The drama continues as Norwich City draw with Swansea
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
Norwich City drew 2-2 with Swansea City at Carrow Road on Saturday, and gained a valuable point as they continued to edge their way towards Premier League survival. This was no bore draw, but very much an entertaining score draw in which the lead changed hands twice before the final whistle was blown with honours even. Either side might have won the game in the second half, but neither did, and a draw was probably a fair result.
Bunn returned as Norwich custodian after missing the game at Wigan through suspension. Otherwise the team was unchanged. When the team was announced many Canary fans (including one former player in the Gunn Club) expressed disappointment that the manager had not opted to start with two players up front. They pointed out that Holt had a good record of scoring against the Swans, and that the latter would take heart from his absence. Before the game Kamara was presented with the player of the month award.
The game kicked off in bright and very welcome sunshine. After the initial skirmishes City had a scare when Michu had the ball in the net for Swansea after 10 minutes but the whistle had already gone for a foul on Howson. Bunn was clearly in some discomfort after 16 minutes when kicking a backpass upfield, and was replaced by Camp. The word from the bench was that he has a groin strain, which may keep him out for weeks or even months, and begs serious questions about how close Ruddy is to returning to match fitness and whether City are able to recall Rudd from his loan at Preston.
The Canaries went close after 21 minutes. Snodgrass might have had a penalty but stayed on his feet. Seconds later the Scot’s free kick hit the wall of static Swans and Turner went close when Snodgrass threaded the rebound to him. Snodgrass was booked for a foul on Tiendalli who over reacted and rolled around as though auditioning for Anna Pavlova’s part in” the Dying Swan” which earned him a chorus of boos from the crowd. Seconds later Johnson was also booked, for a foul on Michu.
Martin had a strong shot blocked but after 35 minutes Swansea took the lead when Guzman’s cross was smashed into the roof of the net by Michu. The action was now coming thick and fast. Dyer almost scored a second for the Swans, but with five minutes of the half remaining parity was restored when Elliott Bennett’s superb cross found Snodgrass unmarked and in acres of space as he scored with a free (and rare) header. Howson and Kamara also went close before the half-time whistle.
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During the interval the Canaries Youth Team were presented to the crowd to take well-earned applause for their 4-2 FA Youth Cup win over Everton Youth. The second half started with both sides going close. Camp saved well from Moore, and not to be outdone, Vorm made a good save from Martin following Bennett’s header into his path.
Seconds later City took the lead as Turner met Bennett’s free kick perfectly to volley home. City continued to ask questions and Kamara headed over the bar while Hoolahan shot over. Kamara had an excellent opportunity but waited too long for Snodgrass’ cross to reach him and the chance was gone. At the other end Camp saved well from Moore’s header.
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But just as the fans were dreaming of three points to keep them clear of the relegation struggle, City were pegged back with 15 minutes remaining when Moore scored following good work by Tiendalli and Angell.
With 10 minutes remaining Holt replaced Hoolahan and was lucky not to be sent off when he clashed with Flores who went down as though poleaxed. Turner was booked for fouling Michu. Michu directed a weak header straight at Camp. Holt pushed Flores, and this time did receive a yellow card. In the last minute of normal time City had a free kick on the edge of the area, but the wall was able to charge down Snodgrass’ attempt. Michu blazed over in stoppage time when it seemed easier to score. Tettey (who had replaced Howson after 81 minutes) was booked, just before the final whistle.
So Norwich gained their 14th draw of the 2012-13 campaign. Snodgrass won Man of the Match, but for me Johnson and Bennett also played excellently. After Sunday’s games we are now in 14th place, with 35 points – four points above the relegation places with six games to go and 18 points to play for. QPR and Reading look doomed. But will the third relegation place go to Wigan, Villa, Sunderland, or Stoke? Yes I am an optimist. I genuinely believe (and hope and pray) that we will limp over the line. After that we will see what changes need to be made in both tactics and personnel for next season. Until then our job as supporters is to support the team. Bring on the Gunners! Remember how well we played at the Emirates last year, and what a result we came away with? Come on you Yellows!