Maddison left on crutches as Canaries are thrashed 5-1 on nightmare final day at Sheffield Wednesday
PUBLISHED: 20:23 06 May 2018 | UPDATED: 15:30 08 October 2018
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Norwich City’s hopes of finishing their Championship season on a high melted in the final-day sun as they imploded at Hillsbrorough to suffer a 5-1 drubbing at the hands of Sheffield Wednesday – with James Maddison finishing the game on crutches.
The Canaries were demolished before Timm Klose provided some late respite, only for a late Atdhe Nuhiu penalty to complete the rout and his hat-trick.
With Ipswich drawing 2-2 at home with Middlesbrough and Leeds winning 2-0 at home against QPR it saw Daniel Farke’s team drop two places to 14th in the final standings.
The first half couldn’t have gone much worse for the blunt Canaries, suffering a significant injury and conceding two goals following bad defending.
Fernando Forestieri had already scuffed a shot wide in the fifth minute after Wednesday had cut through City like a hot knife through butter, before Maddison limped off in the 11th minute.
The Canaries’ player-of-the-season winner had treatment on his left leg before being replaced by Ivo Pinto, in what could prove to be his final appearance with big clubs circling for a summer move, following 15 goals and 11 assists this season.
Fresh worry was sparked at full-time though, when the playmaker went over to thank the travelling fans on crutches and with a brace on his left leg.
Moritz Leitner moved forward as Harrison Reed pushed into midfield and soon after Josh Murphy saw a shot deflect wide.
The Owls took the lead in the 14th minute after Lucas Joao easily turned Jamal Lewis on halfway and Adam Reach crossed from the left to allow Nuhiu to climb highest and nod a header back across goal over Angus Gunn.
There was plenty of tidy build-up play from the visitors but with little end product, with Murphy guilty of a couple of wild efforts but also denied by a fine Ash Baker tackle as he tried to shoot in the box.
Wednesday’s lead was doubled in the 30th minute after a horror moment for Christoph Zimmermann, getting a back-pass totally wrong to allow Forestieri clean through on goal, with the Argentinian comfortably slotting past Gunn.
Nelson Oliveira curled City’s best chance of the half just wide eight minutes later, his left-footed effort dropping beyond the far post from the edge of the box.
The hosts were so comfortable that they were able to bring long-serving skipper Glenn Loovens off in the 43rd minute, to get a standing ovation on his final appearance, as Hillsborough bathed in the May sunshine with their team closing on a sixth win in nine games.
Nuhiu could easily have been shown a second yellow on the brink of half-time, after a late tackle on Klose, following an earlier poor challenge on Zimmermann, but referee Robert Jones settled for a final warning.
Oliveira had a golden chance to pull a goal back just three minutes into the second half but made a complete mess of a free header six yards out, with the ball hitting the top of his head and spiralling up.
The striker combined well with Leitner soon after to allow Tom Trybull to register a first shot on target for City, although his tame 25-yard effort was comfortably held by Cameron Dawson.
Shooting towards the travelling fans in the second half, it initially looked like Norwich had come out refreshed, before a total implosion, conceding two further goals in three minutes.
Klose was booked for bringing down Lucas Joao on the edge of the box and Gunn made a fine diving save from Forestieri’s free-kick.
Soon after the resulting corner Reach crossed from the left and defender Frederico Venancio guided a well-controlled volley past Gunn from close range in the 57th minute.
City were shell-shocked and conceded again on the hour, with Gunn and Zimmermann taking each other out trying to clear a Baker cross from the right, leaving Nuhiu the simple task of walking the ball into the back of the net.
Both of City’s players were okay to continue but the damage was done, with Oliveira firing wide and heading over an Onel Hernandez cross as his campaign finished with just one goal in his last 22 games, with eight in total.
The former Benfica man oddly controlled a Leitner cross in the box instead of shooting in the 75th minute, shortly before being replaced by Dennis Srbeny.
Leitner had headed agonisingly wide from a Pinto cross just after that chance and Murphy lifted a shot onto the roof of the net from long range with 10 minutes remaining.
Klose did provide some relief for the away fans in the 83rd minute, being threaded through on goal by Leitner and finishing nicely into the roof of the net from close range, notching his second of the season.
Barry Bannan made a fine tackle to stop a rampaging Lewis in the 86th minute, before Gunn superbly denied Forestieri one-on-one and then a Nuhiu header soon after.
It was too little, too late though, as Farke’s team went an eighth away game without a win and finished a disappointing season on a real low note.
Hernandez went clean through in injury-time but opted to pass to Leitner rather than shoot, with Wednesday breaking and Lewis bringing down Forestier to concede a late penalty.
Nuhiu stepped up and drilled his spot-kick into the bottom-right corner to complete his hat-trick, start the Hillsborough end-of-season party and complete the most miserable of days for City.
The heavy defeat continued a poor winless run at Hillsborough for the Canaries, conceding 23 in their last eight games at the stadium, six of which have been defeats – stretching back to a 5-0 win in December 2001.
The summer break has now begun, with the fixtures for next season to be released on Thursday, June 21, ahead of the next Championship campaign beginning on Saturday, August 4.
Norwich: Gunn; Reed, Zimmermann (Raggett 81), Klose (C), Lewis; Leitner, Trybull; Hernandez, Maddison (Pinto 11), Murphy; Oliveira (Srbeny 76). Unused subs: McGovern (GK), Husband, Stiepermann, Watkins
Booked: Klose (foul on Joao, 57)
Goals: Klose (83)
Wednesday: Dawson; Verancio, Loovens (C – Thorniley 43), Pudil; Reach (Matias 78), Pelupessy, Bannan, Baker (Palmer 84); Forestieri, Nuhiu, Joao. Unused subs: Wildsmith (GK), Lees, Nielsen, Rhodes
Booked: Nuhiu (foul on Zimmermann, 28)
Goals: Nuhiu (14, 60, pen 90+3), Forestieri (30), Venancio (57)
Referee: Robert Jones