

Summary

In a division full of mid-table teams, this was 2 mid-table sides mid-tabling. City were better than they have been, but again a lack of ruthlessness at one end, coupled with switching off momentarily at the other cost us them 3 points.

Whether you're pushing the panic button quite yet depends very much on your point of view. The signs of progression are often tempered with other issues creeping in, Farke's game of whack-a-mole isn't over just yet but a clean bill of health in the coming weeks will provide a more insightful insight into just how far we've come, or indeed regressed.


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. Thomas Markham-Uden from Barclay End Norwich was this week's guest. He gives his thoughts on the atmosphere at Carrow Road and what can be done to improve it

Second, 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/merchandise.

This time we've produced garments celebrating our rightful place as the Pride of Anglia. As always, we take no profit from these and put all the revenue back into the site and things we can all enjoy.

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