A sweet revenge for the admirable Nelson
PUBLISHED: 14:31 31 August 2009 | UPDATED: 16:27 10 September 2010
Michael Nelson made a fairytale return to his old hunting ground on Saturday and insisted - "that's more like it". The centre half was unceremoniously dumped after the opening day 7-1 thrashing by Colchester United at Carrow Road - his first City appearance since his summer move from Hartlepool.
Michael Nelson made a fairytale return to his old hunting ground on Saturday and insisted - "that's more like it".
The centre half was unceremoniously dumped after the opening day 7-1 thrashing by Colchester United at Carrow Road - his first City appearance since his summer move from Hartlepool.
But new boss Paul Lambert pulled off a master-stroke and recalled Nelson for the trip to the north-east - and was rewarded with a spectacular opening goal that set City on their way to their first away win since March.
Nelson was booed at almost every touch, but his excellent scissor-kick on 27 minutes silenced the home fans - and even left a few of City's 832 travelling fans perplexed.
"I've scored a couple of goals, but never an overhead kick," he said.
"I said to some of the lads here that you get one of those a season and I think I get one a career, so I've probably used that one up now.
"I couldn't get there with my head, so I just thought I'll chuck something at it and see what happens and I couldn't have caught it any sweeter really, it just flew in."
Perhaps more important for Nelson was his return to the fold after that opening day nightmare.
"Definitely - I've been itching to get back in since the first day of the season," he said.
"That wasn't me on the first day. I was really disappointed with the way I played and even more disappointed that I hadn't had the chance to put it right, so hopefully the travelling fans who have seen me today - that's more like me, not just the goal because they probably won't see that again, but performance wise, grinding things out.
"That's what I have got to offer."
If a goal is a bonus, then so is a clean sheet.
"We've done a lot of work this week shape-wise, when we haven't got the ball," he said.
"People seeing us going forward don't think we've got a problem, attacking wise, but shape-wise we have done work on and we've settled very well for the game today and I think it showed in a 2-0 victory.
"That's what we came for - we came up to get the three points and we got the clean sheet which is a massive bonus as well.
"There wasn't a lot of football down on the ground, get it down and pass it.
"As soon as we got off the bus I told the lads what it would be like and sure enough it was - it was a blustery, swirly wind and it wasn't ideal for football on the ground and we had to grind it out and I think that's probably better to win that way than to get it down and pass a team off the park because it shows that we have got that bit of steel about us that we can grind results out.
"I think some people maybe thought we had a little bit of a soft underbelly, but anyone who was here today or watched the game will see that we ground a very good result out."
The goal and the win perhaps helped Nelson forget the reaction to his return - which many had not expected before the game kicked off.
"It was a bit mixed early on," he said ruefully.
"Six years service - probably more boos than cheers.
"I played more than 300 games for them in six years and I don't think they've had many players who've done that, so it was very satisfying to get the goal," the big central defender added.