Doherty: Early goal made the difference

Defender Gary Doherty knows exactly what the difference was in Saturday's victory at Cardiff - Norwich City scored first.For after months of unending misery on their travels, the weekend's final away game of the season yielded something unknown in 2006 - a simple straightforward away win as Robert Earnshaw's sweet 16th minute strike proved enough to beat the Bluebirds.

Defender Gary Doherty knows exactly what the difference was in Saturday's victory at Cardiff - Norwich City scored first.

For after months of unending misery on their travels, the weekend's final away game of the season yielded something unknown in 2006 - a simple straightforward away win as Robert Earnshaw's sweet 16th minute strike proved enough to beat the Bluebirds.

And that, says 'The Doc', was the difference.

“Scoring early that made a big difference - it gave us something to hold onto, something to defend,” said Doherty, whose flourishing partnership with man of the match Jason Shackell provided the bedrock for Norwich's first three points on the road this year.


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“I felt we were quite comfortable today,” said Doherty, handed another close look at January transfer target Cameron Jerome as the Canaries finally started to get the hang of this playing away thing.

“Because Jason and I have got that little bit of pace, I thought it worked well today and he wasn't a problem. But I've played against him twice now and I rate him - particularly for someone of his age.”

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The trick now would be to sign off with another clean sheet and three more, big points against Wolves next Sunday.

With Doherty still firm favourite to lift the Barry Butler Memorial Trophy before kick-off, it could be a decent end to the season for the Republic of Ireland international - albeit if the bitter disappointment of missing out on a place in the play-offs still hangs heavily around Carrow Road.

Compounding Wolves' many miseries and heaping yet more pressure on boss Glenn Hoddle as City nick seventh spot out of their hands would offer the odd crumb of comfort - particularly now that Norwich's pre-eminence this season over near-neighbours Ipswich Town is assured.

“After the disappointing season that we've had, we'll take seventh,” said Doherty, who dutifully threw his green away shirt to the long-suffering Canary away supporters at the final whistle.

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