It’s never too late in day for Norwich City

David Cuffley Scunthorpe United 0, Norwich City 1: Norwich City's ability to score late goals played a major part in their League One title success - and they clearly have not lost the knack over the summer.

David Cuffley

Scunthorpe United 0, Norwich City 1

Norwich City's ability to score late goals played a major part in their League One title success - and they clearly have not lost the knack over the summer.

Darel Russell, Gary Doherty, Oli Johnson and Chris Martin were among those who delivered at the death last season as the Canaries produced some stirring finishes en route to being crowned champions.


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And in each of their three competitive games so far this term, they have found the net after the 90-minute mark.

But while Michael Nelson's goal provided mere consolation in the Championship home defeat by Watford, and Martin simply rubbed salt in Gillingham's wounds in the Carling Cup tie at Carrow Road, there was a great deal more significance in skipper Grant Holt's winner at Glanford Park.

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Three points from the first two games looks a whole lot better than just one, and getting that first league victory under their belts was a major boost after Paul Lambert's men were stung by the Hornets in their live TV date eight days earlier.

Lambert's tendency to make efficacious substitutions also re-surfaced as two of those who came off the bench played a part in the decisive goal.

Simeon Jackson had put one attempt on goal out for a throw-in shortly after replacing striker Martin, but with his radar restored to working order, he deftly turned fellow new signing Elliott Ward's long ball into the path of fellow substitute Simon Lappin, whose cross was met by a well-executed diving header from Holt that appeared to take a slight curve just inside the post.

It was just reward for City's second-half display when, inspired by the creativity of Wes Hoolahan and the energy of Andrew Crofts, they took charge of a contest that had been fairly even up to the break.

The Canaries began the brighter of the two sides but neither 'keeper was seriously troubled in the opening 20 minutes, when the best effort at either end came as Chris Martin flashed a header into the side netting from Hoolahan's cross.

Midway through the half, Scunthorpe stepped up a gear and City 'keeper John Ruddy tipped a header from Jonathan Forte round the post as the striker rose to meet a cross from the right by Josh Wright.

Ruddy's opposite number, Joe Murphy, then made a fine save as he dived to his left to push away Chris Martin's low shot.

Ruddy, looking more commanding than on his previous outings, was forced into action again in the 34th minute when Martyn Woolford let fly from more than 25 yards but the 'keeper was right behind his well-struck effort.

New signing Chris Dagnall missed the best opportunity of the half when a determined run took him deep into Norwich territory but he spoiled all the hard work when he pulled his shot wide.

Forte threatened twice more when he fired over the top after bringing down a cross by Eddie Nolan, then latched on to a long clearance by David Mirfin, cut in from the left and tested Ruddy with a powerful shot that the 'keeper held to his chest.

City seemed to up the tempo from the restart, however, and could have been ahead less than two minutes after the break. Hoolahan picked out Chris Martin in the Scunthorpe area and he worked his way into space before firing across the face of the goal from a tight angle with Holt, sliding in, just unable to apply the finishing touch.

Defender Rob Jones just got his head to a powerful drive from Hoolahan that was heading for the top corner, Korey Smith having set the chance up with a clever change of direction, and after an ambitious effort from Russell Martin flew into the crowd, Smith again set up Hoolahan for left-foot shot that swerved wide.

The Canaries finally had the ball in the net in the 68th minute when Holt headed home from Andrew Surman's free-kick, but was flagged offside.

The assault continued and Murphy was grateful to cling on to Nelson's header when a dangerous inswinging corner by Surman found the head of the centre-half.

After a flurry of substitutions and a couple of yellow cards, the stage was set for a tense finale - but which way would the points go?

Scunthorpe must have felt they were going to snatch all three when Forte was presented with a shooting chance from close range, only to be denied by a great block by Nelson.

The importance of that challenge became clear within seconds as Lappin's introduction paid immediate dividends when he delivered the perfect centre for Holt's winner.

With the celebrations in full swing behind Murphy's goal, Lambert decided to keep the back door locked, giving Jens Berthel Askou the very briefest of appearances as a fifth defender. After waiting so long for the breakthrough, it was better to be safe than sorry. City's big rivals south of the county border were not quite so careful.

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