By Norwich’s less than illustrious standards, tonight’s Capital One Cup second round clash with lowly Bury proved something of a breeze. Something of a breeze; it was not all plain sailing.
As, by rights, it should have been given that the Shakers currently sit 16th in League Two.
Though this being Norwich, league position rarely counts for anything. Indeed, you don’t even have to be a professional league club to cause a cup upset against the Norfolk side.
So, tonight’s 6-3 success proved something of an exception rather than the usual rule cup-wise as goals from Martin Olsson, Anthony Pilkington, two for new striker Johan Elmander, the fifth for Leroy Fer and the sixth for second-half substitute Steven Whittaker swept the Premier League side comfortably into the third round draw – even if the night’s entertainment offered a certain reminder of cup upsets past when a game Bury side pulled a goal back 18 minutes from the end of normal time.
And would add a second and, indeed, a third before a topsy-turvy night was out.
Before, after and in-between, the Canaries would hit the goal-trail with unfamiliar abandon; for those that made the trip to Carrow Road on a sultry summer’s night, there was much to feast on.
And much to debate for those that liked their glasses half-empty; conceding three goals against a League Two side wasn’t particularly big or clever.
Certainly boss Chris Hughton could hardly accused of stinting team-wise, as he went into cup battle with a pretty formidable starting XI – including three starters from the KC on Saturday, club skipper Russell Martin, Dutch Under-21 international Fer and midfield star Bradley Johnson.
There was a recall for Wesley Hoolahan and a first start for Elmander, whilst the sight of team skipper Sebastien Bassong partnering Ryan Bennett at the heart of the City back four would have been welcomed all round after his summer injury niggles.
Likewise Robert Snodgrass got to stretch his groin again, as Hughton made full use of this evening’s cup outing to top up his squad’s match fitness.
And, in fairness, they took full advantage against their visitors, driving into a comfortable 2-0 lead within a half hour.
Olsson was the first to strike with a crisp, 20-yard effort off a smart Elmander touch, before Pilkington doubled Norwich’s advantage some eight minutes later; this time of a Hoolahan assist.
Six minutes after the re-start and Norwich put themselves straight into the third round hat as Elmander grabbed his first goal in Canary colours – the former Bolton Wanderers star enjoying the last laugh over the Trotters’ Lancashire neighbours.
Bury’s 72nd minute strike from Anton Forrester brought an immediate response as Elmander’s second goal of the night restored City’s three-goal cushion. Which was promptly reduced to two again as William Edjenguele made it 4-2.
Cue Fer’s first goal in Norwich colours to take the contest wholly out of the Shakers’ reach; Hoolahan adding another assist as the 23-year-old Dutchman signed off for the night with a right-foot finish.
Still the goals came. No6 went to Whittaker – only recently arrived off the bench. Snodgrass once again the provider. It was goal No2 for the Scottish international defender; now joint top of the early goal-scoring charts with Mr Elmander.
No3 for the Shakers came two minutes into added on time from Jessy Reindorf as the visitors signed off with one, final moment to savour before their long haul home.