Poll: Russell Martin was our Norwich City Man of the Match, who was yours?
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
One man and one man alone tried to drive Norwich City forward in the second period to avoid FA Cup misery.
Russell Martin was deployed as an auxiliary right winger for the most part. That he was stranded upfield for Town’s winner, when JJ O’Donnell raced beyond the Canaries’ midfield into the space vacated by the full-back said more about his team-mates’ lack of awareness than any question marks over his defensive negligence.
At one point in the opening period with the depressing pattern already seemingly set, Martin appeared to berate those in front of him for a lack of forward movement.
Actions backed up his words with first the aerial challenge that inadvertently carved out a chance for Leon Barnett that replays later showed had crossed the line. Martin also reacted quickest to Harry Kane’s blocked shot to flash an angled return a yard wide of Mark Tyler’s far post.
The stand-in captain upped the ante in the second period; instigating much of Norwich’s albeit sporadic attacking work. Grant Holt’s close range header at Tyler could be traced to Martin at source.
Jonas Kovacs took emergency action after he tricked his way past Greg Taylor and there was an instinctive first time pass that granted Andrew Surman time and space to curl tamely at Tyler. Then after the blow of a late concession he threw himself at Holt’s hanging cross but the header veered wide.
You can question his precision, but not the desire on the day to avoid an FA Cup humbling.