A good spanking, a thrashing, pain, and humiliation, followed by redemption, pleasure and unbridled joy
Yes. This is the Capital Canaries section of the Pink Un website. And no you have not stumbled onto the website of “Bondage Monthly”, “Whipper’s Weekly”, nor some fundamentalist Christian website by mistake (or even by design).
But the headline is appropriate. Let us be honest. The Canaries were on the receiving end of a good spanking at the Etihad Stadium a week ago. I was not there myself, but I watched every minute of the game live on a big screen in a small bar in Sri Lanka. OK they defended valiantly at the beginning and put everybody bar Morison behind the ball.
For 32 glorious minutes they held out, until Sergio Aguero, their �40 million summer signing from Athletico Madrid, son-in-law of Argentine legend Diego Prima Donna, scored their first. It was 2-0 after 51 minutes when �25 million former gooner Samir Nasri added a second goal. City keeper John Ruddy appeared to be unsighted. He made no attempt to save the shot. And he had no chance when �24 million Yaya Toure curled in the third goal after 68 minutes.
The travelling Canaries were given cause to celebrate after 81 minutes when Morison pulled back a goal, heading in his fifth goal of the season from Fox’s cross. Unfortunately Man City substitute (a snip at 23 million euros) Mario Balotelli scored Man City’s fourth goal with his right shoulder with only two minutes remaining, and as the Canaries’ confidence dwindled to nothing, and tired legs became leaden, another sub, Adam Johnson (fee undisclosed) this time, scored the fifth in stoppage time.
So City were well and truly spanked for the first time this season. And yes it was painful, for the Norwich fans, players, and management. But holding the Mancunian mega multi millionaires, with their unlimited budget and indifference to a �200 million working loss, to 3-1 away from home, with eight minutes remaining, is not in any way a humiliation. And mark my words (Man) City are good. Remember they won 6-1 at Old Trafford and have only dropped four Premier League points all season.
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In my humble opinion David Silva is the best player in the Premier League at the moment. They have such a strong squad that they can put no less a player than Carlos Tevez out to grass and not notice. So the �200 million team beat the �10 million team. Surprise, surprise, surprise.
But well played Norwich, despite our heaviest loss since a certain P Lambert and his team thrashed us 7-1 at home in August 2009. Defeat yes, pain yes, but humiliation no, no, and no. Say it out loud, I’m still Norwich and I’m still proud.
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By contrast with the pre-match atmosphere last week, the atmosphere at Carrow Road on Saturday lunchtime was eagerly optimistic. Everyone knew that the Magpies had injury problems at centre back. Everyone sensed that this was a game we could win. And the word on the street was that City would try to exploit this by attacking them from the outset. Ultra caution and ten men behind the ball would be replaced by an attacking line up. And so it proved. As we perused the team sheets at our table in the Gunn Club, fortified by the excellent Argentinian red wine recommended by our excellent sommelier Graham, our spirits were lifted by the news that the Canaries would start with Holty and Morison up front supported by Wes. Our own weakness at centre back would be addressed by the return of Zak Whitbread. Yes! Another glass of red wine all round please.
And our team did not disappoint us. It was clear that our management and players shared the fans’ view that was a winnable game. A new record all seated crowd of 26,816 packed into the ground. City had the better of the early exchanges, and might have had a penalty when Santon appeared to use his arm to stop Naughton’s cross. But justice was done in the 39th minute. The Canaries took the lead when Newcastle keeper Krul was adjudged to have carried the ball over the line. Surman’s corner was met by Crofts’ header which was blocked on the goal line but the ball seemed to rebound off Hoolahan’s shin into the goal.
City fans sat back to contemplate a first half clean sheet and a cup of Bovril, forgetting that our team doesn’t do clean sheets. In the one minute of added time Cabaye chipped the ball over the Norwich back line. And no offside flag was forthcoming as Ba reacted first and scored.
Early in the second half Hoolahan joined Crofts and Fox in the referee’s book by blocking a quickly taken Newcastle free kick. Soon afterwards Gosling was booked for a foul on Wes. City appealed for another apparent hand ball by Santon. Fox took the resultant corner short, played a one-two with Wes, and crossed into the box, Holt’s header was blocked on the line, and his follow up header went in via the underside of the bar. Four minutes later City were 3-1 up. Crofts intercepted Cabaye’s weak pass and from his cross Morison powered in a header. Two minutes later, in the sixty fifth minute, Newcastle were down to ten men. Gosling was shown a straight red for a late challenge which left Russell Martin needing treatment.
Once more City fans relaxed and anticipated toasting a City victory with their post match pint. And once more the Norwich defence reminded us that you should never count your chickens before the final whistle sounds. On this occasion it was a mistake by Whitbread, who was caught dawdling in possession, was robbed by one time rumoured Norwich target Ameobi, and from his pass Ba beat Ruddy. After 77 minutes Johnson replaced Surman and after five minutes his free kick was nodded home by Holt to restore City’s two goal advantage. Jackson replaced Hoolahan, but 4-2 it remained.
City and their fans celebrated. The ghosts of the Etihad Stadium had been well and truly exorcised. And both Holt and Morison have now scored more goals this season than either F. Torres or C. Wickham. The January sales are fast approaching. �50 million anyone?