SALISBURYCANARY on Easter Monday’s stunning win at Champions League-chasing Spurs…
Elliott Bennett – much like Norwich City – has enjoyed a mercurial rise to the top of English Football, yesterday he officially announced himself on the Premier League stage with a stunning winner to all but kill off Tottenham’s Champions League aspirations.
It was Bennett’s first goal for the Canaries since his summer switch from Brighton. Exactly a year ago he scored for the Seagulls, scoring their second goal in a 2-0 home success over Sheffield Wednesday.
This fixture held not only importance for Spurs to get back on track for the Champions League after Arsenal turned up the heat by grabbing a late victory over Manchester City, but also for some potential boarding passes for Euro 2012.
Grant Holt has received much publicity since grabbing the equaliser on Saturday at home to Everton, but is he good enough to go? The answer in many circles is ‘No’ despite the fact he is the second highest English goalscorer this term.
Holt was heading out to impress Harry Redknapp, the man the bookies still hold as favourite to take the England hot-seat. ‘It’s a good chance to show Harry I’ve a little bit about me. But I have to try to get the ball first,’ Holt informed The Sun.
And got the ball he did, hassling Ledley King throughout, and if not for the presence of Mr Oliver as referee would have probably been awarded a penalty which could have seen the Spurs skipper promptly put out of his misery and sent for an early bath.
Holt highlighted the painful fall in standard of Ledley King. Not only his strength and determination but Holt’s pace out-did the long serving centre back. So when King grabbed Holt’s arm and pulled his shirt with the other whilst perfectly placing a trip to bring down England’s second most deadly striker, you can understand Paul Lambert fury when play was waved on and Jermain Defoe’s perfectly timed chip ended a deadly counter attack to restore parity.
(Mr Oliver famously fell for Ian Harte’s play acting after Grant Holt locked shins in a 50/50 with Norwich 3-1 up at Reading in 2010. Holt was sent off and Reading went on to get to 3-3 against ten-man City).
Defoe’s finish reminded the FA of how deadly he can be and an earlier near-connection onto a delicious Gareth Bale cross could have seen him steal the headlines. Holt wasn’t taking them this time despite causing many problems for the Spurs backline.
John Ruddy once again made a world class save, this time denying Benoit Assou-Ekotto with a one handed block with the scores at 1-1. He was comfortable claiming everything in the air after a few early match spills probably down to the wet surface.
With only four English goalkeepers starting in the Premier League on Saturday, two of those being Ben Foster and Paul Robinson who are currently unavailable for international selection – it seems a no brainer that Ruddy will be in three selected. Or will Pearce continue with the bench warming David Stockdale?
Not that Mr Bennett will have put himself on the plane or even in the mind of the selectors for the Summer but he put in a tenacious display to steal the back pages and plaudits, and his run for the goal summed up his and Norwich’s season thus far – keep on running, dodge the challenges and work towards the goal.
That goal being to play for Norwich City in the Premier League next season and my god we’re pretty much there.