If City caretaker boss Jim Duffy thought Lady Luck might be any more kindly disposed towards him than she was to his pal Peter Grant, yesterday's events would have knocked that hope well and truly on the head.
For if Scott Murray's sliced second goal off the base of both uprights three minutes after Darren Huckerby's leveller weren't proof enough as the Canaries slumped to a 3-1 home defeat to Bristol City and duly dropped even further into the relegation mire, Adam Drury's first-half injury merely deepened the caretaker's woes.
It also put his own tactical thinking right under the microscope as far as the 23,000-odd home punters were concerned. And when he came up with Peter Grant-like answers, so their jury started to file out, verdicts in hand.
“Adam's got a knee ligament strain,” reported Duffy afterwards, now faced with the prospect of travelling to both Burnley this Tuesday night and West Bromwich Albion next Saturday with a big situation vacant at left-back.
One that he initially asked the luckess Ian Murray to fill before opting to slam Simon Lappin in that hole after the former Rangers utiltity man found himself at fault for the Robins' opening goal three minutes after the re-start.
“We hope it's just a strain,” said Duffy, with Drury falling victim to his own, whole-hearted block on the half-way line.
“It's typical Adam Drury. Totally committed; gives 100 per cent. He's another very, very important player for us that might be now missing. And I'm not looking to make excuses or anything, but if you are struggling a little bit you need your big characters on the pitch.”
Duffy had at least one big character on the pitch in the shape of the on-loan John Hartson who within the game's opening six minutes could have single-handedly put the contest out of the Robins' reach.
For all that he lacked in both movement and fitness, the 32-year-old did at least have a good idea of where the goal was – if and when the ball was ever delivered to his feet. He also presented Drury with the chance of the game via a superb, cushioned chest down only for the City left-back to blaze horribly over from some 12 yards out.
“We started off well – first-half was decent I thought for the majority of the time. But what you have to try and do obviously is capitalise on that period of the match,” said Duffy, as Norwich were eventually left to rue their generosity in front of goal.
“We had probably three or four very good chances to score – the keeper made a couple of good saves; we missed a couple of relatively easy chances,” said the City caretaker.
“But that's something that I'm not going to be over-critical of because we haven't really been creating chances at all, so it was nice to actually create them. And with a little bit of sharpness and a little bit of confidence then we would have scored one or two goals.”
An opening goal and the world might look an altogether different place this morning. The home faithful were certainly willing Norwich on. But once again, the story come five o'clock was of 'If only's…' If only the Canaries had scored first.
“That makes an enormous difference to the players. And it makes an enormous difference to the crowd, the atmosphere and everything. Because everyone gets a lift.”
Without it and come the second period, the home side were disappearing back into their shells – typically hesitant, angst-ridden and fearful as Bristol City clicked into their own neat little passing game and calmly shrugged off Darren Huckerby's 82nd minute leveller by bagging two late goals of their own as Norwich ended the contest in a complete heap.
“The match doesn't last 45 minutes. It lasts 90. A lapse of concentration at the second-half, we lost a goal and then you're asking questions of the team again. Can they respond to that? And it took us a little while,” admitted Duffy.
“It took us ten, 15 minutes to start to get back into the match again. Bristol City kept the ball and kept us off the ball and we didn't get any supply to the front players.
“But give credit to them, they eventually got themselves back into the game with the equaliser and I think the goal they scored was a bit fortuitous – to say the least. I think he sliced it; he didn't quite catch it right but it went in. And when that went in, it definitely deflated the team.”
The possibility of Jimmy Smith returning for the trip to Turf Moor might – just – inject a little more belief into the squad. But it is asking an awful lot of a 20-year-old to drag this Canary side back from the brink. Particularly at a place like Burnley.
Hartson may be more suited to a Tuesday night at Turf Moor. h emay be many things these days, but he's no shrinking violet with Robins skipper Louis Carey ending the game swathed in a head bandage after his afternoon out with Big John.
“John himself said he should have scored a couple of goals – he knew that. That maybe he had just that little bit of sharpness missing, but he was taking up good positions in the box; getting himself into good areas.
“Not just for himself, but to bring others players into play,” said Duffy.
“We can't be too critical of John. He's come here to maybe try and lift us; to try and give us different options up front which I think he did do today. We know that he's not at the fitness levels that we would hope for, but I still think that we created more chances today in the first 30 minutes than we've created in the last four matches.”
For that, Duffy paid tribute to the work of David Strihavka alongside him. City's top scorer Jamie Cureton remained sat on the bench with Chris Martin replacing Hartson late on.
“I thought David Strihavka played very well; his touch was good; his movement was good. Those parts of it were pleasing.
“And there were some good points in the game, but ultimately it's about results – we know that. And it wasn't good enough.”
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