City boss Paul Lambert labelled his side “incredible” after they came from a goal behind to earn a 2-1 victory at Walsall last night.
The Canaries were not at their best on a heavy pitch and after Troy Deeney put the Saddlers ahead in the opening 45, City were facing their first defeat since October.
But they somehow managed to find an extra gear and Chris Martin’s 77th minute tap-in, after Clayton Ince failed to cut out a corner, and Cody McDonald’s volley with only five minutes remaining sent them three points clear at the top of League One after Leeds went down 3-0 at Swindon.
Add Charlton’s home defeat to Leyton Orient on Monday night to the mix and it’s been a good couple of days for the Norfolk club.
And Lambert yet again only had praise for his players. Character, spirit and resilience were certainly the buzz words after last night’s showing at the Banks’s Stadium.
“Honestly, they’ve been incredible,” said a clearly delighted Paul Lambert, speaking to BBC Radio Norfolk after the game.
“They were dead on their feet after Saturday on a pitch that was really heavy. But it was a big, big effort and what a result that was.”
With just 15 minutes left on the clock and City struggling to create chances, even a point looked unlikely with Chris Hutchings’ men trying to force a second.
And the Canary chief admitted that at that point, he would have taken a draw. As it turned out, his team went one better to put clear daylight between them and the chasing pack.
“Yes, you would have taken a point – Walsall are a good side. Chris has got them well organised and it’s a difficult place to come and play.
“There was a bit of tiredness about and that sort of thing but I thought we were terrific.”
After Saturday’s bold move to a 3-4-2 formation after Grant Holt’s sending off against Brentford, it was another tactical decision that worked wonders in the West Midlands, with Anthony McNamee and goal hero McDonald making an impact from the bench.
And with 18 games still left to go, City will need plenty of extra sparkle when things aren’t quite going their way.
Last night, those two provided it, as well as an inspirational last period from tormentor-in-chief Wes Hoolahan.
“Yes, they made a difference. It’s been very tough for a lot of the lads to get in to the team but Anthony and Cody came on and did well; they were excellent.
“I thought Cody looked really lively when he came on, as did Anthony as well. Considering what happened on Saturday, playing for a lot of the game with 10 men, for the lads to go again was great.
“We were well backed again as well and they are coming in their droves, taking time off work and everything, it is greatly appreciated. I’m delighted for the fans and the players.”
Leeds’ shock defeat in Wiltshire certainly rounded off a satisfying evening but Lambert refuses to get too worried about what their promotion rivals are up to.
All that the Scot can influence is the fortunes of Norwich City. Everything else will take care of itself.
“All we can do is try and win our games,” continued Lambert, only one win away from a second consecutive manager of the month award.
“Leeds are a really good side – they’ve been to Old Trafford and won and had an unbelievable result on Saturday as well at Tottenham.
“There is a country mile to go but we’ve put ourselves in a position where we’re in the mix.
“This is a tough place and I’d say it’s one of the toughest ones to get anything from. Chris has got a really good side here.”
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