The ACN Match Review – Sunderland (h)


This win may have been giftwrapped with old newspaper and string, but we’ll take it. Let’s drape Paul Buller over a radiator to dry off while he tells us how it all went.

The line-up

In a parallel universe, Norwich played this game on a dry spring afternoon and enjoyed the drive and presence of Duffy, the unpredictability of Onel, Núñez’s game management, Jonny Rowe’s brilliance, and won 4-0 with ease. In this universe, however, Wagner picked his strongest available team to play in torrential rain and make jolly hard work of everything. That we hoped for some inspiration off the bench very early on said a lot, but the subs indeed came early and they helped us over the line. I’m not sure this squad can endure any more injuries, mind.

The atmosphere

If a drum beats and no-one responds, is the drum actually beating? Does a drum need a team to play well to make a sound? Does the crowd need the drum more than the drum needs the crowd? Existential queries to intangible situations that all occurred during a baffling 90 minutes of football that choked and spluttered its way to a conclusion as we watched through a drizzly, cold lens. 

Hurrah moment

Josh Sargent dug us out of a wet, muddy, goal-less black hole. We salute him. 

Boooo moment

It appears some gave Kenny McLean some bad vibes and he gave them some back. Yes we were ponderous at times but it would be nice to get through a game without someone having a pop.

Hero of the match

This absolutely has to go to those brave souls who took part in the half-time Community Sports Foundation parade, not just because they got completely soaked in a biblical downpour but because they represent a level of inclusion that is rarely found in other areas of life. 

Our post-match takeaway

There will be a lot of moans about this performance but the twin elements of terrible weather and vociferous Sunderland defending combined to make this a scrappy, bitty affair where nothing quite came off and one that was only ever going to be won by an eggy goal.

Thankfully Josh was there to slam something home, because for large parts of this game it looked like we’d be rueing all those injuries as that play-off place looked to be slipping away. And goodness knows we love a rue. But we got the win, we didn’t concede and we end up a point off sixth. We’re also on a remarkably good run of form so it’s probably time to stop talking about those bad results in the autumn. 


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