Norwich and Southampton have a strange relationship, both are similar sized clubs often mirroring each other's fortunes. Dave 'Spud' Thornhill takes a look at their previous encounters...
Norwich and Southampton’s story begins with the club’s first encounter back on 9 September 1905 at Newmarket Road. Over 7,000 fans packed in and saw Fred Wilkinson score City’s first ever goal in the Southern League, helping earn a 1-1 draw.
Since then Norwich and Southampton have met 125 times, including some absolute belters. Southampton edge the head-to-head with 48 wins compared to our 40.
Both clubs entered the Football League in 1920 when they entered Division Three South together, first meeting in the league that season, this time at The Nest. The increasing popularity of football saw a crowd of 15,000 witness the Saints win 1-0.
Pretty soon both clubs had won promotion from the Third Division and Southampton’s Dell would be City’s first away win at that level. Convincing it was too as the Canaries ran out 4-1 winners.
As similar sized clubs, the pair’s fortunes often mimicked one another, as they did recently as Saints repeated City’s trick of back-to-back promotions from League One to the Promised Land TM.
Following both being relegated back to Division Three, the clubs would win promotion together in 1960. City’s biggest ever win over the Saints would come the next season, when back in Division Two, we thumped them 5-0 on the last day of the season to clinch their then highest league finish of 4th.
6 years later, Southampton celebrated England’s World Cup win with promotion to the top flight. Another 6 years passed before City joined them in 1972. A 0-0 draw between the clubs that season was our first top-flight clean sheet.
Rebuilt after being gutted by a fire, Norwich opened the new City Stand in an extraordinary game against Southampton, which also saw Matt Le Tissier make his Southampton debut. 2-0 down at half time, City came back to win 4-3 with a late Steve Bruce winner. After the final whistle Southampton's Mark Dennis didn't take too kindly to Ian Crook’s, let’s say exuberant celebrations, reacting in a civilised way to this annoyance by punching him. He was duly sent off.
In April 1989 just four days after the Hillsborough disaster Norwich and Southampton played out a 0-0 draw, the first top flight game since the disaster. 5 months later Norwich and Southampton spent all the goals they had saved up from that game in an eight goal thriller which will be remembered for Robert Rosario's outstanding goal which won ITV's goal of the season.
March 1992 saw the most famous FA Cup quarter final tie between the two sides. A late Chris Sutton winner gave Norwich a 2-1 win after extra time but only once the Saints had been reduced to 9 men. Talisman Robert Fleck was injured in the tie and faced hours in an oxygen tent in a bid to be fit for the semi final. Later that same year, apparently forgetting all the drama of 6 months previously Norwich recorded their lowest ever top-flight attendance at Carrow Road in a game against the Saints as only 12,452 watched us win 1-0.
In April 1994, Southampton beat Norwich 5-4 with Matt Le Tissier doing his best to inspire a young Luis Suarez with his second hat trick against us. This was the first Premier League game to feature nine goals in one game.
Back in the Premier League in 2004/2005 it took Norwich until their 14th game of the season before they got their first win of the season, beating Southampton 2-1. Damian Francis got both goals, but that’s no reason to forgive him for his antics in May 2005 is it?
Continuing the theme of relegation, both clubs would then exit the Championship together in 2009 and faced third tier football for the first time since 1960. Back-to-back promotions would follow for both, but while City have continued to yo-yo drama, Southampton have put down top-flight roots and return as a mini Goliath on Saturday.