Lambert - What a result that was
Chris Lakey Norwich City passed one of their toughest hurdles of the season last night when their seventh win in a row extended their lead at the top of League One. While City were winning 2-1 at Walsall with a late goal from substitute Cody McDonald, second-placed Leeds were going down 3-0 at Swindon - 24 hours after Charlton had lost at home for the first time this season.
Norwich City passed one of their toughest hurdles of the season last night when their seventh win in a row extended their lead at the top of League One.
While City were winning 2-1 at Walsall with a late goal from substitute Cody McDonald, second-placed Leeds were going down 3-0 at Swindon - 24 hours after Charlton had lost at home for the first time this season.
Game number 14 without defeat leaves the Canaries in the driving seat - with manager Paul Lambert struggling to hide his delight at City's first come-from-behind league win of the season.
“They have been incredible,” said Lambert. “They were dead on their feet after Saturday and on a pitch that was really heavy - what a big, big effort. What a result that was.
“Walsall are a good side - Chris (Hutchings) has got them well organised and it's a difficult place to come and play. Charlton are still to come up here and Leeds have been here. This is one of the toughest ones to come and get anything. It's a good place to get a result.”
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Walsall's Banks' Stadium pitch made it heavy going for the players - not what City needed after the exertions of the weekend win over Brentford, when they played 50 minutes with only 10 men after skipper Grant Holt's red card.
“We knew there would be a bit of tiredness, but the performance again was terrific, considering what happened on Saturday and having to play a lot of the game with 10 men and having to come again and go again and the pressure to win games and all those sorts of things,” Lambert said. “I am delighted for the fans and absolutely over the moon for the players.”
City went behind to a Troy Deeney goal, but a double substitution by Lambert worked wonders. Antony McNamee, who had played just 13 minutes in the yellow and green since coming in in November, earned the corner from which Chris Martin scored his 18th of the season, and five minutes from time fellow sub Cody McDonald struck the winner to send more than 1,300 travelling fans into raptures - especially as they knew the Leeds result.
“It has been very tough for a lot of the lads to get into the team at the minute, but him and Cody came on and did well - they were excellent,” said Lambert.
“All we can do is try and win our games. Leeds are a really good team. They went to Old Trafford and beat them (Manchester United) and had an unbelievable result (against Spurs) on Saturday again and they would have probably felt the tiredness as well tonight.
“There is an absolute country mile to go and we have put ourselves in a position where we are in the mix.”
Lambert confirmed that there was some substance to reports linking midfielder Owain Tudur Jones with a loan move to Yeovil.
Tudur Jones admitted recently that he would need a loan move to boost his fitness, having been out of the first team since November - and BBC Somerset say he is on his way to Huish Park, where former Swansea team-mate Darren Way is on the staff.
The 25-year-old Tudur Jones was signed in the summer from Swansea, but has started just two league games - neither under manager Lambert.
“The club is in a bit of dialogue at the minute - nothing official,” said Lambert.
City are trying to bring in a new signing before the close of the January transfer, but Lambert refused to give any clues as to his identity.
“We have to wait and see,” he said. “You are never quite sure until somebody comes through your front door whether you are going to get them or not.
“Everybody knows I am not blessed with a massive amount of money, but what we can give is a club which is absolutely vibrant, as you can see.”