- Klopp relishing 'perfect' occasion
- Gill confident of keeping Rooney
- Blackburn appoint Bowyer as manager
- Europa winners to get Champions spot
- Assistant boss Phelan leaves Man Utd
- Stoke make contact with Hughes
- Lambert warns Benteke on transfer call
- Mazzarri named new Inter Milan coach
- No Whyte-Green link over Rangers
- Footballers cleared of sex assault
City Find Redemption In Spirited Draw…
CITY went some way to redeeming themselves after last weekend’s horror show at Fulham as they drew 1-1 with QPR. The Canaries created the better chances mind and may be a little frustrated they hadn’t got the 3 points their play certainly merited.
As one would expect, Hughton wasn’t shy to ring the changes. Out went Michael Turner, Ryan Bennett, Marc Tierney and Andrew Surman with new boys Seb Bassong and Javier Garrido making their debuts, they were joined by Leon Barnett and Simeon Jackson. That meant Ruddy began in goal behind a new look back 4 of Garrido, Bassong, Barnett and Russell Martin. The midfield was made up of Jonny Howson, Bradley Johnson, Robert Snodgrass and Anthony Pilkington whilst Grant Holt was partnered by Simeon Jackson.
New boy Alexander Tettey was given a warm welcome by the home fans prior to kick-off, before the Canaries kicked off their 2012/2013 home campaign. It was a lively start to the game though neither side tested their opposing keeper as the clock ticked past 10. City attacked as Holt flicked the ball to Snodgrass, he in turn found Pilkington. The City winger made his way to the byline and chipped a lovely ball back into the box, it found Jackson at the far post who headed into the back of the Rangers’ net sparking celebration around Carrow Road. Though the Canaries were harshly pegged back a few minutes afterwards as QPR responded. Cisse took a tumble under pressure from Bassong, Norwich looked to play on and clear their lines though the entirety of Carrow Road were left stunned as referee Clattenburg pointed to the spot. He must have dipped his decision making in a bowl of fabric softener or something, it barely warranted a flick of the eyelid let alone pointing to the spot. It was an incredibly soft decision though it stood and Ruddy was facing his second penalty of the season. The big keeper did superbly, pushing Cisse’s spot kick onto the post yet Zamora came running in and fired home the rebound.
Replays had shown Zamora to be certainly encroaching, doubling to the sour taste in Norwich mouths though a sharper reaction from the defence was needed – as Ruddy was keen to point out as Zamora wheeled away. With fire in their bellies the Canaries looked to regain their lead. Holt tussled with Hill with the QPR man pulling him down. From the resulting free-kick, Snodgrass found Russell Martin who was inches away from heading home. Snodgrass was at it again a minute later, seeing his threatening low ball cut out. Norwich were having the better of the game though creating nothing clear cut, it saw Snodgrass once more look to take things into his own hands. He drove forwards and it opened up invitingly for him, needing no more of an invitation he let fly with a cracking 25 yard curler which Green did well to palm over the crossbar.
It had been a frustrating half for City, they’ve showed plenty of promise though were lacking that killer pass as of yet. Furthermore Clattenburg had done little to lower stress levels for City fans with that outrageous penalty award!
Norwich looked to get on the front foot immediately as Jackson stole a march on his marker and wriggled into the area. He advanced on Green though fired into the side netting, rather than looking to try find the far post. Not to be deterred the little Canadian was at it again, picking up the ball 25 yards out and letting fly with a rasping drive that whistled over Green’s bar in the QPR goal. There was no doubt Norwich were the dominant force in the game as they won a free-kick just past the hour. From Snodgrass’ delivery, Bassong rose highest though couldn’t quite get a solid enough connection and saw the ball drift just wide from his header. Snodgrass was certainly creating plenty for Norwich, this time sending in a cross that saw Jackson come within inches of heading home. A few minutes later Snodgrass was the man on the end of a cross, coming close. Garrido swung in a lovely ball, Snodgrass rose brilliantly though grazed the top of the net with his powerful header.
Ruddy had to race out a few times as QPR looked to threaten on the break, though on both occasions he had the beating of Cisse. City meanwhile looked to grab the winner they so deserved as Pilkington and Johnson combined from a short corner. The former powered in a cross, Russell Martin clambered highest and saw his looping header clonk back off the crossbar with QPR being able to clear. Hughton looked to inspire the front line to victory as he made a double change, Steve Morison and Chris Martin were tasked with finding a winner in place of Jackson and Holt. Though sadly it wasn’t to come for City who were left frustrated, Norwich City 1-1 QPR.
On another day we could be talking about a 4 or 5 win for Norwich. They had that many chances and John Ruddy was barely troubled throughout. It’s just a more ruthless edge needed when attacking and the goals will fly in. It was certainly an encouraging performance and certainly far better than Fulham last weekend. Simply give them time to gel and we’ll be looking at something pretty promising here – oh and perhaps a better referee!
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