Paddy Davitt delivers his Robins’ verdict after Norwich City’s dramatic stoppage time win over Bristol City.

1. Scenes

David Wagner was barracked at Watford. A few days on he is racing down the touchline in a ‘Jose Mourinho’ style burst to celebrate Adam Idah’s 95th minute winner at Bristol City.

Welcome to the madcap world of Norwich City. Little wonder Wagner spoke afterwards about the need to get away from such ‘extremes of emotion’ between triumph and despair.

The Canaries return to Norfolk on the back of three wins in the last four, two of those on the road, and had they not imploded at Watford from an early position of strength that sense of upward mobility would have felt even more intoxicating.

Idah’s predatory instincts snatched the victory after a rather fortunate own goal had levelled it up, following Jason Knight’s first half opener for the Robins.

For long spells this felt like 13th versus 14th as it stood in the Championship standings at kick-off.

Whether it is a turning point for this head coach and this group of players only time will tell. But after another bruising few days on and off the park, wrapped around that headline-grabbing annual meeting, the scale of the celebrations felt like a release.

Tellingly, once the players and staff had stopped applauding the hardy away support and disappeared down the tunnel Wagner held back and was locked in animated conversation with Kenny McLean and Ashley Barnes.

The German declined to disclose what was discussed when probed, but you can be sure it was a special message to his two senior players to ensure this is a corner turned. Not brief respite.

2. Masterstroke?

McLean at centre back and Danny Batth on the bench. With fellow defender Jaden Warner part of the travelling party but not included in the matchday squad. A confusing thread to unpick.

Quite what Batth made of his demotion, after patiently biding his time before being thrust into the action for recent wins over Cardiff and QPR is anyone’s guess.

Shane Duffy was preferred alongside the left-sided McLean. There was a degree of logic to Wagner’s thought-process, viewed in isolation.

Against a Robins’ team not looking to press aggressively from the front perhaps the Scot’s defensive capabilities were less exposed, and the chance to trigger attacks from a space he has dropped into during the Wagner tenure between centre backs carried some merit.

Wagner explained in his post-match media it was less a reflection on ‘super professional’ Batth than the desire to get McLean in an area of his backline to play around and through the Robins.

The head coach also made it clear Warner was fit, available but not part of his plans on this occasion.

It was McLean’s clip into an area over the top of the Bristol defence that allowed Idah to muscle his way into the home penalty box for the heart-stopping finale.

In the context of City current struggles, Wagner’s boldness in his selection policy for this game was either going to be packaged as brave or foolhardy. Both in terms of the starting line up and his use of replacements. Too often it has felt he ended up the wrong side of the line. Not on this occasion.

3. Good old Gunny

One Bristol selection call from Wagner was greeted with universal acclaim. Angus Gunn’s return to frontline duty was both timely and reassuring.

The Scotland number one was back after a muscular injury and straight into the line up for George Long.

Long has had the misfortune to play behind a creaking backline but his extended spell of service also underlined what the Canaries had missed.

Gunn is as good as any in the Championship; a calm, reassuring presence. A previous trip to Ashton Gate, during his first senior spell back in Daniel Farke’s tenure, helped announce his arrival with a breathtaking stop in an away win secured by James Maddison.

That was a young keeper striving to make his way in the game. He returned to Bristol as the undisputed number one for club and country. What a summer in prospect in 2024, after Scotland were drawn in the same Euro2024 group as hosts Germany.

But there is plenty of football to be played before then, and any prospect of City sustaining a Championship revival hinges on players like Gunn.

There was an excellent full-length parry to foil Taylor Gardner-Hickman, a save with his legs at his near post from Tommy Conway and an acrobatic tip over from Rob Dickie’s close range header all before the interval.

His second half shift was more of a watching brief and a test of his organisational and vocal abilities.

Much has been made inside the camp of the injuries as mitigation for the spiral downwards. But with Gunn and Barnes back, and Grant Hanley and Josh Sargent soon to return, that chip can be removed from the table.  

4. Come together

An upbeat note after the fallout in recent days from that annual meeting. Frustration at City’s fitful direction of travel under Wagner this season, and all the sub-plots above him at the football club, bubbled to the surface on numerous occasions at a gathering which, at times, evoked memories of Glenn Roeder’s ill-advised baiting of a shareholder back in the day.

The optics at Carrow Road were terrible, and the fall out predictable from Delia Smith’s comments around the negative drag from the ‘whingers’.

We can leave the percentages for Carol Vorderman. We had enough of that around Stuart Webber’s numerical commitment to the cause previously.

It may have got lost in the headline-grabbing sound bites, but Delia’s admission on the night the relationship with Webber was never the same after that fan confrontation outside the City Stand, as another Premier League adventure turned into a nightmare, was telling.

It has not felt the same for a considerable time. The decline on the pitch, the wasteful recruitment and a sense of drift are all symptoms of a club heading in the wrong direction. It will take much more than three wins in four to address that.

In the addition of the quietly impressive Ben Knapper, and the hard-headed financial pragmatism of Mark Attanasio and his group, there is hope. It was an appeal for hope from one shareholding City supporter that prompted Delia’s stinging reply at Carrow Road.

Attanasio himself remarked on the frustration in the room on Thursday as a signal fans care, and an acknowledgement they do want the same for their football club.

Hope is what will bring supporters on this journey. Hope is what ensures they are invested in what unfolds from here, with a new sporting director and a shifting dynamic in the boardroom.

It is what compelled 1,100 or so to make the pre-dawn trek to Bristol. Supporters have a right to be heard and listened to. Even if the messages are difficult to digest for those shaping the direction of travel.