City are looking into relegation abyss
Aftershock. When did that happen? Did I knock back a few too many shots of a strangely coloured drink or was I present at a small quake that happens after the big one has gone off? No, it was not the drink, although I must confess to enjoying more than a couple of pints of Norfolk's finest prior to the game.
Aftershock. When did that happen? Did I knock back a few too many shots of a strangely coloured drink or was I present at a small quake that happens after the big one has gone off?
No, it was not the drink, although I must confess to enjoying more than a couple of pints of Norfolk's finest prior to the game.
It was option two, the delayed shock after the dismal showing in the second half of our performance on Saturday against Plymouth.
The dreadful memories of our capitulation were safely stored away in the back of my mind, in the hope that they would never resurface, or if they did, it would not be until at least until the end of the season. On Wednesday evening, I sat down to watch Newcastle play Birmingham, and it all came flooding back.
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A gutless home performance against a team that should be beaten. The conceding of needless goals. Being booed off by the crowd.
Players on the pitch who were prepared to go down without a fight. It all seemed too much like Saturday afternoon again.
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On Saturday evening, on the return train to the capital, I had tried to persuade myself that the Plymouth loss was just a one-off. I mentioned to my fellow travellers that I thought that City had been mugged.
If Huckerby had scored with that chance just after half-time, we would have been two up and cruising. Instead of 2-0 though, it was 1-1 as Barry Hayles showed the sort instinct that has made Robert Earnshaw the leading scorer in the Championship. Very quickly after that Norwich were two goals adrift and that as they say was that. After taking off my yellow tinted specs and having watched Newcastle surrender to Birmingham, I now realise that City were not mugged as I had incorrectly pointed out on the way back to London.
All Plymouth wanted to do was make a fight of it. The only problem was that the fight, spirit and survival instinct that Plymouth showed by the bucket load was matched by Norwich in thimblefuls. Once we were two goals behind I have never been so certain that we wouldn't get back in a game. That survival instinct that was absent without leave on Saturday will need to be back and back quickly if our end of season excitement is not to be centred around the lower reaches of the table while nervously looking over our shoulders.
Worrying how Southend and Hull have suddenly picked up some form and questioning how Dennis Wise has finally turned it round at Leeds is not a conversation that I want to be having at Easter.
In the season that Nigel Worthington took over, he inherited a team that had lost five games in a row, but within that team were characters who, when they were on the pitch, would lead by example.
When the going got tough players like Iwan Roberts, whose goals helped save us from the third-flight of English football, came to the fore.
Peter Grant has inherited a squad of players in a similar state of flux to his predecessor, but with his talisman now sidelined, and no other player capable of filling the huge void that Robert Earnshaw's injury has left, we need some leaders on the pitch to take up the slack and get some results to see us through to the end of the season.
Last Saturday I didn't see a great deal of leadership on the pitch. I didn't see a great deal of the fight and spirit that will be needed over the next four months that will secure our place in the Championship next season. I saw plenty of reasons to make me very apprehensive that I could be returning to Port Vale much sooner than I expected.
Norwich are on the precipice and looking down into the black hole of League One football.