Swansea City 2, Norwich City 3: Early start is worth it as Norwich City banish Liberty blues
16:03 16 February 2012
Having gone to the Liberty Stadium in April, 2011 for Norwich’s last visit to South Wales and witnessing a 3-0 beating I had vowed to never set foot in the stadium again.
So, when one of my fellow Norwich City-supporting friends got in contact with me to ask if I wanted to go there again I had to think long and hard about it.
Eventually I changed my mind. the Messiah, Paul Lambert, wouldn’t let us get thrashed there again, would he?
The journey started like a normal away day – a ridiculously early start (4.30am in case you were wondering) meant that I was at Carrow Road at 6am, a full hour before departure. A freezing cold temperature of -14 degrees didn’t really help matters, but before we knew it we had left Norwich and we were on our way. The first leg of the journey went pretty quickly really and we were on the M25 by about 10am.
Our first – and only, it has to be said – travel issue came after going over the Severn Bridge and crossing the English/Welsh border. News soon filtered through of a ‘major incident’ further up the M4 so we had to look for an alternative route. After pulling into a tiny service station it appeared that the plan venturing forward was to ... well, just follow the other coaches without a sense of direction. We ended up going down the completely wrong route down a path leading us to an electricity power station, a dead end. Fortunately for us a Welsh driver decided to just abandon her car in the middle of the road to come over and tell the driver where he should have been going.
We eventually said goodbye to the M4, taking the slip road into Swansea at about 1.15pm.
The memories soon came flooding back from the previous April as the Stadium came into sight, but everybody was in good spirits as the coach soon emptied.
Whilst walking around the ground, we encountered a little old man who shouted in the broadest of Welsh accents, ‘you’ve come a long way to get thrashed here, boys’. I gave him banter back and walked into the ground.
The game started and, as I’ve seen at the likes of Old Trafford this season, Norwich started at a high tempo and should have scored at least once in the first half. It wasn’t to be and Swansea scored, completely against the run of play, with Danny Graham firing into John Ruddy’s far corner after a neat little Nathan Dyer pass.
It was no surprise to the travelling Yellow Army when we scored in the early stages of the second half. Elliot Ward did really well to keep in a wayward Russell Martin shot – I think it was a shot – hooking it back into the mix with Grant Holt there to head it over the goalkeeper. We were more than back in the game when an Elliott Bennett pass found Anthony Pilkington, who slotted home. Cue chants of, ‘We’re Norwich City, we’ll score when we want’ ringing out from the away end.
Personally, I thought the three points were in the bag when Holt beat Michel Vorm at his near post to put us two goals clear, but things are never straightforward and the Swans scored from the spot to reduce the deficit.
Thankfully we held on for a massive three points.
The journey back flew by and we were back at Carrow Road by 11pm. All in all a brilliant day and I’m looking forward to Stoke away already.
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