Norwich Win Over Bristol City Could Be The Final Piece Of The Jigsaw
Thursday, 17th Mar 2011 09:58
Before a Sky Sports Television audience of millions of viewers all rooting for Bristol City, Norwich City showed the likes of Swansea, Cardiff, Leeds and Notts Forest that the jitters are not getting the better of them.
Another victory taken in added on time. Perhaps the marketing people should be pressing Last Minute dot Com to be sponsors next season. Goals in the 89th minute from Arsenal loan player, Henri Lansbury, and in the 90th minute - his first for Norwich - Andrew Surman, cancelled out Albert Adohma's leveller to Grant Holt's second minute penalty spot opener.
Robins' manager Keith Millen was none too pleased about it. He is reported as saying: "We have to show what we are made of and recover from this quickly. Losing like that in the dying minutes is hard to take and the lads are all down at the moment, but they have to lift themselves, show their character and get back on another winning run."
Well, Mr Millen, that is a failing on your part. Yours is not the first side to have lost points in such a way. You should have had your players fully alert to the possibility of a charge in the dying moments, and stop looking to blame Norwich City for your failure to boost your boys.
The most important thing about Monday night's victory, though, was the very clear message delivered with Grant Holt-like force to the other teams in the chase for automatic promotion. The jitters are manageable at Norwich City. And it isn't going to help by looking for a slip away from home. Norwich City's away from is the best in the Championship, with 31 points to their credit, with QPR in second with 29.
The home form is what has prevented the Canaries topping the table. Uncertainty and a failure to grab the game by the scruff of the neck has meant several sides that really should have gone home with nothing have picked up unexpected points enough to change the fortunes of a lot of clubs.
Such a blip could have proved the only stumbling block to Paul Lambert's boys heading for back to back promotions, and eyes are now focussing on a second successive title. Qpr are only seven points ahead. Last season they overhauled Leeds with a nine point advantage, so it is not aything new to the players who will run through walls for the club.
There was a very decisive victory earlier in the season. It had all the hallmarks of turning Carrow Road into a place for other clubs to fear. Ipswich Town will need time to get over the 4-1 hiding dealt to them that day. Bristol City has restored much of that belief, only missing out by the one goal.
The run in to May 7th will be no cake walk for last season's League One Champions. With 27 points still to play for, this Saturday will see Hull, presently in 9th spot, trying to get into play off contention.
After the International break Carrow Road hosts a Scunthorpe side anxious to fight its way out of the relegation zone. Then, a week later will see Sky Sports Television showing the outcome of a contest between Swansea And Norwich played at The Liberty Stadium.
Three days later, 8th placed Watford, another side anxious to reach the play off places. Then just three days later, Sky will be back at Carrow Road as 6th place Notts Forest come for a victorious visis to East Anglia.
Three games in nine days is a huge hurdle to overcome, especially considering the opposition and the final prize within reach of them all.
For a break from the usual league business, the second part of the Old Farm derby is to be played out at Portman Road. Ipswich Town players will want to make amends to their supporters for the humiliating scoreline earlier in the year at Carrow Road. Will Norwich City let them do it, with such an important competition at the top of the table? Ipswich supporters would just love to spoil Norwich City's party.
Finally, Derby, Portsmouth and Coventry; three sides who each need considerable success between now and then to be more than teams in mid-table obscurity, but with a point to prove by getting one over a side that might well be in the Premier league next season.
All this means that although games remaining are now in single figures, the intent must be to keep the pedal to the metal.
Monday's glorious televised 3-1 victory over Bristol City will have proved to each and every player that the only thing to fear is fear itself. Time, now, to look ahead to holding another cup aloft as you parade around the city. And this time you will face the people of Norwich from the blacony at Cith Hall.
Come On You Yellows
Photo: Action Images
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