City boss Glenn Roeder summed up tonight's events with one, simple sentence.
“Daylight robbery – we gave them two early Christmas presents,” said the Canary chief simply, after watching his Norwich side slip to an ill-deserved 2-1 defeat to fellow strugglers Watford.
Both Hornets' goals were of the soft variety; Tommy Smith's 63rd minute winner made that much more painful by the fact that Lee Croft had rightly levelled just two minutes earlier.
Either side, Norwich again forced the ball well; kept Watford on the back foot. But without ever getting their due reward goals-wise.
“They haven't beaten us; we've beaten ourselves,” said Roeder, whose plans to put Carl Cort on the bench were thwarted by international red tape.
Adam Sadler was, indeed, at work in the City technical area; Wes Hoolahan was missing with a heavy cold. The whole squad will now stay down in the Thames Valley ahead of Saturday's Reading game.
“It's not a case of what Watford did to us; it's what we did to ourselves,” added Roeder, as the Canaries failed to capitalise result-wise on that famous derby win. And as ever, there were plenty of what-might-have beens. City played well; performance levels were good.
“It's so frustrating because there was some excellent performances out there.
“Some really terrific performances from our lads and there's nothing to criticise them about – the amount of possession, the amount of crosses we've had, the balls into the box, the opportunities that we've had… To have not held on to at least that 1-1 scoreline is very poor.”
Lita could have opened the scoring as early as the third minute as he found himself alone some eight yards out – and all on the end of a Jon Otsemobor free-kick.
His subsequent header was not what the opportunity demanded as it bounced up, away and beyond Scott Loach's left upright.
Otsemobor himself almost bagged a goal himself with a neat, glancing header from a whippy, David Bell free-kick that floated just beyond the near post, while Gary Doherty would see a decent diving header be blocked en route.
So much for the bright, positive stuff. On the negative side, there was the small matter of Priskin's 16th minute opener which had it's usual share of comedy value.
David Marshall's miscued goal-kick found Liam Bridcutt angling his instinctive header into the Hungarian's path and with the City rearguard caught conveniently off balance so the Hornets striker calmly pocketed his chance in off the far post.
On the balance of play – both before and immediately after the break – it was rough justice on the visitors.
Their reward arrived just after the hour mark as Croft found himself wholly unmarked some six-yards out as Matty Pattison's pin-point cross fell slap onto his forehead. Head and ball down, the City winger made it two in two as the Canaries hauled themselves level for, oooh, all of two minutes.
For there was Hornets skipper Smith stepping inside the corner of the Norwich box to drill a low effort inside the far upright and beyond Marshall's despairing – and possibly ill-timed – drive. It was his 11th strike of the season – a statistic that tells its own story as far as Norwich are concerned.
Once again, Norwich were going to have to score three goals to win a game having conceded two.
Whether as far as the 1,123 travelling City fans were concerned this all left Norwich right back where they started again before events of Sunday is probably one for the long journey home.
They are now plus Cort, minus Lee Clark and back below Watford in the table. And all with an away trip to Reading next on the agenda.
But they played brightly enough; if still with that soft centre defensively. Just going to be a long and painful slog this winter – as all of us always expected it to be.
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