Norwich City 1, Crystal Palace 2

Norwich City once again fell victim to the inconsistency which has become a trademark of their season last night. Big things were expected from a side that battled their way to just their second away win of the season on Saturday - but they failed to produce.

Norwich City once again fell victim to the inconsistency which has become a trademark of their season last night.

Big things were expected from a side that battled their way to just their second away win of the season on Saturday - but they failed to produce.

Only once this season have City won two games in a row - against Wolves and Doncaster - and the chance for a repeat was on the cards after the 2-1 win at Nottingham Forest three days earlier.

But any hopes of climbing away from the bottom six were all but over by half-time, with a surprisingly low-key City already two goals down.

You may also want to watch:

Matty Pattison gave the fans some hope with a goal just after the hour mark, but City just couldn't conjure up an equaliser.

It left the home fans groaning in frustration at the final whistle and wondering where the side that battled for 70 minutes with only 10 men on Saturday had disappeared.

Most Read

Roeder was down to the bare bones: he was without Gary Doherty, serving a one-match suspension after his red card at Forest, and midfielder Darel Russell, who was completing his three-match ban. With Elliott Omozusi failing to shake of a hamstring injury, Jon Otsemobor was recalled to right back, with Adam Drury drafted in at centre half alongside John Kennedy.

Wes Hoolahan, so unlucky to be sacrificed as part of the shake-up that followed Doherty's dismissal, dropped to the bench with striker Antoine Sibierski coming through a fitness test on the knee injury which had kept him out for two games - but the Frenchman looked way off the pace and didn't reappear for the second half as Roeder tried to breathe life into his team.

But, apart from Pattison's goal, they rarely looked threatening and Roeder will have to go back to the drawing board yet again.

The match had started at half-pace and it took City five minutes to get their attacking heads on, but David Bell wasted a good break with a cross from the right channel that was to no one in particular.

But two minutes later they came close to going ahead, Bell swinging in a free kick from the right and Drury timing his run perfectly, only to see his header turned round the post by Julian Speroni.

Palace's response was a tame 25-yarder from Ben Watson - but City were allowing Palace to dictate the tempo. Leroy Lita made a battling run into the area that forced another corner: it was a complicated dead ball move, but it eventually gave Sammy Clingan, wearing the captain's armband, a shot which was partially blocked for a corner.

The momentum was lost a little when a linesman's flag had to be changed as City waited to take a free-kick - which Speroni again had to punch away, with Drury threatening. Palace were probably guilty of keeping their eyes on Sibierski and John Kennedy rather than the more vertically challenged Drury.

Norwich were guilty of losing possession as Nick Carle found Craig Beattie on the left. Beattie got into the area and keeper David Marshall was tempted way off his line, but when the Scot got round him his shot from a narrow angle was high and wide.

It was a warning shot across the bows for a City back four that was creaking, allowing Palace time and space, but it was the direct route which gave the visitors the vital opening in the 27th minute, Jose Fonte knocking the ball through to Beattie who looked suspiciously offside as he ran in the huge space between the central defenders and then managed to tuck it past Marshall.

Roeder - currently awaiting an FA hearing - was furious with the linesman, but City had been warned, with Palace having slowly but surely made inroads into the game.

Matty Pattison tried to repeat his scoring heroics of last weekend but blazed well over, while Bell saw a close range effort blocked by two defenders.

But it was Palace who were starting to dictate terms, by fair means or foul at times as Ben Watson went into the referee's note book for deliberate handball and John Oster followed after pulling back Croft.

Far too often City were being forced to face their own goal, with Palace's young right back Nathaniel Clyne's attacking instincts curbing Bell's influence down City's left flank.

That domination was rewarded five minutes from half-time when Palace went two up. It was Oster who started and finished the move, putting Nick Carle in on the right side of the area. Carle pulled the ball back, Scannell and Bell both went for it and it came off the City man before falling kindly for Oster who, from the edge of the area, kept his head and placed a superb chip into the top left-hand corner, just out of reach of the despairing Marshall.

It was a goal to savour, but not for City fans who were once again experiencing the immense frustration that so often comes with following the Canaries.

t Half-time: Norwich City 0, Crystal Palace 2

The boos that greeted the half-time whistle were not unexpected, and Roeder responded with two changes for the second half, Mark Fotheringham coming on for left back Ryan Bertrand, with Drury taking over his role and Clingan reverting to centre back. Siberski was replaced by Hoolahan, presumably to play in the hole behind Lita.

The change almost had an immediate effect, Drury getting in a cross that Lita headed goalwards, but close enough to Speroni to cause few problems.

But Beattie quickly reminded City of the dangers of committing too many men forward when he curled a shot just past Marshall's left-hand post.

Bell and Hoolahan were at the centre of City's first real attacking thrust of the half, although Bell's shot which ended one move was disappointingly wide. Croft was beginning to show after a quiet opening 45 minutes.

Clint Hill was given far too much space to cut in on his right foot and shoot from the edge of the area - fortunately it was straight at Marshall, but once again the middle of City's defence wasn't inspiring confidence.

Shefki Kuqi should have done better when Marshall palmed a cross to his feet, but the former Ipswich striker couldn't find the target.

Palace were beginning to play like the team in need of a goal, heading forwards when all they had to was sit back - but against the run of play City somehow got back into the game - and it was that man Pattison who got it.

Having scored the first senior goal of his career at Nottingham Forest on Saturday, the South African was again in the right place at the right time to head home Croft's cross from the right on 61 minutes; it wasn't easy as the ball was slightly behind him but somehow he managed to make a perfect connection. City fans by then would have settled for anything, because now there was a chink of light.

City were, finally, on the front foot now, the crowd imploring Pattison to shoot every time he took possession - but Neil Warnock's teams don't generally give up without a fight, and nothing would suit them better than taking the sting out of the game. On came the experienced Shaun Derry to break down City's midfield thrusts - and he did his job to perfection.

City tried had to lift the tempo, Lita lifting a long-range effort well over and Fotheringham shooting narrowly wide with his left foot.

Hoolahan looked the man most likely, earning City a free kick when he ran at the Palace defence before Fonte upended him - but Pattison's kick was straight at Speroni.

City brought on Arturo Lupoli at the death but it was too little, too late. City's attacks lacked cohesion - and when Marshall joined everyone else in the area for an injury time corner, Hoolahan's flag kick sailed over everyone, which just about summed up the performance.

t Result: Norwich City 1, Crystal Palace 2

t Norwich: Marshall 6, Otsemobor 6, Kennedy 5, Drury 7, Bertrand 5 (Fotheringham 45, 6), Croft 6, Clingan 6, Pattison 6, Bell 7 (Lupoli 88), Sibierski 5 (Hoolahan 45, 7), Lita 6. Subs: Nelson, Cureton.

Goals: Pattison 61

t Palace: Speroni, Clyne, McCarthy, Fonte, Hill, Oster, Watson, Scannell, Carle (Derry 66), Kuqi (Andrew 80), Beattie (Lawrence 90). Subs: Flahavan, Moses.

Goals: Beattie 27, Oster 40.

Bookings: Watson, 34, handball; Oster, 36, foul on Croft

t Att: 24,034

t EDP man of the match: David Bell

t Referee: D Whitestone.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter
Comments powered by Disqus