An excellent day out
PUBLISHED: 13:36 05 April 2008 | UPDATED: 15:30 10 September 2010
It has been a good season for new grounds. I didn't get to Manchester City when City were in the Premiership, Scunthorpe was another new one I had not been to before, and I even persuaded my wife and kids that going to Rochdale would be a good idea, but I did have to bribe them with a visit to Alton Towers on the way back.
It has been a good season for new grounds. I didn't get to Manchester City when City were in the Premiership, Scunthorpe was another new one I had not been to before, and I even persuaded my wife and kids that going to Rochdale would be a good idea, but I did have to bribe them with a visit to Alton Towers on the way back. And now I can add Bristol City to this season's list.
The result aside, and the awful weather, it was an excellent day out, featuring one of the most exiting games I have seen this year. I took my elder daughter Gemma, now nine years old, a battle-hardened away-day veteran, who is now realising that days out like Saturday are what following Norwich is really all about.
Carrow Road, where Gemma has her own seat in familiar surroundings, is the comfort zone of football. At a ground in unfamiliar surroundings, where the home crowd outnumber the away crowd, we have to defend for longer periods, and lack of a local McDonalds are just a few of the things that make away games more difficult, but so much more rewarding when Norwich get something out of the game.
Despite from not winning, I can't praise Norwich enough for Saturday's performance. In the first half, we played controlled sensible football. With the wind against, “keep it low” tactics were required, and it was great to watch both sides make light of the conditions in one of the better halves of football I seen this season.
It took a mistake to break the deadlock. The ball was given away needlessly in midfield and with Norwich not quite organised following the loss of possession Adebola nipped in to score from a tap in after Marshall had saved the header.
Watching the second half, it was difficult to believe that Norwich were at the wrong end of the Championship as they bossed the league leaders. By the time Hucks curled a beauty into the corner with twenty minutes to go, the game should have already been beyond reach and it looked only a matter of time before City would go on to score a second.
But I have to give some praise to Bristol City for the way they played in the last ten minutes. At no stage did they appear to want to settle for a draw, and they looked prepared to risk losing the game in order to win it. Yes - they had a huge slice of luck in getting that free kick which ultimately lead to the winning goal, but they did keep on going and rarely resorted to hoofing it.
Looking away from the foot of the table, and gazing enviously upwards who would I like to see going up into the Premiership? If judged on the best teams I have seen at Carrow Road this year, Bristol City and Wolves deserve promotion. Although I missed this season's game at the Hawthorns, I still recall our game towards the end of last season and how well West Brom played at Carrow Road and I hope that they get what they deserve, and go up. Hull also looked a very good side, and they were the strongest and most organised team I've seen for a while.
Looking at the top of the table from a different point of view who would I not like to play next season? It can only be the two ugly sisters of the Championship, Watford and Stoke, who have hoofed, punted and bullied their way though the season, although my eagerness to bid them au revoir from the Championship is tempered only by the financial rewards they would receive next season if they are promoted.
So hopefully it will be farewell to Bristol City and West Brom, leaving Hull and Wolves to battle it out at Wembley in the play-off final.