City boss Paul Lambert believes justice was done after the Canaries snatched a late winner at Scunthorpe’s Glanford Park yesterday afternoon.
The game looked to be heading for a goalless draw until skipper Grant Holt expertly headed a Simon Lappin cross into the net with the contest deep into injury time.
And it was only what Lambert’s men deserved. They didn’t exactly ‘dominate’ – after all, Michael Nelson had to make a saving tackle to deny Jonathan Forte just before Holt popped up with the winner.
But they certainly looked the most threatening and Lambert is delighted that those first league points are on the board. If you are fussed about league tables with the Championship still in its infancy, City are up to 10th as a result of yesterday’s success.
“It was a terrific goal,” he told BBC Radio Norfolk afterwards. “The cross was great and it was a terrific header as well. I thought we deserved to win and we got on top of them really well.
“Scunthorpe are a good side and they won’t get beat many times here. You can see why they are hard to beat at their place but I thought we were excellent right from the off.
“We defended strongly when we had to defend and some of our attacking play was excellent. Andrew Crofts was brilliant for me and I thought the whole team were great.”
The Scot re-jigged things in the engine room with Crofts moving to the base of the famous ‘diamond’ – and it worked. David Fox made way as Korey Smith retained his place, with Andrew Surman coming back in for Lappin. And Lambert – although hindsight is a wonderful thing – got it right, not for the first time.
“Yes, but I thought all over the pitch we were excellent,” continued the Canary chief, always keen to deflect any praise coming his way.
“The front two lads were a handful the whole game and Wes does what he does best and creates havoc for the opposition at times. I was delighted with the way we played.”
Hoolahan was especially industrious playing ‘in the hole’ behind Holt and Chrissy Martin and Lambert believes that he doesn’t get enough credit for this side of his game.
Since the former Celtic hero arrived at the helm a year ago, Hoolahan has improved the defensive side of his role, and the Dubliner’s boss was happy to praise him after yesterday’s performance at Glanford Park.
“I don’t think people see that side of his game but he’s a really fit lad. He’s a terrific footballer going forward but he also does his fair share of the defensive duties.
“I think you have to do that in the modern day game but as I’ve said, I thought the whole team were excellent and well worthy of winning the game.
“It’s great to get that first win on the board. We spoke about Watford but we did well the other night against Gillingham and we looked really good here.”
Lambert saved his final words for the goal hero and everyone of a yellow and green persuasion will be delighted that the skipper is back fit, after a summer of ankle and thigh problems.
There are some doubts outside of Norfolk as to whether he can shine in the second tier. But it would take a brave man to bet against the former Forest man banging in his fair share in 2010/11. Grant Holt and Norwich City are clearly a match made in heaven.
“You saw it all last season, he has a great desire to get himself into goalscoring positions and it was a terrific header.”
City: Ruddy; R Martin, Nelson, Ward, Drury; K Smith, Crofts, Surman (Askou 90+2); Hoolahan (Lappin 88); C Martin (Jackson 80), Holt. Subs not used: Rudd, Fox, Johnson, McNamee.
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