It had to come, and to be fair to the press pack gathered at Colney the day before, we all predicted that facing Millwall at the New Den could herald the end of Norwich City’s remarkable unbeaten run.
But despite the fact they were well and truly beaten by the Lions, we shouldn’t take anything away from Paul Lambert’s men.
To go 16 games unbeaten is some achievement and it has, of course, put them two points clear at the top of League One with just 16 games left.
But last Saturday, after taking an early lead through a clever Chris Martin free-kick, the table-toppers struggled to cope with the Londoners’ intensity at times, both on the pitch and from the terraces.
And though the effort and commitment was in evidence as always, Kenny Jackett’s men sealed the points through Tony Craig’s deflected shot a Neil Harris header, after City reacted slowly to a short corner.
But with Leeds conceding a late equaliser at Hartlepool in a 2-2 draw and Charlton only gaining a point from their trip to Swindon, it could have been a lot worse.
Millwall look a racing certainly for the play-offs at least and as many predicted, they are having an extremely strong second half of the season, so there is no shame in losing at the New Den.
But it’s how City react that will go a long way to proving whether it was a very minor blip or the start of something more concerning for the Canary Nation.
For what it’s worth, my money is on the former. If they don’t achieve the desired result at Brighton in two days time, then I’ll hold my hands up.
But as far as I can see, this City side have ‘bouncebackability’ and with Grant Holt returning after suspension for this weekend’s clash on the south coast, it should give Norwich the little boost they need.
It may also be the ideal opportunity to freshen things up elsewhere on the pitch – there is a theory that City have become a tad predictable in recent weeks.
Certain opposition have opted to flood the midfield with some success at times. And with plenty of options available, and Anthony McNamee looking sharp during his cameo last weekend, the time could be right to go 4-4-2 and throw him in on the left.
Simon Lappin has played almost every game for Lambert and has done a sterling job. But McNamee looks fresh and hungry and if I was the City boss, I’d think long and hard about giving the former Swindon man his full debut at the Withdean Stadium.
Elsewhere on the pitch, Jens Berthel Askou and Michael Spillane are not a million miles away from a first team return, after another 60 minutes under their belt for the reserves this week, and there have been calls for the Dane to replace Michael Nelson in the heart of the backline.
Nelson has been solid of late but Askou was outstanding until he suffered a metatarsal injury in Decmeber.
And I’d be tempted to restore him to the starting line-up for the trip to Brighton. For me, now is the perfect opportunity for Lambert to breathe some extra life into the Canary XI.
Don’t get me wrong, the Scot has worked wonders and I doubt we’ll see another 16-game unbeaten run – which included 14 wins don’t forget – any time soon.
But with 16 games left, and after last week’s defeat at Millwall, there is a feeling that Brighton (a) represents the start of a final push for honours.
That is why all eyes will be on the Withdean Stadium this weekend – and I fully expect City to make the long trek back with all three points.