City defender Gary Doherty revealed that all the pre-match hype passed them by, after the Canaries swept aside their East Anglian neighbours Colchester 5-0 at the weekend.
It was quite an occasion in north Essex, with the return of Paul Lambert to his former club just one sub-plot in a fascinating encounter.
But with all the pre-match excitement, including plenty of talk from U’s chairman Robbie Cowling regarding the on-going compensation row, Norwich did their talking on the pitch.
The U’s seemed to freeze whereas the Canaries rose to the challenge. And however much Lambert wanted to get one over on his former employees, he didn’t let the build-up affect his squad.
“He didn’t really let it filter down to us. He obviously emphasised the importance of the three points though and we need to keep that run going now.
“We didn’t feel any extra pressure. They [Colchester] were building it up as a massive game and it was second versus fourth. And to come away with a 5-0 win is a great result for us.
“It puts a lot of pressure on them now to win those games in hand. Hopefully now we can put the pressure on Leeds.”
The U’s success – coupled with Leeds’ 2-0 capitulation at Exeter – means that City find themselves just three points off the summit of League One.
And after successfully overtaking Phil Parkinson’s Charlton, they now have the Yorkshire giants in their sights.
“That’s the plan. We’ve been chasing teams now, chasing down Charlton and Huddersfield and now Leeds are the only ones we’ve got to chase. They’re the ones who are above us and they’re the ones we’re after.”
What made the derby revenge even more satisfying was that Lambert’s men had to do it on a sodden Weston Homes Community Stadium pitch, after consistent rain for two days.
If the match had been postponed or abandoned, no one could have really have argued. It was that bad.
“The pitch was poor – it wasn’t their fault, what with the weather and everything – and it was all about putting in a good performance and getting the points because they’ve got games in hand.
“It was extremely hard – you didn’t know whether it was going to zip off the pitch or just die in a puddle.
“You really had to be focused but I thought our finishing was great. Chrissy Martin’s two goals in the first-half were terrific as was Grant Holt’s fifth. We’re over the moon.”
Doherty’s finish to make it 3-0 wasn’t too bad either and after netting his sixth of the season, the former Eire international has clearly got his shooting boots on this season.
“When it dropped to me I thought I’m just I’m going to hit it as hard as I can and it flew in the top corner.
“I was going to jump in the crowd but then I thought, because I’m on a booking, I can’t really be doing that.”
For Doherty, the 5-0 thumping was a pretty good day all round. To get his name on the scoresheet and gain revenge over their opening day conquerors in such a ruthless fashion was clearly very sweet.
Had there been a more satisfying 90 minutes of football for the ‘Ginger Pele’?
“Probably not, in all my days as a footballer to be honest,” he said afterwards. “We wanted to come here and put on a good show.
“We’ve been saying how important the three points were, with them being on our coattails, and to get the five goals was delightful.”
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