A 56th minute penalty from Wes Hoolahan sealed City’s progress into the third round of the Capital One Cup this evening as the Canaries put League One strugglers Scunthorpe United firmly in their place – a-hem, with a 2-1 win.
In fairness, Norwich are through – something that they haven’t always been able to say at this early stage of the season.
Given the fact that Spurs (a) looms next on the Premier League calendar, the fact that the contest ended within the allotted hour and a half is also a plus – sparing the 13,000-odd crowd the agonies of extra-time and penalties.
But if anyone really thought that so many years of cup ‘tradition’ exit-wise would suddenly become a Premier League cruise against the Iron, that notion was firmly nailed on the head when the visitors Mark Duffy levelled Simon Lappin’s opener within two minutes of City taking the lead.
“I think we made it a little hard for ourselves at times, but that’s not taking anything away from Scunthorpe,” Hughton told the club’s official website afterwards – giving the Iron every credit for making Norwich’s life difficult.
“They played a really good brand of football and came here to get a result.”
The disappointment was the Duffy equaliser; to concede within two minutes of Lappin’s opener is not big or clever – it rocks everyone back on their heels and leaves the Faithful merely expecting history to repeat itself.
“I’m really disappointed that we conceded when we were 1-0 up, because I hoped that we’d go and make it a little bit more comfortable for ourselves,” added Hughton. “I would have liked more goals, but you just want to go through to the next round, and that’s what we have done.”
As promised in the run-up to this evening’s clash, the Canary boss rang the changes team-wise with a completely new starting XI for the Iron visit.
With Alexander Tettey’s international clearance still en route, City’s midfield centred on the return of David Fox with Hoolahan, Lappin, and Andrew Surman completing the department.
Similarly Michael Turner, Marc Tierney and Ryan Bennett were given the chance for a spot of post-Fulham rehab with Colney prospect George Francomb in at right-back.
Up-front, Steve Morison and Chrissy Martin were handed welcome game-time after starting the season in the queue behind club skipper Grant Holt and Simeon Jackson. The latter would at least find themselves a place on the bench – just in case their services were needed before the end of proceedings.
In the event, however, it was the midfield four that provided the goals on the night.
Lappin set the ball rolling in the 32nd minute; drilling the ball into the top right-hand corner – a feat that was then matched by Scunthorpe’s Duffy. That wasn’t due to be in the script, but was par for the course when it comes to Norwich’s ability to make a mountain out of a cup-tie mole-hill.
Bottom of League One, without a point to their name, into Norfolk on the back of a 4-0 home defeat at the weekend… Alan Knill’s Iron came straight out of central casting in the mole-hill made mountain department.
Indeed, it took a 55th minute penalty for order to be restored; Hoolahan both winning and converting the spot-kick as he stated his case for White Hart Lane at the weekend – as well as shrugging off his own, pre-season injury niggles.
Whether he gets the starting gig with Mr Tettey now in the building, however, is another matter.