Norwich City - 6 Scunthorpe - Alan Knill
Monday, 4th Apr 2011 10:42
Yes, a downright awful pun, but there will be many a Bury supporter enjoying a “told-you-so” moment in light of the hammering Alan Knill’s new side, Scunthorpe suffered at the hands of a rampant Norwich City side.
What do you say? Norwich City did everything that the instructions say before you open the tin. Passes were spot on, players looked to play both on and off the ball, and patient build-up play lured a poorly defence out of position time after time after time after….
There was an anticipation, of course, with Norwich supporters. Liverpool youngster, Dani Pacheco was to make his debut. He was no Lionel Messi, warned manager, Paul Lambert. Perhaps he isn’t, but there is a player in the young Spaniard that Paul Lambert might be willing to hold up banks for to make him a permanent signing. On or off the ball, El Asesino made sure he was in the right position, and that was proved beyond a doubt after he set Grant Holt up for the first of his three goals that afternoon.
Who else stood out? John Ruddy, although he had a quiet afternoon, pulled off a great save when a free kick was awarded to the Iron and it was decided to try to lob Ruddy, well off his line. Back-pedalling like a stunt cyclist, Ruddy pulled off a great save, securing a rare clean sheet for City.
Marc Tierny, who once famously declared he would never play for Norwich City, played well for Norwich City almost adding to the score sheet but Scunthorpe “keeper”, Joe Murphy was able to turn round the post.
Laza-Russell Martin had yet another great game. Just like Lazarus, Martin has managed to prove to those that doubted his ability that he has life in him still. His presence was a threat, especially considering Scunthorpe players were more than likely warned to watch out for Martin’s pace and ability to fire is shots on target like an Exocet missile from 25 yards out.
Zak Whitbread was another class, and well done Lambert for realising it. It has been a long while since Norwich City had a play-maker the likes of Craig Fleming or Malky MacKay, but along with Elliot Ward, the pair not only defended well, but distributed the ball in penetrating ways.
David Fox, Andrew Surman, Andrew Crofts and Wes Hoolahan weaved webs of skill around a dumbstruck Scunthorpe side. Warned before their visit to Carrow Road that Wes Hoolahan was the man to look out for, Scunthorpe were either blind to, or ignored the skills of the rest of the midfield diamond.
Grant Holt put in yet another shift where the beads of sweat on his brow were tinged with specks of blood. The starting line-up was so tight together you couldn’t have slipped a cigarette paper between them.
At three-nil up, Paul Lambert rang the changes; with Henri Lansbury replacing Wes Hoolahan, Grant Holt was given a rest to allow Sam Vokes to make his first appearance since coming in on loan from Wolves, and Simeon Jackson replaced Dani Pacheco.
It would have been completely understandable if the foot was lifted from the pedal a tad, but the replacements all wanted to mark the occasion with more than just running the clock down. Arsenal youngster Henri Lansbury took the game by the horns and made sure that the action would not end. Apart from actually scoring, Lansbury had a big hand in the second hat trick of the afternoon, all coming by way of Simeon Jackson. Will those three goals now silence the critics?
Two ex-Canaries turned out for the visitors. There was Andy Hughes, that throw-back to the swan song era of Nigel Worthington, and Michael Nelson, who was sold to Scunthorpe just before the deadline in January closed another transfer window. Hughes’ welcome was… well, it was difficult to tell if they were boos or “Hoos”, as he once was cheered by the Barclay Stand. No doubt about Michael Nelson, though. His welcome was warm enough. The score line for him, though, must have given him a chill as his new team sit at the bottom of the table, eight points clear of safety.
There will be calming words from Paul Lambert in the days ahead. There is still a long way to go, and against good sides like Swansea, Watford, Forest and Portsmouth, while sides like Coventry and Derby have pride to play for. While there may be some nerves over a result at the Liberty Stadium next Saturday, a point is enough to keep a hold on the number two spot with a cushion of an additional point.
The cushion will be handy to have when the Old Farm return fixture is held at Portman Road. Ipswich Town supporters will expect their side to hand out a hammering to get revenge for their 4 – 1 drubbing at Carrow Road, witnessed by a BBC TV audience.
So, what are the odds now? Top of the League at Portman Road?
Photo: Action Images
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