Sunday Fan Zone: Norwich City are two thirds there ... let’s find the other third soon!
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
Back at Carrow Road we found ourselves facing Lee Johnson’s in-form Bristol City, unbeaten in nine games with the current leading goalscorer in the league – this could be a real test for our new-found solid defence, having kept a clean sheet in the previous three league games.
A few changes were made, with Marley Watkins making his first league appearance since August, Harrison Reed in for Alex Tettey and Mario Vrancic in for James Maddison, Vrancic warranting a start after scoring a brace in the league cup, possibly Tettey rested for Middlesbrough on Tuesday.
So taking to my seat metaphorically speaking (as in lower Barclay Block E there is not much sitting) I joined in what seems the new anthem, a full chorus of ‘Farkelife’ whilst the teams came out followed by the impromptu and obligatory “On the Ball”. It’s 3pm, it’s Carrow Road, we are Norwich, please do not let me down...
Bristol City got off to a fairly bright start, keeping long periods of possession and making good use of the ball. However, Reed and Tom Trybull didn’t want to make life easy for the visitors, the pair working well across midfield.
In the 25th minute Norwich seemed to find second gear, Vrancic’s poke denied by the post after good work from Cameron Jerome down the right-hand side.
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Norwich were now building momentum and Jerome had the ball in the net but, true to form, the flag was up and half of the Barclay End were still celebrating unaware!
Still, with Trybull battling and trying to stop Bristol city’s passing through midfield, we found Norwich sometimes switching their play from aerial to passing to beat the opponents, but at times the end product was at best frustrating.
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Best chance of the half came from Vrancic’s ball out to Jerome who put a low cross into the box which played a game of ping pong (not football) on to two Bristol defenders into Marco Stiepermann’s path. He literally had to ping it into the net – I’m still not sure how he missed. I’m sure he’s still asking himself the very same question!
Then just a few minutes later Jerome fired a shot over from 25 yards.
At half-time the reflection was’ how come we are not 3-0 up?’
Are we are lacking a striker?
In the second half both teams had chances, with Angus Gunn making an excellent save to keep the Canaries in it and Josh Murphy’s cross-shot was never going to find the right side of the back of the net. The best chance of the half came from a corner in the closing minutes of the game.
Not a great 45 minutes. Daniel Farke made early subs, with pace and creativity at the forethought of his tactical mind by means of Yanic Wildschut and Wes Hoolahan. However, we just couldn’t break this game down, as much as we offered in defence, hard work and the fight in midfield, we weren’t clinical in the final third. A dull, no score draw, It’s a work in progress for sure!
It’s not often the crowd shows appreciation for a member of the opposing team but it was good to see a great reception for Korey Smith on his return to Carrow Road – and he came over to applaud the home crowd at the end of the game.
Not the most tantalising games to have watched; both teams counter-balanced the other, but let’s draw on the positives. We’ve come a long way from that away game at Millwall, the defence is defending, and we stopped the highest scoring team in the league from doing just that!
Trybull looks to be the deal of the transfer market (give him a five-year deal immediately!).
We are unbeaten in five.
We now have kept a clean sheet in four consecutive league games for the first time in 16 years.
We are two-thirds there (if only Farke could fix that final third! ).
Are Nelson Oliveira and Alex Pritchard the answer?
Let’s hope we find the answers.