Norwich City 0 Burton 0 report: Stalemate for Canaries at Carrow Road
PUBLISHED: 23:38 12 September 2017 | UPDATED: 07:55 13 September 2017
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Lacklustre Norwich City failed to break down a resolute Burton in a 0-0 Championship stalemate at Carrow Road on Tuesday night.
City earned a second consecutive clean sheet at home but were unable to find a way through the massed ranks of the visting backline.
Head coach Daniel Farke opted to make just one change from the 1-0 win against Birmingham with Wes Hoolahan replacing James Maddison.
It was clear from the off there was little devil in the detail from the Brewers. Nigel Clough stated after a thumping 5-0 league defeat at Leeds his primary aim was to make life tough for the Canaries. A nominal back three, centred around the towering presence of Ben Turner, swiftly became a defensive five with Burton’s wing backs helping to erect a sturdy roadblock.
The first chance of note came from the visitors. Luke Murphy robbed Hoolahan to clip a ball over the top of Christoph Zimmermann, but the advancing Angus Gunn was enough of a nuisance to distract Joe Mason.
Farke spoke in the build up about the fates and fortunes that have engulfed the big centre back already, as his accelerated development proved one of the few upsides to Timm Klose’s early season absence. You cannot question Zimmermann’s commitment to the cause but he would concede he is far from the finished article. The same applies equally to this Norwich collective under a head coach who will have crammed plenty of knowledge into the opening months of his Carrow Road reign.
Each game so far has thrown up different equations. That is perhaps the enduring challenge and the inherent beauty of the Championship. It may not be for the purists but Burton deserve as much respect as Sunderland or Aston Villa; particularly for such a youthful group. Against Birmingham, City were compact and carried a threat on the counter. This was a fresh test of their ability to manipulate the ball and display a coolness in possession.
Mario Vrancic and Tom Trybull combined superbly to clip a ball into Hoolahan but Nelson Oliveira’s shot was deflected behind. It was composed and confident. The faithful responded as they urged Farke’s side forward. Marco Stiepermann surged into enemy territory only for the move to fizzle out.
Trybull and Alex Tettey then smothered the space around Marvin Sordell as he looked to turn infield. Hoolahan fed Murphy from the sharp turnover but his cross was cut out by Stephen Bywater. There was just a sense of a gathering urgency from the Canaries. Yet underpinned by that measured tone Farke wants from his men in possession. And that perhaps is the contradiction.
Maddison spoke intelligently at the start of the season about how his head coach wants Norwich’s technical players to build the play, to move opponents around, to retain the ball for spells when it may look to the untrained eye precious little pressure is being exerted. All the more so when Championship rivals opt to sit in and contain, to frustrate rather than thrill. You could hear the sporadic murmurs around the stadium as Norwich patiently stuck to the script and the first half continued to meander.
Burton routinely won the physical duels when City responded to the vocal encouragement and looked to hit Oliveira from deep. Lucas Akins rifled a swinging shot past Gunn’s far post just past the half-hour mark after Turner had again towered above the Portuguese striker.
Burton’s discipline without the ball was proving every bit as impressive as the Canaries’ own weekend shift against the Blues. Hoolahan crafted a low cross that would have needed to evade five blue shirts lined in formation along the width of the Burton six yard box.
Bywater’s delaying tactics earned him the slow hand clap from infuriated home fans in the closing stages of an opening period played to Burton’s script. Oliveira typified that mood of frustration when he snatched at a cut back from Hoolahan that sent the ball spiralling into the Lower Barclay.
Burton went close to repeating the early second half goal of their only previous visit when Jamie Allen tamely miscued a close range shot against the legs of Pinto on his own line after Stiepermann was quickly closed down.
Hoolahan ended a prolonged spell of keep ball with a rising strike Bywater tipped over. The Republic of Ireland international then slipped in Murphy for the best home chance by some distance but he slammed a shot against Bywater’s body.
The frustration grew with each passing second half minute. Norwich’s substitutes went through vigorous warm ups but Farke resisted the temptation to twist. Oliveira slammed a shot into the side netting in the 74th minute but it was an isolated threat.
The diving Murphy could only divert Vrancic’s teasing deep cross against the outside of Bywater’s upright. Farke had seen enough. Trybull was replaced by Yanic Wildschut but the lethargy settled again in the closing minutes.
• Norwich City: Gunn, Pinto, Zimmermann, Klose, Stiepermann, Tettey, Trybull (Wildschut 78), Vrancic, Hoolahan (Maddison 84), Murphy, Oliveira (Jerome 84). Subs (not used): McGovern (GK), Husband, Reed, Hanley.
• Bookings: Vrancic (foul on Mason, 62); Jerome (foul on McFadzean, 84); Klose (dissent, 90)
• Burton: Bywater, Brayford, Allen, McFadzean, Warnock (Flanagan 79), Turner, Murphy, Akins, Sordell (Dyer 75), Mason (Varney 65), Buxton. Subs (not used): Ripley (GK), Naylor, Akpan, Sbarra.
• Bookings: Murphy (foul on Vrancic, 54); Buxton (time-wasting, 90)
• Time added on: 1 minute / 4 minutes
• Referee: Andy Davies (Hampshire)
• Attendance: 24,841