City Youth team skipper Korey Smith proved an instant hit on his Canary debut this weekend – alas a little too much of a 'hit' for the referee's liking as Norwich kept themselves firmly in the drop zone doo-doo with that 1-0 home defeat by Sheffield Wednesday.
For as much as anyone could work out just what the referee Mike Russell was thinking as he ruled out David Mooney's 84th minute leveller, so the suspicion remained that it might have been Smith's enthusiasm to get on the end of Alan Lee's looping header back across the face of the Owls goal that denied City a share of the spoils.
If that was, indeed, the case then it was very rough justice on the sparky 18-year-old as he settled swiftly into his new, first team surroundings after leading Ricky Martin's FA Youth Cup team to the last eight of this year's competition.
“I went up for the header – and I think me and Moons [Mooney] gambled and went in the box,” he said, as Simon Lappin's deep cross picked out substitute Lee.
“I just jumped and I think two defenders came either side of me; I didn't really see nothing; the ball went into the back of the net.
“And I thought it was a goal.”
As did about 25,000 others. The far linesman thought differently; he thought it was a penalty for a deliberate handball on the line – an infringement that would have seen the guilty Owls defender red-carded. On the basis that Sammy Clingan is one of Norwich's deadlier spot-kick marksman, it could have proved a very lively final ten minutes had the linesman's version of events stood.
As it was, however, the referee brought everyone's celebrations to an abrupt halt as he spotted a foul on keeper Lee Grant.
“I went off celebrating and the ref didn't give it,” said Smith afterwards.
“But we can't just talk about that all the time. We've got to move on now and try and get the points in the last five games.”
He has, at least, got his big game out of the way; he has a Championship appearance to his name.
“It was an important match to come on,” he admitted, with Canary keeper David Marshall describing this weekend's game as a 'must win' occasion.
“Last ten minutes and we're losing and I just went on there and tried to work hard. Kept the ball simple; I thought I did alright.”
He had, he admitted, suffered from a few teenage nerves ahead of his big moment.
“Last night [Friday] I had a few nerves – I had a little gut feeling that I might be involved, but today I was more excited,” said the teenager, who alongside his fellow FA Youth Cup star Tom Adeyemi has the cance now to play his part in Norwich's on-going fight against the drop.
“But when I got told to warm up I was just going on adrenalin – and when you get on the pitch, you just block the crowd out.”
Now, he wants more.
“I've been training all my life to get onto the pitch – it was just such a great experience for me and I was obviously very happy. The downside was that we lost, but hopefully I'll be able to push on now.”
In the meantime, another Canary Academy product was still pinching himself this morning after scoring a goal at Wembley.
Chrissy Martin grabbed the Hatters' crucial, first leveller in the 3-2 win over Scunthorpe in yesterday's Johnstone's Paints Trophy Final – a game watched by City boss Bryan Gunn.
For the on-loan Canary striker it ensured that his roller-coaster ride trhough professional football continued apace as he bagged his 13th goal of the season in front of 40,000-odd gleeful Hatters fans.
“It was nice to score at Wembley, but it was important we get the right result,” the Beccles 20-year-old said afterwards.
“I just made my run inside and lucky enough for me the full-back didn't read it,” he added. “As soon as I saw the ball hanging there I thought get a touch and you're in on goal and thankfully I got a touch and it went in the corner.”
Yesterday's occasion also found the other half of Glenn Roeder's 'Tweedle-Dee and Tweedle-Dum' quip – Republic of Ireland Under19 international Michael Spillane adding two hours of football on the Wembley turf to his experience of the professional game.
Both young men could return to Clney next season fitter, fresher and a whole lot wiser for their year at Kenilworth Road.