Paddy’s Pointers: Five observations from Norwich City’s last-gasp 1-1 Championship draw against Hull City
PUBLISHED: 07:57 15 October 2017 | UPDATED: 07:57 15 October 2017
©Focus Images Limited www.focus-images.co.uk +447814 482222
Our Norwich City correspondent Paddy Davitt delivers his verdict from Carrow Road
1. Never say die, City - Five minutes of added on time had already ticked over at Carrow Road. City had failed to break down an obdurate Hull rearguard who had 10 men for fully 35 minutes. A third goalless shutout at home beckoned. But up stepped Nelson Oliviera with the most impudent back heeled close range finish after Cameron Jerome had created enough of a near post diversion from a long throw. It was a final flourish in the final seconds. The scale of the celebrations underlined this was one that nearly got away. Instead of recriminations, the Canaries can bask in the afterglow of eight games unbeaten. On fine margins, seasons can tilt.
2. Alex the irreplaceable? - No, not Pritchard but City’s combative Norwegian midfielder. Few would have argued Tettey was more important at the start of this campaign, given Pritchard’s superbly consistent spell under Alan Irvine’s patronage. Particularly when Harrison Reed appeared to have consigned the experienced central midfielder to a place on substitutes’ bench. But a recall following the debacle at Millwall and crucially a change in tactical formation that saw Tettey deployed alongside Tom Trybull transformed City’s fortunes. Yes, the likes of fit-again Timm Klose and the rapidly-maturing James Maddison may have earned more of the plaudits of late, but Tettey’s calf injury for the foreseeable already felt like a heavy blow. That was underlined in the manner a streetwise Hull midfield gained the upper hand after a bright start from the Canaries.
3. Marked man Maddison - The young man claimed another laurel prior to the game with a player-of-the-month award for his eye-catching exploits in September. Maddison’s growing popularity has a downside. David Meyler made it his mission to hunt down the young midfielder, who was dumped in a heap just minutes into the contest. Maddison still looked the man most likely, clipping the outside of a post in the first half. Allan McGregor then swatted aside a dig early in the second half before Maddison curled one agonisingly beyond the far post. Like Norwich, this threatened to be an off day. But the Coventry-bred starlet did not deserve to finish on the losing side.
4. One for the future - Fitting perhaps at the end of a week which saw the departure of Darren Huckerby as part of an on-going root and branch review of the club’s academy, that a talented youngster from Dereham, Todd Cantwell, was included on the substitutes’ bench. That may have illustrated the scale of City’s depleted resources but it would still be a source of immense pride to Cantwell, his family and all those in the Canaries’ academy who have played a part in his elevation. Sporting director Stuart Webber is right to underline the fitful nature of the production line in recent seasons must be addressed in more straightened financial times. There need to be plenty more homegrown products like Cantwell in the future.
5. Bring on the derby - Farke’s squad may just prefer a trip to Portman Road, given there enduring frustrations on home soil. There will be no lack of motivation for the first cross-border duel of the campaign next weekend. Plus another shot of collective confidence at the manner of their last-gasp Hull leveller. Town have failed to win any of the last eight duels - a run stretching back to April 2009. The Blues may fancy their chances of ending that wretched run for the first time in many a year. But City’s Hull comeback should be a warning they will get nothing easy in this latest upcoming episode.