A two goal blitz in as many, second-half minutes fired the Canaries to the top of the SkyBet Championship this evening as struggling Blackpool were brushed aside 3-1.
As is their wont, Neil Adams’ men proved slow, if solid starters in a lukewarm opening 45 minutes.
And, indeed, after slipping a goal behind immediately after the restart needed a helping hand from Lady Luck as Donervan Daniels levelled the scores via an own goal on 54 minutes.
But ten minutes from the end of normal time, goals from first Lewis Grabban and then substitute Josh Murphy delivered another three, big points on the road for Adams’ men.
It took the Canaries to the top of the table – something few would have thought possible after that opening day defeat at Wolves when the knives were starting to sharpen for the former Youth team boss whose appointment at the fag end of last season appeared to be back to the days of little ol Norwich.
Right now, however, and Adams’ managerial repute is soaring – even if the Canaries did produce their traditional early cup exit at Shrewsbury in mid-week. For the 1,400 fans who made the trip to the far North-West, the trip M6
The manager was swift to give the credit to his players afterwards. He would appear to know how to get a dressing room ticking. And in Messrs Grabban and Jerome he has sorted out the issue of goals – at least at this level.
The pair are already on course to grab 20-goals apiece this season – reason enough to believe that Norwich’s return to the riches of the Premier League maybe sooner rather than later as Forest’s 0-0 home draw with Brighton allowed City to ascend the summit on their own.
“It’s nice – really good,” admitted Adams afterwards, with City having barely a breather before they entertain Charlton back at Carrow Road. Time to cement that place at the top of the tree.
“I’ve always said your home form keeps you in divisions. Your away form wins you league titles and earns you promotions and things,” said the City chief, who continues to win the doubters round by the sheer force of his results. Wolves apart, Norwich have flown out of the blocks points-wise even if they have lacked certain levels of consistency over the course of individual 90 minutes.
Today was a ‘Steady Eddy’ type effort as Adams and his coaching team work towards the Canaries grinding out results – particularly away from home. First and foremost, don’t lose a game is a widely-held managerial mantra. Swash-buckling roller-coasters aren’t always to a manager’s taste.
“It wasn’t a classic for the supporters, but for a manager that’s had a few palpitations in a few games this season, perfect for us. Apart from that goal just after half-time.”
Cut out the dangerous excesses. It is going to be a long, gruelling road back to the top flight of English football. It might not be pure entertainment all the way.
“If you’d offered me the performance and the score-line at 0-0 at half-time – with us in control of the game – then I would have taken it,” he added, speaking to BBC Radio Norfolk afterwards.
“That’s what we want. Not entertaining; not exciting; pretty dull. Perfect. But you come and watch us and you get your money’s worth. Today it wasn’t a classic – a Cardiff or a Brentford when you’re on the edge of your seats. It was so-so. But we got what we wanted.”
Today’s events also proved the depth of the squad at Adams’ disposal as Jonny Howson made a welcome re-appearance for the game’s latter stages, though much attention was focussed on the impact that Adams’ former FA Youth Cup starlet Murphy had on his arrival for a lukewarm Wes Hoolahan.
This season has yet to find the long-standing fans’ favourite firing on every cylinder; ‘tiredness’ being cited as one of the issues.
Something that you could not lay at the door of Master Murphy who clearly brings the exuberance of youth to the party. And now has his first league goal to show for his efforts.
“I think it was 1-1 when I brought him [Murphy] on and we thought we want to go on and win the game.
“We wanted a little bit of width; a little bit more pace. Wes [Hoolahan] had done nothing wrong; was looking lively. But he stretched them just that little bit more.”
With games arriving thick and fast, that depth of squad is going to prove a huge advantage for the Norfolk club and in his two strikers have boys bang in form. He also has Gary Hooper gradually returning from injury. Today, however, he was to be found enjoying the golf at the Ryder Cup.
He was, said the manager, “75-80% off maximum”; his fitness levels will be topped up again in an Under-21 outing on Monday.
If we’re sitting pretty, top of the league, having not really hit top gear for 90 minutes, someone, somewhere, is going to get a severe beating when we do. For the moment let’s enjoy the feel good factor.
The playing side of the club seems to be very positive now; and the real decision making cadre deserve credit for the managerial appointment and for squad retention/rebuilding.
BUT: can our great club with its fantastic and unswervingly loyal support accept that Stephen Fry, now he has been completely open about his morality and behaviour, is fit and proper to be one of our Directors, let alone an ambassador for NCFC. Does he really reflect our culture? and can we be rely on him not adding the Directors’ Box at Carrow Road to his unique bucket list?
Andy W says
I was skeptical when Adams was appointed, but he seems to have a created a positive atmosphere around the squad, which will be needed as 46 games will be a challenge.
Am I alone in finding it odd that Hooper was off at the Ryder Cup?
Ian Lamedi says
The theme continues – great result from an average (6-7/10) performance. The Tangerines are no mugs at home, holding the Wolves 0-0.
Surely, Wes can’t be still using the ‘tiredness’ excuse for another sub-par performance? Maybe time for a tactical reshuffle to inject power and pace in the first half of a game.
Small correction – the OG was by Donervon Daniels. Donervan is a mobile takeaway meat vehicle presumably?
Dani Smeal says
Andy(2) – no me too. I find it odd that anyone in the right mind would want to spend their downtime watching pampered multi-millionaires knocking a ball around..hang on, that could apply to football also!
If Rik meant that Hooper was actually at Gleneagles and I was one of GH’s club mates who had put a shift in yesterday on the NW coast, I would be a little ‘narked’ that he had gone on a jolly on game day.
I still think he wants off and the January window can’t come soon enough for him and his agent.
Stewart Lewis says
The forthcoming home games represent a great opportunity for us. If we’d put out our key players at Shrewsbury, we’d go into the next games at a significant disadvantage – our players having played 5 games in quick succession, which neither Charlton nor Rotherham have done. But because of Neil’s selections, we’re on an even physical par with them and our quality should come through.
Ian Lamedi says
Re: Sapper(2) – normally, honesty is the best policy but Fry has made a large rod for his own back to flog a few more books. I’d love to be a fly on the wall next time he meets with the other board members. His actions must have consequences.
Good to see Ricky opening his account in Ligue 1 – fine finish too but is it just a one-hit wonder again?
Re Ian Lamedi : I wd not of course promote dishonesty, but have serious concerns about accepting that this man should continue to be held up as a Canary role model, particularly with regard to possible influence on young and maybe impressionable people.
Would any other employee of/contractor to NCFC get away with boasting of this behaviour? I hope not.
A fly on the wall at the Board could tell us how many comfort breaks crop up.
RVW failed to make the starting 11 tonight.
Stewart Lewis says
Sapper (2) and Ian (7): for clarification, can you spell out what you’re so concerned about and think is a problem? His depression? Past drug use? Sexuality? Thanks
Ian Lamedi says
Stewart(9) – appreciate the opportunity to clear up your confusion. Sexuality – no issue, mental health – empathise greatly, repeated use of a class A drug in public buildings – that would be the nub.
Having chosen to make his ‘nasal sherbet adventures’ public, he has to be prepared to receive the flack which is coming his way. It would be QI to know if you think these voluntary revelations are just amusing titillation and not a very good reason for the club to seriously consider his continuing patronage?
Dave B says
@9 Stewart. Stephen’s depression or sexuality are not news to anybody and I don’t think anyone has suggested they’re reasons not to be on the board of directors at Norwich.
However, his recent announcement of doing cocaine in inappropriate places (and Sapper’s mention of the Directors box indicates this as his issue) could be seen as not in alignment with Norwich’s values.
I’m a big Fry fan. I count Stephen Fry’s America as a major factor in my move to the US and my honeymoon location was picked specifically because it was featured in that series. Personally I don’t care what he does on his own time. But when you advertise it publicly to earn a few quid, I can’t help feeling he shouldn’t get a pass where others wouldn’t because he is famous, funny, or eccentric.
Re:Stewart Lewis : its simply the rejoicing in illegal narcotic consumption, and giving it a flavour of “celebritised” acceptability. No reprobation whatsoever.
Is that the NCFC brand/image? maybe it is now.
Stewart Lewis says
Ian/Dave/Sapper: thanks for comments, and I understand the concern if he’s glamorising or cashing in on his drug-taking. I’m clearly at a disadvantage to you because I haven’t read the book, but that would be highly uncharacteristic of Stephen. He usually writes about his problems and tribulations in order to help others going through the same thing.
I know him to be a generous and sympathetic man, but if what you say is true, I agree it’s disappointing.
Dave B is spot on .
Ian Lamedi says
Stewart-13: “Disappointing” is one thing but no opinion on whether it should have further implications on his position at NCFC?
His ‘national treasure’ status seems to have given him an impenetrable veil of protection from further action – no one should be untouchable as recent events with other ‘treasures’ indicates.
I think this article splendidly summarises the situation;
Stewart Lewis says
Sapper (14): I understand. I’ve read about the book contents, of course; I’m just not quite sure about the motivation. His past record makes me hesitate to brand him as ‘advertising it publicly to earn a few quid’ – but you and Dave B may be right, in which case it’s a big disappointment. Cheers
Ben K says
And, he can’t tell P Diddy from Kanye West.