Super sub Vrancic ensures City claim win against hard-working Wycombe
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
A late strike from super sub Mario Vrancic extended Norwich City’s winning streak to three games, but the scoreline doesn’t tell the whole story from their 2-1 win over Wycombe Wanderers.
The visitors enjoyed spells of dominance but it was the Bosnian again who came off the bench to ensure City got out of jail and prevented Gareth Ainsworth’s men from collecting their first point of the season.
Teemu Pukki gave the Canaries the lead inside the opening five minutes before Scott Kashket benefitted from a defensive blunder by City to equalise 10 minutes later.
From there, City’s performance regressed. But they did enough to ensure they emerged victorious.
Daniel Farke named an unchanged matchday squad from the side who battled past Birmingham City in midweek – with Pukki partnering Jordan Hugill once again in a fluid front two at the top end of the pitch.
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Marco Stiepermann has recovered fully from the stomach illness that ruled him out of Tuesday’s encounter but didn’t return to the bench. Christoph Zimmermann is still out with a calf problem.
Wycombe Wanderers made two changes, bringing in Fred Onyedimna for Alex Samuel up front and David Wheeler replacing ex-Ipswich Town trainee Matt Bloomfield in midfield.
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Physical striking duo Adebayo Akinfenwa and Uche Ikpeazu were named on the bench, with the latter once on trial with the Canaries. Former City academy prospect Anis Mehmeti was also amongst the substitutes.
It took City all of three minutes to open the scoring courtesy of a cute Pukki chip. Wycombe conceded possession and Emi Buendia picked up the loose ball. Hugill’s run granted Pukki space to gallop into, the Argentine slotted him in and he ran through before chipping over Ryan Allsopp and into the net.
City assumed control thereafter. Buendia was proving instrumental in their offensive phases of play. He glided past a defender before finding Pukki on the edge, he turned but fired his low shot wide of the post.
The visitors were gifting the Canaries too much space centrally and Grant Hanley’s crossfield pass was cushioned into the path of Todd Cantwell by Xavi Quintilla. A neat interchange with Buendia allowed the England Under-21 international to send Pukki through on the right of the area but his cross was cleared off the line by Curtis Thompson.
Wycombe were behind for only ten minutes before Scott Kashket capitalised on a defensive blunder from City to equalise.
Joe Jacobson’s long ball was nodded down by David Wheeler, Tim Krul didn’t come to collect and Hanley didn’t clear his lines allowing Kashket to ghost in to bundle the ball into the net, much to the delight of the travelling directors.
Ainsworth’s men went close to taking the lead after Buendia was penalised for a foul in City’s right-back position. Jacobson’s whipped cross was headed across goal by Josh Knight, but Anthony Stewart could only head over the bar.
City were second best at the start of the second period, but did have a chance to reclaim the lead through Rupp. The German midfielder picked up Cantwell’s pass and tried to slot in Pukki. The ball rebounded into his path but Stewart’s block deflected his effort over the bar.
Adam Idah injected some fresh impetuous into the Canaries attacks after he replaced Hugill. The Irish international went close but his fierce shot was saved well by Allsopp after positive work from Quintilla down the left.
City’s pressure continued to mount, Wycombe’s carelessness in possession allowed Rupp to slide in Cantwell but his shot was straight at Allsopp. The rebound fell back to City’s creator and he teed up Mario Vrancic, whose shot was blocked.
Buendia was the next to squander an opportunity after Vrancic found a pocket of space down the left. He picked out the Argentine with a pull-back but Buendia sliced it wide.
Just as Wycombe looked as though they were about to win their first league point of the season, Vrancic curled a beautiful free-kick beyond Allsopp and into the net to rescue three points for City in stoppage time.
Idah saw red late on after a coming together between the striker and Jacobson. Referee Gavin Ward struggled all afternoon with the big decisions, much to the fury of Wycombe’s bench. Idah will now serve a suspension.
- Norwich City (4-2-3-1): Krul; Aarons, Hanley (C), Gibson, Quintilla; Skipp (Vrancic, 68), Rupp (Placheta, 85); Buendia, Pukki, Cantwell; Hugill (Idah, 58). Subs not used: McGovern (GK), Tettey, McLean Martin
- Bookings: Gibson (foul on Horgan, 15)
- Red card: Idah
- Goals: Pukki 3, Vrancic 90+2
- Wycombe Wanderers (4-2-3-1): Allsop; Grimmer, Stewart, Knight, Jacobson (C); Wheeler (Akinfenwa, 90), Thompson, Adeniran, Horgan (Bloomfield, 84); Kashket (Ikpeazu, 68), Onyedimna. Subs not used: Stockdale (GK), Charles, Freeman, Samuel, Mehmeti
- Bookings: Adeniran (dissent, 45+3)
- Goals: Kashket 13
- Added on time: 2 mins/5 mins
- Referee: Gavin Ward