For the last time this season, it's the ACN match review. Dughall McCormick endured a terrible day at Hillsborough, and now you lot are gonna hear about it...
Random star performer
Not much to separate Onel Hernandez and Harrison Reed for the honours amongst a side of no-shows (to be fair to Angus Gunn, despite shipping 5, he also made a few superb saves that spare him the disdain in which I hold most of the rest of them). Hernandez had an industriously productive afternoon, getting himself about, making threatening forays, and he is one of the straws I’m clutching for the future. Reed had another solid game, his terrier-like tenacity and 96 minutes of effort leave me hoping for Southampton’s survival in the top flight so that there may be an extension to his time in yellow and green.
Moment of the match
I’ll deal with the Maddison thing later… The moment of the match was that final blow of referee Robert Jones’ whistle, bringing as it did, not just an end to a painful game of football but the end of a wholly forgettable season. Add to this the pain of the final finishing spot being below ‘that lot’ and Leeds and the post-match feeling of deflation is complete.
Well this pretty much summed up so much of the season didn’t it? The vast majority of the possession (lots of it lateral and supine) and an abject failure to find a decent finish when opportunities did get presented. I’ve been a supporter of the Farke approach, I’ve exercised patience when others have vocally expressed their frustration. I understand the notion of possession football and build up play and we’ve all seen how it can work at times this season. Frankly though, this approach must yield results more consistently if the grumbles aren’t to become something more pervasive and more toxic. I’ll give him until Christmas, but if it doesn’t look significantly better than this I’ll be calling for change. I think Christmas is on the generous side too.
Biggest positive to take
We can all move on now can’t we. We can allow the memories of that dreadful day in the sun in Sheffield to fade away as we look forward to a World Cup to distract us from our domestic woes before the mixed feelings of a transfer window descend upon us. We can start to find the optimism again and build the hope that precedes every season. I wish I could have been writing that ‘at least we finished above the binners’, but we didn’t.
Oliveira - what a spectacularly disappointing season he’s had. His form has just evaporated and the mess he made of a gilt-edged cross from Hernandez, heading over the bar in the 72nd minute, was actually a laugh out loud moment. I’ve now come to expect this from him. He’s got to go; he will feel better, we’ll all feel better. He’s one of those players who invokes a feeling of despair in me when their name appears on the teamsheet.
A beautiful sunny day for the last game of the season brought with it a pre-match joy with ‘On the Ball City’ being roared out towards the Hillsborough pitch amongst the bobbing inflatables. I usually love footballing days out like this. To be fair, despite the dismal outcome, the support was generally tremendous throughout. We are ‘City til we die’, despite what gets served up on the pitch in front of us, and we’re going to tell you about it.
A couple of green pyros were deployed, the second of which led to some pretty heavy stewarding and the ultimate ejection of a number of Norwich fans. Those that left would have been proud to note that one of the stewards was subsequently and unknowingly sporting an ‘Irish Messi’ sticker on his Hi Viz - hilarious!
James Maddison’s departure with what looks a serious injury in the early stages was a metaphor for how our season has limped to a close. This looks serious and may have some worrying consequences in terms of the wider plans for the club moving forward. I wish him well and hope that this will not set back what should be a glittering career.
I have a strong sense of ‘thank god this is all now over for a while’. Project Farke has been frustrating and divisive among the Norwich faithful and this capitulation in the Yorkshire sunshine is the project at its frustrating worse. We’ve given it time, we know it’s a long game, but embarrassments like this are hard to stomach. Webber and co need to get to work and give us something to get excited about or it ain’t gonna be pretty.