Idah goal ensures Canaries start Championship campaign with a win
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
Adam Idah’s first league goal for Norwich City ensured the Canaries opened their Championship campaign with a 1-0 win over Huddersfield Town.
Richard Stearman’s short backpass was latched onto Teemu Pukki, who showed a real clarity of thought to wait patiently before teeing up Idah to convert into an empty net. The goal capped off a memorable fortnight for the 19-year-old who made his Republic of Ireland debut during the recent international break.
The City boss was blessed with a host of options to narrow down into an 18-strong matchday squad. Championship title-winning heroes Mario Vrancic and Marco Stiepermann weren’t named in City’s group at the John Smith’s Stadium.
Xavi Quintilla and Oliver Skipp made their competitive debuts – with the Canaries keen to break their 12-game losing rut. Todd Cantwell was selected as the central attacking midfield option with Kieran Dowell playing on the right-hand side. New addition Ben Gibson made the bench.
Carlos Corberan was hopeful of beginning his managerial career with a victory. Former Canaries players Harry Toffolo and Alex Pritchard started for the hosts but Town’s top scorer last season Karlan Grant was left out as speculation linking him with a move to West Bromwich Albion continues to persist.
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Despite the criticisms surrounding City’s use of zonal marking last season, Farke did persist with it and the first corner delivered by Pritchard found Josh Koroma on the edge of the box. His arrowed shot fell to Stearman in the six-yard box but the defender couldn’t get the ball out of his feet to get a shot away and the Canaries cleared.
City were left appealing for a penalty after Ben Godfrey’s header rebounded off the arm of a Huddersfield defender. Kenny McLean led the protests, but referee Geoff Eltringham waved away the appeals. VAR isn’t in operation in the Championship this season – but the technology would have surely awarded City a penalty.
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Dowell went close to opening the scoreline for City when he latched onto Quintilla’s corner at the near post. He sought to divert the ball goalwards, only to see his shot blocked.
Onel Hernandez’ effort was the only shot on target during the first-half. The Cuban was sent racing down the left-hand side by Cantwell. He worked the ball centrally before shooting but couldn’t work Ben Hamer.
The first opening of the second half fell to the hosts. Josh Koroma held up the ball well before working a yard of space and unleashing a curling shot towards goal. The striker’s effort had plenty of pace, but dropped just wide of the post. At the other end, Zimmermann met Quintilla’s corner but saw his header go over the bar.
City’s dominance continued when Pukki swept the ball out to Hernandez on the left in space. He drove towards goal and saw his shot spilt by Hamer. Pukki was unable to turn in the rebound and the Terriers cleared for a corner.
Pukki was involved again when he flicked the ball past the defender to set City racing away on the counter attack. The Finn then played in McLean but Huddersfield recovered superbly to prevent the goalscoring opportunity and clearing.
Hernandez was proving to be a source of offensive productivity for the Canaries. Dowell’s floated crossfield pass found the Cuban, who cut inside and worked some space before driving his effort wide.
The Canaries did have the better opportunities in the second period and with nine minutes to play, they did take the lead courtesy of Idah.
Stearman’s poor backpass was seized upon by Pukki – the striker unselfishly squared the ball to Idah who rifled the ball into an empty net to give the City the lead.
City managed the remaining ten minutes with efficiency and ended their 12-game losing streak to begin life back in the second-tier in a winning fashion.
- Huddersfield Town (4-2-3-1): Hamer; Pipa, Stearman (Campbell, 82), Schindler (C), Toffolo; Jackson (Mbenza, 57), Hogg; Bacuna, Pritchard, Diakhaby (Brown, 71); Koroma. Subs not used: Pereira (GK), Crichlow, Rowe, Edmonds-Green.
- Bookings: Brown (foul on Skipp, 88)
- Goals: None
- Norwich City (4-2-3-1): Krul; Aarons, Zimmermann (C), Godfrey, Quintilla; Skipp, McLean; Dowell (Idah, 76), Cantwell (Rupp, 89), Hernandez (Placheta, 76); Pukki. Subs not used: McGovern (GK), Gibson, Tettey, Hugill.
- Bookings: Dowell (foul on Stearman, 58), Cantwell (foul on Stearman, 78), Idah (foul, 90+2)
- Goals: Idah 81
- Added on time: 2 mins/5 mins
- Referee: Geoff Eltringham