Paddy's Pointers: Five observations from the Canaries' 2-1 win over Sheffield Weds
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
Group Football Editor Paddy Davitt delivers his Sheffield Wednesday verdict after Norwich City's Championship win at Carrow Road.
1. Oh dear Tony
Norwich looked to be trapped in the Tony Pulis pincer. A solid defensive effort out of possession, a very decent threat on the counter and in Barry Bannan a quality operator to knit everything together for Sheffield Wednesday.
There was a crushing inevitability to the Owls’ opener after City had probed and prodded for an hour without really moving through the gears. Or being allowed to. Josh Windass got in front of Ben Gibson to head home Adam Reach’s superb cross. Then Pulis reinforced his ramparts and challenged Norwich to find a way through.
It looked beyond them until Josh Martin pounced for his first league goal and Max Aarons slotted an assured winner in a devastating three minute burst to delight those 2,000 fans in attendance.
This, after what the Owls felt were two penalty claims turned down to put the game out of City’s grasp.
Pulis spun around at the front of his technical area after Martin’s equaliser with an anguished look on his face. He probably knew how this was going to end. He had got most things right to that point. But when it mattered, Norwich found a way.
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2. Va va Vrancic
This game was heading south. Pulis poured even more defensive resources on and constructed a barrier that practically ran from one touchline to the other to protect the lead earned by Windass.
It really looked like Norwich had run out of ideas, steam and inspiration. But when Mario Vrancic is on the pitch it is wise not to pen the obituary too soon.
What it is about Sheffield Wednesday at Carrow Road that stokes a fire under the Bosnian, after his dramatic free kick intervention on the Owls’ last visit in that title-winning surge two seasons ago.
Here, no entry on the scoresheet but without his magic feet no win either. The threaded pass for Martin was sublime.
Then the intelligence to offer himself for Aarons to play a one two and the composure to back heel the ball perfectly into the full back’s path to concentrate simply on the right connection to slide it past Joe Wildsmith.
Daniel Farke played down his later exit as a bout of cramp. His work was over. His case proven for any who still doubt in the right setting he can decide games in Norwich’s favour at this level.
3. Jumping Josh
The beaming smile that lit up Martin’s face as he wheeled away following his first senior league goal for the club will be a memory he cherishes for however long and however high his career soars from here.
It was some impact from the bench. Barely two minutes had elapsed from the point Farke withdrew Marco Stiepermann to his trigger move and calm finish past the advancing Wildsmith, after Vrancic had spotted his run.
That will do the young man a world of good for his confidence and self belief. The teenager has perhaps been exposed to a greater degree than is good for him at present due to the injury issues in attacking areas.
There was a touch of weariness about his display at Luton. In that, Martin was not alone. But you can imagine he will be desperate for more minutes now against Nottingham Forest in the coming days.
There is a player there No doubt. Now it is for Farke to ease him into frontline action and let him go.
4. The first step
There was a lovely touch prior to this game, which was more than a game given the presence of 2,000 home fans for the first time since September’s pilot against Preston.
Prior to kick-off the club’s majority shareholders, Delia Smith and Michael Wynn Jones, strode from the tunnel onto the Carrow Road playing surface and headed to that socially distanced set of fans situated in the South Stand.
It became apparent there was a presentation planned to mark Stiepermann’s recent 100th appearance for the club. But it also afforded the opportunity for owners and fans to come together in a rousing rendition of the Canaries’ anthem.
It underlined what this game is all about, who it is for, and why it matters so much. Farke summed it up best on Friday when he hoped it was the first step towards a return to normality. At least in a footballing sense.
The world has changed forever but Norwich City is still a constant for those who were here in person and the many thousands here in spirit.
You only had to witness the scenes at the final whistle when Farke responded to the demands to conduct his orchestra again. Albeit just the wind section for now perhaps.
5. A new front for Jacob
Jacob Sorensen has now played left back for Norwich in the past nine games. That is taking emergency action to a whole different level after he was rushed into action between the warm up and kick off at Brentford.
Sorensen is a central midfielder by trade.
Although speak to the Dane and he will also confirm he has played centre back for his country at under-21 level. With Xavi Quintilla injured it has been needs must for his new club.
It is to his credit, Sorensen has produced a more than passable impression. Even if there have been inevitable signs of defensive discomfort in that unfamiliar position. But here, in the first half particularly, he offered a new dimension with a number of adventurous forays deep into enemy territory.
Whether that was a vulnerability Farke spotted in the Owls’ set up before the game or a signal Sorensen is becoming more attuned to the demands of the role only time will tell.
He will certainly get more opportunities between now and January’s transfer window. When City will surely look to address the thinness in that position.
But this was a pleasing development in the manner he offered himself as an attacking outlet and the way he combined with Przemyslaw Placheta.