Chris Goreham: Can the Canaries’ juggernaut get rolling towards Premier League survival?
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
Norwich City’s fine victory over Leicester City on Friday night felt like the ultimate morale boosting win until Watford redefined the term less than 24 hours later.
The reality of what it's like to be involved in a proper relegation battle must have dawned on Canaries fans over the weekend.
Those supporters have been through a lot over the years but it's difficult to remember City ever pulling off a true 'Great Escape' from relegation.
In recent years Norwich City falling into the bottom three of the Premier League has inevitably led to them going down.
When the final whistle blew on Friday night it suddenly seemed on. Having slipped to seven points from safety even the most optimistic Carrow Road regular must have been preparing for a return to the Championship but with three hugely satisfying points in the bag there was finally a reason to take a keen interest in how all of the other teams at the bottom of the table would get on.
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Watford ending Liverpool's valiant attempt at being invincible for an entire Premier League season coupled with West Ham beating Southampton meant that Norwich City's win over Leicester ended up being less about improving their position in the survival scrap than just ensuring the mountain that still needs climbing didn't get any higher.
The temptation for puns about sinking ships was almost too great after a very soggy walk to the ground on what was a filthy Friday night.
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Seeing Norfolk Police's rescue boat sitting on a trailer behind the Barclay Stand as the rain rodded down in the hours before kick-off felt rather ominous.
I have since discovered that the boat is always on hand at Carrow Road, as Kim Taylor from Norfolk Police put it in a tweet the boat "always patrols River Wensum on match days for over excited fans!"
As the supporters arrived for the Leicester game it was difficult from our commentary position on the gantry to work out whether the significant splashes of yellow in the stands were down to Norwich City replica kits or people turning up wearing full sou'westers. In the Norfolk heroes fancy dress stakes it was a night fit for dressing more like Henry Blogg than Teemu Pukki.
What nobody could possibly have expected was for Jamal Lewis to be the player who would keep the Canaries afloat.
His angled finished to win the match was so good that it must have drawn admiring glances from his former team-mate James Maddison who was watching from the Leicester midfield.
A cracking goal that team-mate Max Aarons set-up and then provided Lewis with another assist after the game by saying in his interviews that his fellow full-back has been scoring goals like that on the training ground every day for the past couple of years.
It proved just how much the Norwich City youngsters stick together because when Daniel Farke was asked whether he'd ever seen Lewis score a goal like that before he simply answered: "No!"
Negotiating the unpredictable currents of the Premier League will not be straight forward for the Canaries over the coming months but the Leicester performance proved that no-one is ready to desert what might be a sinking ship just yet.
The win was a timely reminder that when all hands are on deck and the yellow and green crew is pulling in the same direction they can be more than a match for anyone else in the top flight.
Those are the qualities that will be needed in the remaining home games against Southampton, Everton, Brighton, West Ham and Burnley.
None of those teams are anywhere near Leicester in the table so The Great Escape really is still a possibility.
There's not much margin for error now but if Jamal Lewis can score goals like that and Watford can beat Liverpool in one weekend you really do never know what's around the corner.