Last gasp Hugill penalty helps City grind out win against Rotherham
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
Jordan Hugill’s last-gasp penalty gave Norwich City three points despite an indifferent performance in a 2-1 victory over Rotherham United.
Emi Buendia won a penalty deep into stoppage time after being fouled by Florian Jozefzoon. The Argentine wanted to take the spot kick but Hugill wrestled the ball from his grasp and rolled his effort beyond Jamal Blackman.
The Canaries offensive efforts were stodgy throughout – with City still looking to pull together a complete performance after a summer of change. The game saw Daniel Farke’s men adopt a different style, with an emphasis on crossing and a more direct approach.
The lively Freddie Ladapo gave the Millers the lead after a costly defensive mix-up from City. The striker seized upon the loose ball to fire them ahead after three minutes. The striker saw his first-half penalty saved by Tim Krul.
Millers captain Michael Ihiekwe’s own goal got City back into the game and Angus MacDonald’s red card proved to be a turning point in the encounter.
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City’s boss shuffled his pack having seen his side lose consecutive fixtures 1-0 – with Hugill handed his first league start for the Canaries. Grant Hanley made his first appearance since March and partnered Ben Gibson at the back.
Todd Cantwell was ruled out due to a knock to his knee – heavy bruising prevented him from travelling to Yorkshire. Adam Idah recorded only his second league start for City on the left-hand side.
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The Millers were without boss and City fan Paul Warne – who is self-isolating following a positive case of coronavirus amongst his family. Rotherham made three changes to the side that drew 1-1 with Huddersfield prior to the international break, with Clark Robertson, Mickel Miller and Dan Barlaser coming in for George Hirst, Joe Mattock and Kieran Sadlier.
Rotherham took an early advantage courtesy of some calamitous defending from the Canaries. Tim Krul worked the ball out to the right and Max Aarons was beaten in the air. Oliver Skipp and Hanley missed the header allowing Ladapo to seize upon the loose ball before firing past City’s keeper to put the hosts ahead.
The Millers press caused City problems – but Skipp’s surging run did start a counter attack for the Canaries. He was tackled but the ball fell for Lukas Rupp who smartly played in Stiepermann, but his curling shot was saved by Jamal Blackman.
Stiepermann turned provider soon after – slotting in Idah on the left but he blasted his effort straight at Rotherham’s goalkeeper. Xavi Quintilla’s follow-up was tame and deflected out for a throw.
City’s start to the game was made considerably worse when Idah wrestled Clark Robertson down inside the area, leaving referee David Webb little choice but to point to the spot. Ladapo stepped up and looked to place it into the net, but Krul saved excellently to keep City in the fixture.
Rotherham’s intensity was strangling City when they attempted to play out from the back. The Millers were unlucky not have a second when Wes Harding beat Quintilla and crossed from the byline. Mikel Miller was on the end of the delivery and had a free header inside the six-yard box but with the goal gaping, he headed over.
The second half saw City start brightly – Blackman’s loose kick out fell to Stiepermann. He offloaded the ball for Rupp who drove into the area before teeing up Idah on the edge. The Irish international’s shot was wayward and flew over the bar.
City did have the ball in the net after 62 minutes – Stiepermann bundled Quintilla’s free-kick into the net but was in an offside position when the ball was played.
The Canaries equaliser arrived from their first passage of slick possession. Skipp found Buendia who sent Aarons racing away down the right. His cross was designed for Hugill but Millers captain Ihiekwe sliced the ball into his own net.
Rotherham’s fortunes worsened when Angus MacDonald clattered into Skipp and received a straight red card. The Millers defender went in two footed on the Spurs loanee, leaving the officials with little choice but to brandish the red card.
The Millers had a gilt-edged chance to snatch a second goal after some excellent work from Harding. He laid the ball back to Michael Smith, he found Robertson at the back post but he dragged his shot wide.
Aarons’ tenacity won City a free-kick deep in the hosts half. Buendia’s whipped delivery picked out Gibson at the back post – but the defender’s effort lacked conviction and skewed off his foot.
City continued to probe for a late winner – Hugill took the ball in before turning and driving towards goal. His low effort was palmed by Blackman into the path of Teemu Pukki, who saw his effort saved by the Millers keeper.
Deep into stoppage time, Buendia’s cute touch drew a foul from new signing Florian Jozefzoon – the Argentine wanted to take the penalty but Hugill stepped up to net his first City goal.
It wasn’t conventional but City did get the three points for only the second time of this season.
- Rotherham United (4-3-3): Blackman; Harding, Ihiekwe (C), A MacDonald, Robertson; Wiles, Crooks (Wood, 73), S MacDonald; Barlaser, Lapado (Smith, 77), Miller (Jozefzoon, 68). Subs not used: Johansson (GK), Hirst, Lindsay, Sadlier
- Bookings: None
- Red card: A MacDonald (foul on Skipp, 71)
- Goals: Ladapo 3
- Norwich City (4-2-3-1): Krul; Aarons, Hanley (C), Gibson, Quintilla; Rupp, Skipp (Vrancic, 80); Buendia (McLean, 90+6), Stiepermann (Pukki, 80), Idah; Hugill. Subs not used: McGovern (GK), Tettey, Placheta, Martin
- Bookings: Hanley (foul on Barlaser, 56)
- Goals: Ihiekwe 68, Hugill 90+5
- Added on time: 1 mins/5 mins
- Referee: David Webb