Phew! When Paul Tierney blew that final whistle on Saturday the relief was audible, tangible and celebrated by absolutely every Canary in the ground.
To me this was encapsulated by Tim Krul and Todd Cantwell enjoying the most heartfelt man-hug since Oliver Reed grappled with Alan Bates in Ken Russell’s Women in Love. At least Tim and Todd had the decency to keep their clothes on.
Krul went to the perimeters pumping fists like Tyson Fury in his pre-fight warm-up and Daniel Farke celebrated in his favourite manner with the Barclay. Something we’ve not indulged in at the Carra since September.
And we got our first Carrow Road clean sheet of the season.
You could take the Shearer/Wrighty MotD view that neither ourselves or Bournemouth will survive the drop but on Saturday’s evidence, we have a sliver of a chance. Bournemouth do not. They were awful, really awful.
The last time I saw a team in red and black play that badly was in the Son Moix when Real Mallorca were beaten 4-0 at home by Atletico Madrid. And that was so long ago that Samuel Eto’o was playing for the diablos rojos and a certain Fernando Torres was strutting his stuff for Atleti.
This south coast ineptitude was best summed up when Callum Wilson slipped from the only clear-cut chance they had from open play. Okay the cross was slightly behind him and Zimbo put his leg across him but that was the only chance they had until Nathan Ake put in a good header from a corner that Krul dealt with superbly towards the end.
Otherwise, for once, we seemed to grasp the concept of game management – at least until Ben Godfrey got his marching orders anyway.
I felt that Mr Tierney’s original decision of a yellow was correct at the time, but obviously seeing it on the TV later I now know differently. But at least it was decided by a pitchside monitor which to me is far superior to the Stockley Park mob as the actual match official makes the revised decision, not them. I wasn’t over-impressed with Mr Tierney but it must be said he got that one right.
Why doesn’t the VAR controller offer every decision to the referee this way with no funny pen lines? It beats me.
Of course, if Teemu Pukki had put the match to rest when he was one-on-one with Cherries keeper Aaron Ramsdale, the Godfrey incident would have been less relevant, if you see what I mean.
We had heroes on the day and I’ll single out a few of them for what it’s worth.
Cantwell was the recipient of the matchday sponsors’ man of the match award although I felt it should have gone to Emi Buendia who surely added a couple of £million to his worth with that performance. It was a shame he couldn’t convert that free header from a cross from the lively and excellent Max Aarons in the first half. It is almost impossible to believe he has yet to score a Premier League goal.
Krul was the Krul we have grown to love and old-stager Alex Tettey put in a shift. We’ll forget that off-target volley and his habit of straying too far away from Mayor Kenny [who also acquitted himself well] at times.
And then there’s Ondrej Duda. Possibly the best NCFC debutant I’ve seen since Marc Libbra scored against Man Citeh exactly 11 seconds after coming off the bench. If he and Pukki further develop their embryonic understanding, who knows what might yet happen?
The makeup of our bench was interesting too. No Stieperdude, no Mario Vrancic and no Mo Leitner. However, all three may yet have a part to play next season. Particularly if the still seemingly inevitable happens.
Anyway, such was my adrenaline rush as I left the ground after the Farke salutes, I completely forgot the details of a very poignant statement that the admirable Mr Stevenson – who sits behind me in the Upper Barclay — made immediately prior to kick-off. I still can’t accurately recall it well enough to incorporate it in this article but it was a good speech – next time mate!
This is the slipperiest of slopes but we’re just about standing on it.