Seven minutes of added-on time still found Neil Adams’ Canaries searching for answers in front of goal this afternoon as City were held to a 0-0 draw at Hillsborough.
Once again the post-match stats would favour the Norfolk side as their hosts Sheffield Wednesday found themselves second best on nigh-on every count.
But once again such dominance came to count for no more than a point as City’s summer sharpness where – and when – it mattered deserted them. Skipper Russell Martin probably had one of the best chances; this time his header flew wide and not in a la mid-week – goals continue to elude them.
And whilst any manager would take a point on his travels, such sums make promotion sense if the team is winning regularly at home.
But with Fortress Carrow Road refusing to yield on its side of the bargain, so today’s point at Wednesday found the Canaries slipping further down the play-off pecking order as Bournemouth stole all the headlines with a stunning 8-0 win at Birmingham City.
Someone there will have questions to answer. The one for Adams to field tonight was where are the goals going to come from as a change of both shape and personnel at the break failed to reward Norwich for their overall superiority.
It is now just one win in their last eight outings; the performances are there, just not the points.
“The first ten to 15 minutes we came out of the blocks slowly,” admitted a frustrated City chief afterwards. “We were very slow, sluggish and sloppy – as we told them at half-time.
“But in fairness as the game has gone on, particularly in the second-half, we have done everything.
“Their keeper has been outstanding; made two or three fantastic saves and Russell Martin has had an excellent chance – one that he buried in mid-week.
“The chances were there today; they were mostly very accurate but the keeper has probably put in a man of the match performance.”
For the trip to South Yorkshire, the City chief clearly opted for a more solid, midfield look as he handed Vadis Odjidja-Ofoe a first Championship start in a four that also saw the recall of Bradley Johnson.
With Wes Hoolahan’s ankle ligament injury ruling him out for the next few weeks and Kyle Lafferty suspended, the two players to really miss out were Norwich’s young guns on either flank – Nathan Redmond and Josh Murphy.
Bright and exuberant going forward, the management’s thinking might have focussed more on their relative lack of defensive nous when asked to back pedal.
Either way, Norwich looked set up to secure at least a point come three o’clock – a policy that didn’t appear to change with the arrival of Gary O’Neil at the interval for new boy Odjidja-Ofoe.
That, Adams told BBC Radio Norfolk afterwards, was an enforced change. His injury woes continue to mount. He has a twisted knee to add to his collection.
“He did it after about half an hour and it was troubling him. We had a look at him at half-time and a twist is not great. He’s in a protective brace at the minute and, as always, it will be 24-48 hours to assess that.”
Not great news, but Adams remained upbeat with regards recent results.
“If you had carried the game on, it was only us that was going to get the goal.
“And our performances certainly deserve more. The facts are there that we have won just the once in the last eight, but everyone in the stadium knows we should have won the game today bar some fantastic saves from the keeper.
“If you give me those type of performances then, for sure, a win will be there.”
Of course, in an ideal world they would shut up shop at one end and nick something worthwhile at the other – ensuring that much attention would focus back on the front pairing of Cameron Jerome and Lewis Grabban.
After such a blazing start to their respective Canary careers, both had hit the doldrums of late – and with it Adams’ own managerial star had started to flat-line as supporters looked to their former Youth team boss to relight their fire.
The Canary chief has, in fairness, at least stopped the rot in terms of conceding first-half strikes; Norwich reaching the interval locked at 0-0 as Grabban and Jerome both saw chances come and go.
O’Neil’s arrival at the break was eventually followed by that of England Under-21 star Redmond in the 67th minute as Adams looked to secure all three points with a late injection of pace.
Redmond would force one save, Jerome another as the Canaries continued to enjoy the greater share of the possession albeit without the kind of end product they so enjoyed at the start of the season.
That is what they need more than anything – a finish.