Dughall McCormick was one of the 547 who pitched up at the Stadium of Light/Gloom and saw City squander a host of chances, go behind and then snatch a draw at the death. Here's his review of a foggy night on the Wear.
Random star performer
In a game in which no player particularly stood out for any positive reason, it’s probably only fitting that skipper, Ivo Pinto should receive Man of the Match honours for his calmly-struck, eleventh-hour equaliser. Over the course of the 90 Ivo once again demonstrated commitment and leadership, defended well and is at least showing some consistency that seems to be in such short supply for his team mates and the side as a whole.
Moment of the match
Which of the many misses to go for? Norwich enjoyed the majority of these and some were of barn-door proportions.
However, despite the misses (none of which felt pivotal), there was a moment in the first half that sticks in my memory: Ejaria (I think it was Ejaria- it was foggy) was through one on one with Angus Gunn. City's shot-stopper closed to near the edge of his box, squatted, widened and then appeared to magically grow to twice his size leaving the Sunderland forward no option but to flounder it into the keeper’s embrace.
The mirage I experienced is a metaphor for Gunn’s confidence and assuredness for much of this season.
He will be missed should he inevitably move on in the summer and I was surprised to hear the bloke in front of me advocate that he “F’ off back to Man City”. Gunn, along with Harrison Reed would be a loanee I’d be reluctant to return to sender.
There were a couple of changes to the team that beat Villa and a start for Wes Hoolahan (making it 350 appearances in the yellow and green for the Irishman).
Norwich enjoyed the best of the first half and it is refreshing to see chances created. Having said that, as mentioned earlier, too many chances failed to bear fruit with frustratingly hapless finishing from a number of culprits including all our forwards.
Half time brought two changes with Lewis and Klose coming on for Husband and Hoolahan respectively the rationale for which was I think explained as closing up a game that was a little too open for the manager. I’m not sure how effective this was and it could be argued that it had a potentially unsettling effect with The Mackems enjoying the best of the opening to the second half.
Biggest positive to take
It is something of a sad indictment when the biggest positive is an away point and the avoidance of a double beating to a side with such a dismal record this season. Let’s move on.
We really need some quality finishing.
Had the sitters been hit this would have been a comfortable outing with all 3 points coming home. A failure to convert gilt-edged chances has been the preserve of Nelson Oliveira for most of the season, but when this malaise spreads to Murphy and Maddison (and others), we are left despairing. A reliable, prolific striker top of the summer shopping list please Mr Webber.
547 stalwarts made the trip to the North-East and were in good song, particularly for the first half.
The second half, with its goal for Sunderland, led to more muted response from the NCFC faithful. The Stadium of Gloom (as I say, it was foggy) offered little in the way of home support with its sad swathes of vacant seating.
There were also a few ‘church-hall’ moments in the second half when you could hear the players calling to each other to the background murmur of conversation in the stands. Disappointing.
Ultimately a frustrating affair.
Too much sloppiness in build up play with passes going astray or too long, possession being surrendered too easily and chances not being taken.
The ‘project’ continues but performances like this inevitably try the patience of even the happiest of clappers.
While you're here. Two things; first, did you know we have a podcast? It's available via iTunes and Soundcloud. Alternatively you can just listen to it in your browser via our podcast page. The Canaries Trust Vice Chair Mandie Thorpe was our recent guest as we debated the latest talking points regarding NCFC.
Second, we'd love for you to vote for us in the Football Blogging Awards, under the categories of Best New Blog and Best Podcast, link here if you'd be so kind.
And if you don't vote for us, vote for one of our friends. We're sure the lovely people at MFW, LYBP or TNC would appreciate it too.