What I absolutely love about Daniel Farke’s Norwich City is how difficult it is to pick a bog standard “Man of the Match” after any given fixture. In fact, it’s almost always impossible.
Sure I’ve got a personal choice from Saturday’s efficient, gutsy and ultimately crucial performance at the New Den but it’s so close-run it’s verging on the unrealistic. This is a management group, squad, or a team if you like, with seemingly no egos. And it’s bloody lovely to feel a part of it.
Nobody can accuse Millwall of being fey, delicate little creatures. They played to their strengths and used the long ball to quite some effect. The way we were caught out for their equaliser from the corner when we were done by Steve Morison’s cheeky flick and Shaun Williams’ header only served to prove that.
It was the South Londoners’ perfect (and not totally unexpected) response to our opener from everybody’s favourite Mercedes SUV cleaner, the Stieperdude. Onel Hernandez’ work and that exquisite one-two that led to his shot and fell nicely for Marco to despatch with venom could not be more contrasting.
Several previous City teams would have shrunken from the post half-time task. But not this lot.
Buendia’s corner was greeted by our very own BFG. Christoph Zimmermann met it with force and accuracy. They must have strong nets in Bermondsey as it didn’t actually break the back of it. Taste of your own medicine, hoist with your own petard, call it what you will.
Ben Godfrey said afterwards how good it is to have someone to “get their nut on it”. There were shades of Steve Bruce – and even Andy Linighan – about that one.
Cue Millwall upping the ante. We weathered the faltering storm until we achieved a breakaway classic.
Approaching the hallway line Buendia had what looked like an obvious option, eg lay it off to Max Aarons who was in acres of space to his right. But what did Emi do? He split their retreating centre backs with a precision pass to Teemu Pukki through the middle. The speed of thought was admirable.
Pukki’s first touch took their closest defender out of the game and the usual sublime finish followed.
Millwall were done and dusted at that point but they did, to their credit, produce a further barrage. These Lions don’t roll over to be tickled on the tum. Oh no.
Two incredible stops within the same number of seconds from Tim Krul and a trio of judicial substitutions from Farke and we were home and hosed.
There’s social media footage out there of Farke at the end of the match approaching our 3,200 hardy souls in his usual ole manner. Like the roar when Pukki’s goal went in, it’s spine-tingling to watch and listen to.
So now on to our version of the Wars of the Roses – note it didn’t end too well for Richard III in 1485. And he was of the White Rose persuasion.
The omens are good – I’ve fallen asleep in a pub in Leicester but never been buried under a car park.
What would our “floral” equivalent of the Lancastrian red rose be?
The poppy of course.
So with eleven games to go, let’s back the poppy of Norwich against the white roses of Leeds and Sheffield.
Unfortunately samphire can’t be, harvested until the season is over so the poppy it shall be. And if Canaries can vanquish Lions, poppies can overcome a white rose or two.
*For what little it’s worth Emi was my man of the match, with Christoph, Tom and Tim a gnat’s behind.