A game of two halves with a touch of Crofts
I was really looking forward to going up to Sheffield, not just to see an on-form Norwich City away from Carrow Road but also to go with mates who hardly get the chance to sit next to each other at matches.
We were all travelling from different parts of the country to get to Bramall Lane.
Buoyant from the last gasp draw against Cardiff, I felt confident about doing the double against what has been a poor Sheffield United; a team without a victory in over a month.
Travelling on the train up, in my view there was no question that we were going to win but which Norwich side would turn up? The side that took Reading to pieces in the first half at the Madejski or the side that didn’t show up against Crystal Palace.
This weekend we definitely got a game of two halves. We arrived at the ground after a few beers with my mates just before kick off. Watching the first half drove us mad - we couldn’t get out of second gear and made Sheffield United look good but with the few chances we had it looked promising and Norwich gradually built momentum towards the end of the first half.
Just before half-time Norwich were awarded a free kick just outside the box on the left for a foul on Chris Martin. Martin himself took the free kick but hit it just too cleanly and it struck the crossbar near the top corner. But after the previous 40 minutes I’d seen, that made me feel we could change it around at half-time.
This half-time was probably one of the best half-times I’ve experienced as a Norwich fan. We somehow kicked off some songs and created an atmosphere with “I want to go home” (known to those who clock up the miles supporting the Yellow and Green) and “On the ball City.”
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As a laugh the group of mates I was with Tom, Pete, Ken and I decided to get some old Norwich songs out such as “We Love you Paul McVeigh” and surprisingly got fans around us singing it not making us feel like fools after all!
The atmosphere in the bar at the Bramall Lane end at half-time was unreal and truly made me feel extremely proud to be a Norwich fan on the road with all the singing and joking. You wish that it happened more often. As soon as we knew it - back out for the second half!
Now after what must have been the complete opposite to the first half Norwich went out all guns blazing and really went for it. One thing that I really noticed in the second half was Andrew Crofts. In the first half he wasn’t showing the form that has made him Norwich’s best midfielder of the season so far but in the second half from being below par was the best player on the pitch, never giving up on the ball and being more aggressive and making United’s defence and midfield make errors and not give them time on the ball.
I felt our passing was much better and Holt and Jackson were seeing much more of the ball which led to more corners and opportunities.
The first goal was a good corner in from Fox which the keeper tried to collect but spilled. The ball fell to Crofts on a plate and put into the back of the net. The uproar in celebration was epic with over 2,200 Canary fans behind the goal. It was to great relief that we scored away from home again but most importantly took the lead.
After feeling buoyant from taking the lead Norwich conceded a goal from ex-loanee Ched Evans which I thought we could have prevented but, again, our never-say-die attitude got the win that all of us wanted. In the 80th minute another corner taken by Fox was half cleared by one of their defenders. Lappin had a shot which was blocked and the ball fell to Crofts who made no mistake and volleyed it high into the left side of the net to make it 2-1.
After a nervous 15 minutes trying to hang, on the final whistle blew to put us into third with the best away record in the division. We also have a game in hand over Swansea and only behind on goal difference on Cardiff.
After the game we all had some time before we had to get back on our separate journeys around the country but managed to down a match-winning beer to round the day off. Then to endure three hours to get back to South East London but this Capital Canaries trip was one of my favourites overall and not just this season.
Now bring on Palace on Saturday! On the ball City!