Four-goal conclusion just the ticket

PUBLISHED: 10:00 30 September 2009 | UPDATED: 16:34 10 September 2010

Adam Drury is left grounded by JJ Melligan's challenge. Despite his protests, Melligan was sent off, leaving Orient to play with 10 men for the last 40 minutes. Picture: James Bass

Adam Drury is left grounded by JJ Melligan's challenge. Despite his protests, Melligan was sent off, leaving Orient to play with 10 men for the last 40 minutes. Picture: James Bass

David Cuffley

It is just an impression formed from more than four decades of watching football at Carrow Road - but it always seems that fans in what some of us still like to call the River End of the ground get a better deal when it comes to goals scored by Norwich City.

It is just an impression formed from more than four decades of watching football at Carrow Road - but it always seems that fans in what some of us still like to call the River End of the ground get a better deal when it comes to goals scored by Norwich City.

Perhaps it is the fact that City normally kick towards the Wensum in the second half of matches and that, statistically, more goals are scored in football in the second period of 45 minutes when fatigue sets in.

But last night's late goal feast against Leyton Orient was another reminder to those in the Barclay Stand to bring their binoculars if they want a really close-up view of their team in rampant goalscoring form. Or if it's another wonderful score we're talking about, perhaps opera glasses are more appropriate.

Not that City fans in any of the four corners of the stadium will be complaining about their vantage point in this particular scoring spree. Wherever they sat - or stood - they would have seen four of the best finishes one could wish for.

It needed a couple of mishaps for the Londoners in the second half to help trigger the goal rush as first J J Melligan was sent off for jumping into Adam Drury, leaving the visitors down to 10 men, then goalkeeper Jamie Jones, who at times seemed to be playing City on his own, was left a little dazed after a collision with Chris Martin.

But once substitute Martin had produced a clinical piece of finishing from midfielder Korey Smith's pass to give the Canaries a 75th-minute lead, it was a case of everyone trying to join in.

Three minutes later, Grant Holt doubled the Canaries' lead with a cracking finish, controlling Drury's cross on his chest before volleying into the roof of the net.

A third goal in the space of six minutes followed as Michael Spillane cut inside on to his left foot and beat Jones with a superb swerving effort, his first senior goal for the club.

Finally, during the six minutes of stoppage time allowed for Melligan's exit and Jones' bout of treatment, another substitute, 34-year-old Jamie Cureton, beat the offside trap before delivering a cool finish to complete the scoring with his first goal since February.

Victory took Paul Lambert's team up to ninth place in League One and took their goal difference into positive figures, finally wiping out the effects of that 7-1 drubbing by Colchester on the opening day of the season.

There was much, too, to applaud on an individual basis, not least defender Gary Doherty's faultless display after six matches when he didn't even make the bench, and a sound performance from 18-year-old goalkeeper Declan Rudd on his home debut.

Rudd was forced to make his first save in the seventh minute, diving to his left to push away a long-range shot by Luke Summerfield.

At the other end, Doherty had a close-range effort blocked from Darel Russell's pass.

Rudd's one real escape came in the 12th minute when Orient left-back Charlie Daniels struck a venomous left-foot shot from more than 30 yards that hit the crossbar and rebounded to safety, but the 'keeper was never as seriously threatened after that.

City should have gone ahead in the 15th minute when Smith enabled Hoolahan to beat the offside trap but he was unable to get a shot in and instead set up Simon Lappin, whose shot was blocked by Jones.

With Hoolahan pulling the strings, if at times almost too elaborately, the Canaries turned on the style and the overworked Jones made a vital save with his legs from Hoolahan, who had played a neat one-two with Holt.

The sending-off, seven minutes after the break, came when Melligan was shown a straight red card after catching Drury on the thigh with his studs.

But still Orient did not buckle and Jones denied the Canaries again in the 63rd minute when he kept out Grant Holt's far-post header at point-blank range after an excellent cross by Spillane.

The turning point came after 66 minutes when Lambert made his first change, sending on Martin for Paul McVeigh.

Goalkeeper Jones had lengthy treatment two minutes later after colliding with Martin as he bravely cut out a cross by Holt.

Whether the incident hindered Jones in the final stages is unclear but after Martin drilled a low right-foot shot past him from a tight angle for his third goal of the season, the scoring spree that followed may well have left him a touch dizzy. The final scoreline was rough justice on the 'keeper, if not on his overpowered colleagues.

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