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Town 1-5 Norwich City
Town 1-5 Norwich City
Thursday, 21st Apr 2011 21:56

Town fell to their second disastrous East Anglian derby defeat of the season as Norwich left Portman Road having beaten the Blues by a convincing 5-1 scoreline. An Arran Lee-Barrett error led to Andrew Surman’s opener, then a Gareth McAuley own goal increased the Canaries’ lead. Simeon Jackson added Norwich’s third, Jimmy Bullard pulled one back but Russell Martin and Daniel Pacheco added the fourth and fifth late on.

As anticipated, boss Paul Jewell recalled Jason Scotland up front with Connor Wickham moving to the left with the suspended Lee Martin dropping out. Troy Brown was added to the bench in an otherwise unchanged 18. Perhaps unsurprisingly Norwich striker Grant Holt was fit to keep his place in an unchanged Canaries side despite apparently having been a doubt with a torn hamstring.

Holt was quickly into the thick of the action, heading an Andrew Crofts cross from the right wide off a Town defender inside the first minute.

The Canaries started the game the brighter and on five Arran Lee-Barrett was out quickly to grab the ball at Wes Hoolahan’s feet. Holt had flicked on Scotland’s very much overheaded knockdown as the Blues looked to clear their lines after a freekick, Gareth McAuley lending his considerable size to the situation as Hoolahan sought to take the ball into the area.

For Town, Scotland was almost presented with a chance 10 yards out a few moments later when a long punt into the box aimed towards Norris ricocheted off Zak Whitbread but the ball wouldn’t fall for the Trinidadian.

Scotland hit Town’s first serious shot on eight, cutting in from the right and striking a low shot which Norwich keeper John Ruddy claimed comfortably. A minute later, David Fox got his name in the book for a late tackle on David Norris.

The Blues were starting to get going and in the 11th minute Scotland sent Wickham away on the left but the England U21 international lashed his shot wide. A minute later Leadbitter shot wide from 30 yards.

Despite Town having been in the ascendant for the previous few minutes, it was the visitors who would go in front in the 13th minute. Wesley Hoolahan crossed low from the left, Arran Lee-Barrett should have claimed but spilled the ball and Andrew Surman slammed the ball into the empty net for his second goal in two games.

Jimmy Bullard looked to get the Blues back on terms quickly but Ruddy was untroubled by his shot from 20 yards.

On 19 Leadbitter went wide with Town now having most of the ball but finding it difficult to create openings with the Norwich midfield quickly on to their Blues counterparts when they received the ball.

The Blues were beginning to look more threatening though, and in the 22nd minute Josh Carson shot wide after a freekick had been returned into the box.

However, two minutes later the Canaries increased their lead. Fox sent a deep corner in from the left and the ball struck Town defender McAuley and beat Lee-Barrett. The Northern Irishman held his head in his hands as the Norwich players celebrated with the corner taker.

Whitbread was booked for a foul on Carson on 27, Jimmy Bullard curling the freekick just wide. The on-loan Hull man volleyed over on the half hour with Wickham by now having gone up front with Scotland in a variation on 4-4-2 with Carson just in behind them.

Five minutes before the break it was almost three. Delaney under-headed back towards Lee-Barrett and Holt nipped in, the keeper blocked his nod goalwards and the ball rebounded behind off the Norwich skipper.

Edwards fired in a cross from the right but too close to Ruddy as half-time approached with the Blues having a fair bit of the ball but without creating clear-cut chances. Just prior to injury time, Bullard looped a shot well over, another spell of Town possession coming to nothing.

Moments later the whistle went to end a first half which had very much been the Canaries’. The visitors had started the side more on the front foot but the Blues were starting to get more of a hold on the game when Lee-Barrett’s error led to the first goal.

The Blues were again just starting to look a threat when the unfortunate second went in off McAuley. After that, Paul Jewell’s men huffed and puffed but didn’t create many serious opportunities despite having much of the possession, while Norwich continued to look dangerous on the break with Town looking somewhat chaotic at the back at times.

The ineffective Scotland made way at the break with Andy Drury coming into the centre of midfield and Carson joining Wickham up front.

Town weren’t far away from pulling a goal back in the second minute of the half when Bullard volleyed narrowly wide. Three minutes later, Drury screwed his shot wide as the Blues broke quickly after a Norwich corner.

Marc Tierney became the third Norwich player to get his name in referee Jonathan Moss’s book for fouling Carson on the edge of the area on the right. After a protracted spell of shirt pulling largely ignored by the referee, Bullard hit a freekick to Ruddy’s left post, the former Cambridge keeper spilling the ball behind for a corner.

On 64 O’Dea shepherded the ball back to Lee-Barrett then, with Norwich continuing to look dangerous on the break, Crofts shot just over from a corner.

As late in the first half, the Blues were getting a lot of the ball but were lacking in ideas in and around the box and were being frustrated by the visitors’ organised defending. Drury sent in a more threatening looking ball from the left in the 68th minute but Wickham slipped as it came across.

In the 72nd minute Leadbitter shot just wide after a run in from the right by Edwards, but a minute later the Canaries, who were always a danger on the break, increased their lead. Holt held off Delaney down the right and sent in a low cross which Simeon Jackson, who spent time training with Town as a youngster, diverted the ball into the net to make it 3-0.

Drury shot over from distance for the Blues moments later, then on 78 Bullard finally found his shooting range. The 32-year-old took the ball inside before unleashing a 30-yard strike which flew into the top corner.

Seven minutes earlier and it might have made more of a difference but even so, the goal invigorated a sullen crowd. But only momentarily. As the game entered its final 10 minutes Norwich broke with the Blues caught pushing too many men forward and Russell Martin was left unmarked at the far post from where he fired the ball through Lee-Barrett and into the net to make it 4-1.

An Edwards cross flew past Carson and Norris with three minutes left on the clock but there was clearly no back for the Blues. At the other end Jackson shot into the sidenetting with Town looking increasingly shambolic at the back.

Surman volleyed wide on 89, then Norris forced Ruddy to parry wide before Daniel Pacheco added insult to injury by rebounding Simeon Jackson’s shot against the bar with the Blues again caught short of numbers as Norwich broke.

Moments later referee Moss’s final whistle blew to end a dismal evening for the Blues, who had fallen to their heaviest ever defeat to their local rivals.

It was probably a worse performance than the display at Carrow Road earlier in the season. Despite the scoreline in Norfolk, the Blues had competed until Damien Delaney’s sending off just before half-time.

This time, once the Canaries went in front, the Blues never really looked capable of creating or taking the opportunities to get back into the game. Norwich defended solidly, broke slickly and quickly and always looked a danger in and around Town’s penalty area.

Just like the game against Reading last month, the game showed just how much work Paul Jewell has to do before his side can compete with the teams at the top of the Championship.

Town: Lee-Barrett, Edwards, O’Dea, McAuley, Delaney, Bullard, Leadbitter, Norris, Carson, Wickham, Scotland (Drury 46). Unused: Fülöp, Peters, Brown, Healy, Civelli, Whight.

Norwich: Ruddy, Martin, Tierney, Whitbread, Ward, Fox (Lansbury 76), Crofts, Surman, Hoolahan (Pacheco 84), Jackson, Holt (Vokes 83). Unused: Rudd, Edwards, Lappin, McNamee. Referee: Jonathan Moss (West Yorkshire). Att: 29,258 (Norwich: 2,125).

Photo: Action Images



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