Despite the postponement of the glamour tie that is Palace away on boxing day, we still ended up in a relatively healthy position after the first half of the festive programme. Our victory over Sheffield United on Monday, combined with Cardiff’s festive stuffing at Watford and Andy O’Brien’s simply epic brace of own goals that denied Leeds three points against Pompey, has left us one solitary point off the automatic promotion places.
Our efforts in the latter stages of Monday’s game, turning a loss into a draw and eventually into an impressive win could prove to be vitally important come May. It was another example of a win gained from a negative position, which rarely occurred with such obvious desire and drive under previous regimes. Whilst browsing the forums I found an almost perfect summary, I couldn’t put it better myself so I give you Brandonio from WotB.
“Have to say that game sums up how brilliant 2010 has been supporting Norwich. Always in a game, can come from behind, capable of scoring, late goals, manager making the right subs, manager not afraid of changing tactics, full house and last of all winning.”
The positivity around Carrow Road is so high at the moment, it is hard to think of many other teams who could match it. The championship is a fantastic league and we have some players, and certainly a manager who are thriving.
There are a few issues that need resolving after the Sheffield United game. Sadly it seems we may be without Elliot Ward for a few games, as well as Henri Lansbury. We coped very well without them, though we cannot afford many more absentees in key positions. Grant Holt was public enemy number one after the fashion in which he won City’s equalising penalty, looking at it from the tv angle it looks soft. Holty gets in front of the defender and may well have got a shot off, but the contact appears to be minimal. The second one appeared to be a lot more clear cut, a very blatant handball. Both penalties were brilliantly dispatched by Wes Hoolahan.
Sadly we have another appointment with the FA, as we were charged with ‘Failing to control our players’ after the late mass altercation, although I’m not really sure what our players did other than stand their ground. Reid and Quinn for Sheffield United on the other hand, had completely lost it. As it seems they also did against Hull on Boxing Day, as they received two separate charges. Reid was punished individually for violent conduct, despite escaping any punishment on the pitch. It’s good to see the FA examined the footage, although I still think any serious charge for Norwich would be harsh. Michael Nelson’s interview after the game on the subject of the altercation was very interesting. He talked of the team spirit in the camp and how if someone was being ’rounded on’ by the opposition the players would always stand up for their teammates, they would work within the rules but have each others back. Very encouraging, this is one of the most united City sides we have had in an awful long time.