City boss Paul Lambert praised an “outstanding” second-half performance as the Canaries took a huge step to returning to the Championship with a 3-1 win at Huddersfield yesterday.
It was a game of two halves at the Galpharm Stadium, with Lee Clark’s Terriers taking the lead after just two minutes through a Liam Trotman header, but while the league leaders were sluggish in the first period, they stepped it up after the break.
And after a Grant Holt strike and a Stephen Elliott brace, Lambert’s men now sit seven points clear of Leeds United at the top of League One, with the Whites going down to a 1-0 loss at Southampton.
What is more significant, however, is the 12 point buffer to third place after both Charlton and Colchester suffered away defeats. It’s fair to say that it was a perfect day all round and Lambert was a happy man once again.
“I thought we were brilliant,” said the Canary chief, speaking to BBC Radio Norfolk afterwards. “It took us 10 or 15 minutes to get going and to be fair to them they came out of the traps really quickly.
“But after that period I thought we started to get into the game and started to get on the ball. We looked more like ourselves and then in the second-half I thought we were outstanding.
“The lads showed good character not to wilt and they kept on going and saw it through. This is a hard place to come – they’ve not been beaten here all season so I’m proud of what they’ve done and the way we played.
As the table-toppers have proved many times, goals win matches and despite not carving out a huge amount of chances, City found the net three times and that’s all that matters.
Norwich certainly have goalscorers aplenty – with Messrs Holt, Martin and Hoolahan finding the net 61 times between them. And now there’s a new hero in the shape of Elliott, yesterday’s man-of-the-moment.
“We’ve got lads who can score goals,” continued the Scot. “Stephen Elliott came on and everybody saw his pace and what he’s got and he scored two marvellous goals.
“He’s an international player and having nine caps for the Republic of Ireland means you’re not a bad player. I’m absolutely delighted with his contribution as it’s never easy to come into a side that is doing well and try and dislodge someone.
“But Grant’s goal was monumental. It got us back into the game and I thought he was back to his best. Darel Russell coming back in was outstanding and I’m absolutely delighted.
“Grant’s got a great desire to get into the box. It was a terrific ball from Wes [Hoolahan] and Grant got to the front post and it was a terrific finish.”
After that mini-blip a few weeks ago, City are firmly back on the winning trail and just when they needed to step on the gas, the Canaries have done so.
And the support is certainly behind them all the way, with another 3,000 cheering them on in west Yorkshire this weekend.
“We’re playing well at a time in the season where you have to and today we’ve come to a place where the atmosphere is really good. But I’ve got to pay tribute to our fans – for 3,000 supporters to make this journey is great and they have been absolutely colossal for us.
“We’ve got another tough game at Swindon next week but we’ll take thousands down there as well. Our own house at this minute is in order. We’re playing really well at the minute and the crowd are with us which is a major help to us.”
City: Forster; R Martin, Doherty, Nelson, Rose; Smith, Russell, Lappin; Hoolahan; Holt, C Martin (Elliott 61). Subs not used: Rudd, McVeigh, McNamee, Drury, Hughes, Johnson.