Defeated Tykes boss Simon Davey reached for one of football's older cliches as he tried to explain how the heroes of Anfield one week can go to the villains of Carrow Road the next.
Quizzed as to whether he thought that Saturday's 1-0 defeat against the Canaries was a fair result, the 37-year-old Barnsley boss pointed to two big moments in the first-half when Jon Otsemobor's goal-line clearance and a fine save from David Marshall denied the visitors an early strike.
And once stand-in City skipper Jamie Cureton had finished his half-chance with such aplomb, so it all became a whole new ball game for Liverpool FA Cup fifth round conquerors.
“In the first-half we had a lot of possession and had two very good chances which we didn't put away – and goals change games,” said the former Oakwell Academy chief.
“Norwich have had one chance; it's a first class finish; it's gone in the back of the net and we're chasing the game.”
Barnsley – FA Cup heroics aside – arrived in Norfolk with just one Championship away win to their name all season and bar a regulation save from substitute Jon Macken late in the game never really unduly troubled Marshall again.
Had the latter's rush of the blood to the head coupled with Daniel Nardiello's poked finish eluded the covering Otsemobor then it might have been a wholly different story. As it was, however, everyone returned to type after the previous weekend – Barnsley slipping to their 11th away defeat after the famous Anfield success and Norwich racking up their fifth 1-0 win of Glenn Roeder's reign after that 4-0 horror show at the Walkers Stadium.
“In the second-half we had to open up the game to get more players on and the game became an open game – end-to-end. But I still think Luke (Steele) has only had one save to make [Lee Croft's 90th minute effort from a Darren Huckerby run] and probably had the lion's share of the possession as well. So on reflection, probably not a fair result.”
He also claimed a big penalty appeal as Martin Devaney tangled with City man-of-the-match Alex Pearce on the corner of the Canary box. Half a dozen of one; six of the other would be the majority verdict.
But having seen a stone-wall penalty appeal waved away in front of The Kop the previous weekend only for Tykes' skipper Brian Howard to humble Liverpool seconds later, he was not about to complain too long and loud.
“I thought Martin was taken down in the box, but as I've said before it was the same as last week – we didn't get it and I'm not going to moan about those decisions. It was a hard one to call, really.
“But we had a lot of balls in the right areas in the second-half, but it just didn't fall to us. And when we did have chances we lacked that clinical finish. And Norwich had that one, clinical finish and they've taken the three points.”
It was all back to earth with a bump, he admitted. Last week they were the toast of the English game; this week they were just toast as Norwich made it just one defeat in 15 games and ensured that they were still en route – in theory – to a big, grandstand finish to a quite extraordinary season.
“It is difficult to swallow,” he said. “When you got to Anfield and beat the five-times European champions and then you come away from home and you don't get a result at Norwich.
“So it's a reality check. The players have had that today,” he said, his thoughts clearly yet to turn to that home clash with Chelsea in a 12 days time.
“This is where the players earn their wages – in this division. The cup is an extra thing. And we need to start winning some games.”
It was another double for Roeder amd Co after that superb 3-1 away win at Oakwell in which the Canaries really hit top gear in that second period. This weekend and a much-changed City side never quite hit such heights performance-wise. Result-wise, however, and coming on the back of that 4-0 defeat at Leicester it was right up there with the best of them.
Roeder would go further in that having had to make so many changes to his side, it was the “most satisfying” yet of his Norwich career. For Davey, it was simply back to the drawing board away from home.
“We are where we are because of our away form,” he said. “And luckily we've got two home games coming up.”
His weekend was hardly helped by the sight of his strapping midfielder Anderson de Silva departing on a stretcher having 'jarred' his knee. The 25-year-old was due to have a scan on it today; his participation in that Chelsea game clearly in considerable doubt.
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