City playmaker Wes Hoolahan admitted that Paulton Rovers simply couldn’t live with the Canaries after the weekend’s 7-0 FA Cup thumping saw them safely through to round two.
The Irishman’s man-of-the-match award, courtesy of ITV’s Andy Townsend, was somewhat controversial, given that Chris Martin found the net four times.
But there was no doubt that Hoolahan was, at times, unplayable – especially in the second half with non-league limbs getting weary.
And after getting on the scoresheet as well – his seventh of the season and fourth in six outings – it was a good day all round for the former Blackpool man.
After a difficult start to the season, in which new boss Lambert cast him aside following his arrival in Norfolk, Hoolahan is now playing at the peak of his powers.
And the 27-year-old was clearly delighted, and relieved, to come away from north Somerset with City’s reputation intact, It’ll be Carlisle or Morecambe (a) next up.
“It was good because it was always going to be a difficult place to come. But we got a few goals at the end while they were getting tired,” he said afterwards.
“The first half was quite tight but it opened up after the break and I think we passed the ball better, moved it quicker and they couldn’t live with us.
“Chrissy [Martin] knocked in four in the last 20 minutes and it was great for him. He’s got the match ball and he’s delighted.”
Despite the convincing scoreline, the first 10 minutes were a nervy time for everyone of a yellow and green persuasion.
The Zamaretto League side were pumping balls into the box and James Tyrell’s shot almost creeped under Declan Rudd’s bar.
If that had of gone in, it might have made for a different contest. And Hoolahan admitted that Norwich were always aware that the watching TV audience were willing on a huge cup upset.
“You never know do you. This is the FA Cup and there are always upsets. In the first 10 or 15 minutes they actually started quite brightly and they got a lot of corners and free-kicks.
“They caused us a few problems in the opening stages but as soon as we got the first and second goals, that killed them off.
“It was always going to be difficult. You’re expected to win but if you lose you’re going to be called everything under the sun.
“It was a big day for them and all their players enjoyed it, getting some of our jerseys at the end. But we won and that was the main thing.”
With City on a red hot run of form, having notched up seven wins in their last eight, confidence will be sky high going into tomorrow’s JPT clash at Swindon.
Then after that, Saturday’s visit of Tranmere Rovers sees a return to League One action, with the Canaries keen to continue their promotion push.
And according to the mercurial Irishman, it all bodes well for the coming weeks…
“We played some nice football, scored some goals and didn’t concede as well so it looks good for the coming weeks. We’ve got some big games coming up in the league and hopefully we can win them.”
One thing that Hoolahan has added to his game this season is goals. And while three of his seven strikes have been penalties, you’ve still got to stick them in.
But after sitting on the sidelines for almost a month following Lambert’s Canary appointment, he is just happy to be getting a regular gig.
His earlier absence from the team does, however, seem crazy given the form he is showing at the present moment.
“Yeah I don’t mind scoring a few goals but I like laying them on as well,” he continued. “I’m just happy I’m scoring and in the team.”
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