Martin (81) Aarons (84)
Canaries 2-1 Sheffield Weds: City stage thrilling late comeback
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
Norwich City staged a thrilling late comeback to beat Sheffield Wednesday 2-1 and return to the top of the Championship in front of 2,000 fans at Carrow Road.
Tony Pulis’ well-drilled side looked to be closing in on victory after Josh Windass headed them in front on the hour mark.
But Josh Martin notched from close range for his first league goal for the club in the 81st minute, after his second half introduction, before Max Aarons lashed home a winner in the 84th minute.
Farke made two changes from the line up that lost 3-1 at Luton Town. Mario Vrancic replaced Alex Tettey to slot in alongside Olly Skipp in central midfield, with Teemu Pukki making a welcome return after his hamstring strain.
Martin made way for the sharp shooter.
Former City loanee Jordan Rhodes was included among the Sheffield Wednesday substitutes.
The Owls threatened inside the opening 20 seconds when Barry Bannan teased a ball to the back post but Dominic Iorfa was unable to reach it on the stretch.
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Back came Norwich with Emi Buendia’s excellent reverse pass inviting Jacob Sorensen forward. The Dane’s angled strike was parried by Joe Wildsmith, before Pukki’s follow up was scrambled away for a corner.
Marco Stiepermann headed Barry Bannan’s inswinging corner off his own line in the ninth minute from Julian Borner’s near post flick. Buoyed by that near miss, Kadeem Harris veered around Max Aarons to drill a low shot pushed around his near post by Michael McGovern.
Buendia was prominent in the opening sparring. Another first time pinpoint pass released Przemyslaw Placheta, but the Owls had numbers back.
Pukki then swivelled onto Aarons’ pass but his curling effort was at Wildsmith.
Buendia and Moses Odubajo careered into a full blooded challenge that left both players on the turf. Placheta clipped his cross over as play continued before both could receive attention.
Odubajo was booked in the aftermath by Australian referee Jarred Gillett but both players were able to re-join the fray.
McGovern had to stay alert to gather Bannan’s half volley in the 27th minute from a long throw routine from the visitors.
City finally injected some pace into the fairly sedate proceedings when Pukki squared it for Sorensen. He in turn shovelled it into the path of Placheta, who was left unattended by the Wednesday backline, but Borner beat Pukki to the cross at his near post.
From the corner, Grant Hanley’s header slithered wide.
Windass burst between Hanley and Ben Gibson, with wide open spaces in front of him, but the assistant flagged for offside as Hanley made a last ditch intervention.
Norwich’s threat continued to come exclusively down their left. Sorensen, Vrancic and Placheta combined to service Stiepermann, who mistimed his attempted half volley under pressure five yards out.
The Owls’ attacking threat remained sporadic but there was another warning in the 39th minute when Joost Van Aken ranged forward and cracked a thunderous shot from long range that had McGovern at full stretch as it flew wide.
Vrancic was then levered off the ball as he glided across the Wednesday box at the other end. But there was no repeat of the Bosnian’s free kick heroics in that key Carrow Road tussle on the previous Championship title run in in 2019. Buendia pulled rank this time but his 22-yard free kick struck the top of the Owls’ wall.
City got a swift chance to test the visitors again seconds later when Stiepermann was clipped. This time the free kick was on the right-hand side of the penalty area, perfect for Vrancic but his left footer brushed the top of the net.
Norwich tried to up the ante immediately after the interval. Buendia darted infield before Aarons clipped a cross Stiepermann headed back into the six yard box, but it was a blue and white striped shirt that reacted the quickest.
Aarons turned on the afterburners in the 52nd minute to leave Adam Reach in his vapour trail but again Wednesday’s centre backs sensed the danger as his cut back arrowed towards Pukki.
Hanley rose to meet Buendia’s re-taken corner but it drifted wide. Wednesday soaked up five minutes of growing pressure and possession from the hosts before springing a counter that ended with Odubajo’s swinging 20 yarder flying over McGovern’s bar.
City failed to heed the warning. Harris drove infield after swerving past Placheta. Bannan switched the ball to Reach who curled an inviting deep cross for Windass to power a header past McGovern from close range with Gibson on his heels.
Pukki tumbled on the edge of the area after Tom Lees went to clear the ball and caught the Finn on his follow through. Buendia’s free kick was headed away by the visitors.
Pulis led the appeals for a Wednesday penalty in the 69th minute after Hanley hooked the ball away from Harris, who had got the wrong side of the City captain. Referee Gillett did not share Pulis’ opinion.
There was another vocal appeal from Pulis a minute later when Vrancic cut out a low cross but Harris tumbled over his challenge just inside the Norwich area.
It was the same, outcome to the obvious disgust of the experienced manager. Borner earned a booking for his follow up protest.
Norwich appeared incapable of rousing themselves into a concerted response. The visitors looked more likely to add to their lead entering the final quarter. Joey Pelupessy fired a low first time shot at McGovern from another counter.
That sense of desperation was encapsulated by Vrancic when his ambitious long range effort flew high into the empty terracing in the 77th minute.
Farke had seen enough and introduced Martin for Stiepermann. It was to prove an inspired call. Within two minutes Martin had levelled when he poked Vrancic’s exquisite threaded ball past Wildsmith from close range.
Remarkably, it got even better for those home fans three minutes later when Aarons exchanged passes with Vrancic, who backheeled the ball into the full back’s path, to drill an angled strike home from the angle of the six yard box.
Callum Paterson’s diving header flew inches wide with McGovern at full stretch in the stoppage time.
Tyrese Omotoye replaced Vrancic for his home debut. Pukki’s goalbound shot was deflected wide following Martin’s fine retrieval work before Buendia’s low effort swerved wide.
But City did not need the extra insurance. The final whistle sparked huge cheers from the lucky fans who witnessed the comeback, before Farke strode onto the pitch to indulge the supporters in his now customary post-match celebration.
• Norwich City (4-2-3-1): McGovern, Aarons, Hanley (C), Gibson, Sorensen, Skipp, Vrancic (Omotoye 90), Buendia, Stiepermann (Martin, 79), Pukki, Placheta (Tettey 89). Subs: Barden, Zimmermann, McAlear, Omobamidele, Dickson-Peters.
• Booking: Skipp (foul on Odubajo, 78)
• Goals: Martin (81), Aarons (84)
• Sheffield Wednesday (3-5-2): Wildsmith, Van Aken, Paterson, Harris (Brown 88), Bannan (C), Reach, Borner, Lees, Windass (Palmer 66), Odubajo (Kachunga 88), Iorfa (Pelupessy, 53). Subs: Dawson, Penny, Dele-Bashiru, Rhodes, Hunt.
• Bookings: Odubajo (foul on Buendia, 21); Borner (dissent, 70)
• Goal: Windass (60)
• Added on time: 1 minute / 5 minutes
• Referee: Jarred Gillett
• Attendance: 2,000