That battling quality gives Norwich City rewards
You can call it persistence, determination, a never-say-die attitude or simply a belief that anything is possible if you believe enough in yourself and your team-mates – but whatever it is, the Canaries have it.
Similar to the game at Cardiff a week earlier, City were faced with the proverbial mountain to climb after falling two goals behind.
But unlike in the Welsh capital, this time they were able to turn things round and take something from the game with an uplifting and rousing finish.
In terms of entertainment, the first half was enjoyable as both sides were committed to attacking at every opportunity and it made the contest a free-flowing, end-to-end affair.
City produced some incisive attacking moves and when they got the ball wide their crossing into the box from both sides of the pitch was impressive, while the visitors looked particularly dangerous as soon as they regained possession and moved the ball into the Canaries’ half.
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From an attacking perspective, if the Canaries had just ensured they had more players attacking those crosses it could have turned out to be a completely different game.
But that would be harsh on the visitors, who scored two well-taken goals and posed a considerable threat at the other end of the pitch, and Brian Laws’ men might have added to their lead but for some impressive defending by the Canaries.
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However, at half-time you still felt City would get the chance to drag themselves back into the contest provided they could increase the tempo of the game and get the crowd behind them. And so it proved.
The introduction of Anthony McNamee on the right flank provided City with natural width and the diminutive winger didn’t waste any opportunities to deliver telling crosses into the visitors’ penalty area.
His introduction made a big difference, as did that of Chris Martin, who, in addition to grabbing the goal that set the Canaries up for a grandstand finish looked back to his best and very assured whenever he received the ball.
Through a combination of Burnley’s somewhat surprising reluctance to move forward as convincingly as they had done in the opening 45 minutes and the Canaries’ absolute desire to increase the pressure they were putting the visitors under, they eventually got the rewards their efforts merited in a thrilling second half.
And the noise and scenes that greeted the excellent Andrew Crofts’ late equalising goal couldn’t have been bettered if he had just smashed home the goal to win the Canaries the FA Cup.
It goes without saying that City can ill afford to allow themselves to be in the position of again needing to overhaul a two-goal deficit.
But if they do, what was clear on Saturday is that they not only have the stomach for the fight, but also the capacity to actually achieve a comeback.
• NEIL’S MAN OF THE MATCH – ANDREW CROFTS: Crofts not only provided his usual midfield dynamism, bone-crunching tackling and intelligent and accurate use of the ball, but added to that by making one of the goals and scoring the other. There may have been a suspicion of him controlling the ball with his arm before he lashed home the equaliser – which, if so, merely compensated for the referee missing a foul on Simeon Jackson in the build-up to Burnley’s first goal – but he arguably earned that bit of good fortune with the desire and determination he showed in driving forward with the ball to the penalty area in the first place. Pound for pound, he has to be one of the best signings for many a year at Carrow Road as he has been truly superb.