Third time lucky for Norwich City's Nelson
David Cuffley It was third time lucky for defender Michael Nelson as he broke his Carrow Road goal jinx to wrap up the League One title.Nelson scored in identical fashion for the second week in a row, heading in Simon Lappin's corner to complete the 2-0 home win over Gillingham that confirmed Norwich City as champions.
It was third time lucky for defender Michael Nelson as he broke his Carrow Road goal jinx to wrap up the League One title.
Nelson scored in identical fashion for the second week in a row, heading in Simon Lappin's corner to complete the 2-0 home win over Gillingham that confirmed Norwich City as champions.
It was a notable double as his goal seven days earlier had delivered promotion in the 1-0 win at Charlton.
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He also scored with a spectacular scissor kick in the 2-0 win at his former club, Hartlepool, back in August, but scoring in front of the home crowd gave the 30-year-old centre-half added pleasure.
Nelson had goals disallowed in previous home matches against Walsall and Millwall but was not to be denied this time.
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He said: “I'm really pleased to score here. The other two goals came away from home. I managed to get the ball in the net twice here but they've both been disallowed so it's nice to get it done and very pleasing that it was in such an important game.
“Grant Holt had a little word as we were lining up in the box and said he was going to go one way and I was going to go the other way just to fool the defender. He bought it, Grant blocked him and I had a free header.”
It is a first title success for Nelson, who has yet to play at Championship level.
He said: “It's the first time I've done it. I've had a promotion before but just as runners-up, been to a play-off final and a play-off semi, but it's nice to do it with a bit of breathing space before the end of the season.
“The gaffer said before the game and after last week's game no one remembers the runners-up, people who finish second. So it's nice to go out and do the job and finish it and I hope by the end of the season we can be top of the league with quite a number of points gap, just to prove that we fully deserved it.”
Celebrations were unrestrained in the dressing room, he revealed.
“It's been manic - people getting chucked everywhere, a couple of the coaching staff have been in the ice bath, the bucket the champagne was in went over the kit man's head and just a lot of beer and champagne flying about which I think is well deserved,” he said.
The game itself was less memorable with goalkeeper Fraser Forster twice keeping City on terms before they gained the ascendancy in the final 15 minutes after Darel Russell's goal broke the deadlock.
“It was just a bit slow and a bit laboured,” said Nelson. “We had some good spells but not as much as we would have liked. But in the second half, they had a couple of chances, Fraser's done what he's done week in, week out, pulled off important saves at a vital time.
“I think you could just sense the goal was coming and once Darel stuck it in, I think we dominated, really.”
Nelson said he was not looking too far ahead to next season, keen that City finish the campaign with a flourish at Bristol Rovers and at home to Carlisle.
He said: “It's a long way off. There are two games to go in this season to try to really ram it down the other teams' throats and prove that we are the best team in the league and finish with a little bit of a cushion.
“But regarding next season, what the manager does the manager will do. There is nothing we can do to change that.
“The lads who have been at this club this season have staked their claim by winning the league. No one can do any more than that, so it's up to the manager now to get his squad ready for next season.”