Norwich City Res 1, Luton Town Res 0
Paul McVeigh earned the plaudits of second string boss Ian Crook - after filling in at left-back.The pint-sized midfielder stepped in after City suffered a mini-crisis among its fringe players.
Paul McVeigh earned the plaudits of second string boss Ian Crook - after filling in at left-back.
The pint-sized midfielder stepped in after City suffered a mini-crisis among its fringe players.
First choice left back Michael Rose was never likely to be considered, Adam Drury is out with a torn hamstring, Remy Gordon and George Francomb were unavailable because of injury and illness respectively and Rhoys Wiggins is out on loan.
“Paul McVeigh is one of those types where he has played left side, right side, left-back, right-back, in the point of the diamond,” said Crook. “But he has got a great football brain.
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“Yesterday when I told him he gave me that little bit of a look as if to say, 'are you mad?' and then today I had a chat with him and said, 'you'll be fine'. I thought he was excellent, I really did - he organises and talks, which is a huge help to everybody.
“We hadn't really got anybody who can play there and Macca is the one we put an arm around and asked if he could do us a favour.
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“It's not easy, but when he rose and won a header in the second half - I don't know if there was a cheer or a gasp. He has got a smashing attitude and he will be the first to admit that last week was probably the one game in his career where probably everything went wrong for him, but he has come back, he has trained really hard and I thought he was good today.”
The last week Crook referred to was the dismal home defeat by Ipswich, and City went some way to putting that right yesterday at the Colney training centre, used to help preserve the pitch at Carrow Road.
“Better performance and better attitude I thought,” said Crook. “We didn't really speak too much about the so-called game plan. I've said it before, when it comes to results at this level, we didn't really speak about that - we said we think you owe it to yourselves to give a performance and I thought the attitude was right.
“Luton made it very difficult and we were really solid and worked hard and it was a really good exercise.”
The winner didn't arrive until two minutes from the end, when Jens Berthel Askou's header from a Damon Lathrope corner took a deflection before rolling into the corner of the net.
Askou and Michael Spillane upped their game time on their road back to fitness to go the full distance, as did while Matt Gill and Tom Adeyemi, while there were long run-outs for Stephen Hughes, Oli Johnson and Anthony McNamee.
“It's been 45, 60 and now 90 minutes and probably what they do need now is to get some sort of game sharpness back,” Crook said. “It's totally different from training. You can run and run and run in training, but you got out there and sometimes the game is a bit quick for you until you get those game legs again, and both of them are progressing, which is good.”
City keeper Declan Rudd had to make two early saves, one a straight-forward block, the other a much more difficult dive to his left to deny Mark Nwokeji.
But it was Adeyemi who came closest to scoring on the stroke of half-time when his header from a corner was turned aside by Shane Gore.
Josh Dawkin headed just wide from a corner by McNamee, who put a free-kick a foot over the bar, but it was Askou who earned City the points at the death - albeit with a little help from Luton skipper Ed Asafu-Adjaye.
t Norwich City: Rudd, Spillane, Kelly, Askou, McVeigh, Dawkin, Hughes (Lathrope 73), Adeyemi, Gill, McNamee (Clarke 63), Johnson (Stephens 63). Subs not used: Steer, Oakley.
t Luton Town: Gore, Asafu-Adjaye, Howells, Parker, Lacey (Carney 75), Beavan, Nwokeji, Wood, Barnes-Homer, Owusu (Watkins 60), Nelthorpe. Subs not used: Fletcher, Ann, Patrick.