City boss Paul Lambert was a thoroughly satisfied man yet again after the Canaries dispatched a lively Millwall side to make it eight home wins in a row.
The 2-0 scoreline was largely thanks to a solid team performance and a majestic individual showing from Wes Hoolahan, who scored one and made another for Grant Holt.
At this level, he really does look a class apart and today was no exception – City’s big hope now will be that they can fend off any January admirers.
And Lambert acknowledged Hoolahan’s role in a success which moves them two points behind Charlton, declaring him “unplayable”, as well as praising his collective unit against the play-off chasing south east Londoners.
“Terrific. I thought the lads were great again and some of the football we’re playing at this minute in time is exceptional.
“Millwall are as good as any team that’s been here, no doubt about that. They had a terrific result last week and we knew it was going to be a tough game.
“It’s Boxing Day, there was a big crowd and sometimes that can be harder because of the expectancy levels. We’ve got to cope with that but again, we delivered.”
He certainly didn’t pull any punches when discussing the mercurial Irishman who, along with Holt, stood out a mile on a cold Boxing Day afternoon.
“He’s brilliant. His performances have been excellent and he’s been unplayable at times. Wes can make things happen and that’s a rare commodity in football these days.
“He hasn’t really changed since I saw him in Ireland but we’ve found a position for him which makes him unplayable at the moment.
“He’s up to 13 goals now and it’s a phenomenal effort; his assists must be high as well. He can finish, there’s no doubt about that, and he goes past people like they are not there at times.”
Despite a comfortable victory in the end, City rode their luck in the opening 45, with Millwall having much of the play. The Lions could have taken an early lead when last week’s derby day hero Danny Schofield darted into the box, only for his shot to be well blocked by Fraser Forster.
Minutes later, Lewis Grabban volleyed over and the visitors were enjoying their share of the possession but as the half wore on, City grew in confidence and stature.
On 21 minutes, a Simon Lappin corner fell to Hoolahan via a Millwall head but his shot deflected over.
But despite plenty of Lions endeavour, the Canaries took the lead on 28 minutes and it was that man Hoolahan again who came up trumps.
Jon Otsemobor – in for the suspended Gary Doherty, with Russell Martin moving into the centre – put in a low cross from the right which the Irishman slammed home.
You could see Millwall heads were down and the goal came at the perfect time for the home side. But to be fair, the south east London outfit continued to huff and puff, with both Schofield and Ali Fuseini posing a threat.
But the Canaries emerged from the half-time break looking the liveliest, even if it took a little while for Lambert’s men to create clear cut openings.
However, on 68, it was a goal of genuine quality – too good for defences at this level – that effectively sealed the contest.
Chris Martin – as industrious as ever in attack – played in Hoolahan on the edge of the box and his sublime chipped cross found the head of Holt, who made no mistake.
City saw out the rest of the game in a thoroughly professional manner, despite Millwall’s attempts to claw their way back in and it’s onwards and upwards for Lambert and Co.
2010 could well be a good year for the Carrow Road club. It’s never dull is it?
Leave a Reply