Sky Bet Championship
23/02/2019 3:00 pm
Referee: Gavin ward
|Norwich City||Bristol City|
|McLean 36', 66', Godfrey 55'||Paterson 12', O'Dowda 37'|
Kenny McLean was the hero for Norwich, who had to come from behind twice against Bristol City, to keep hold of top spot in the Sky Bet Championship.
The visitors were on a run of nine straight league wins when they arrived at Carrow Road and took an early lead on 12 minutes after some slack marking.
Famara Diedhiou, the big Bristol striker found Jamie Paterson unmarked on the right and he fired past Tim Krul from 12 yards out.
The Robins had a lot of the early play but were less ambitious and reverted to type after scoring, allowing the Canaries to crank up the pressure around their box. Amazingly, Teemu Pukki didn’t score when a miscued Hernandez shot fell into his path with the normally lethal finisher somehow putting the ball the wrong side of the post from close range.
On 36 minutes, the game exploded into life as Kenny McLean got his first goal for the club with a measured side foot strike. A sensational cross field ball from Buendia went right to left and found Hernandez unmarked. He got to the byline before cutting the ball back to Pukki.
Pukki laid it off to McLean and the Scot’s right foot did the rest. It felt as though we were back on track again and the crowd were still celebrating when Callum O’Dowda gave the Robins the lead again, straight from the kick-off.
The in-form winger weaved past a couple of weak tackles before stroking the ball past Tim Krul, much to everyone’s frustration and that was how the two teams went in at the break.
Norwich kept their opponents waiting for 3 or 4 minutes after they’d come out for the second half and then set about dominating the second period.
Max Aarons tested Fielding from a tight angle as Norwich laid siege to the Robin’s goal at the start of the half. The second equaliser of the day eventually came on 55 minutes in the aftermath of a corner, when a side foot cross from Aarons was turned in by Ben Godfrey for his second goal of the season.
Bristol City were a threat throughout, although Fielding was the busier goalkeeper. He made a great save to deny Hernandez’s special volley but he was beaten for the second time by Kenny McLean, who scored another spectacular goal on 66 minutes.
Continuing Norwich pressure found the combative midfielder 25 yards out and he smashed a half-volley home. The best thing about the finish was that he didn’t just leather it, the power and placement were measured.
With the clock running down, Fielding again denied Hernandez and then had his woodwork to thank as Marco Stiepermann struck the bar from the edge of the area with a powerful strike.
It finished 3-2 and was an impressive win against the division’s in-form side, although Norwich never quite reached the heights that they did against say, Leeds or Bolton. They weren’t at their best and still won, the sign of a good side.
The bench consisted of McGovern, Rhodes, Hanley, Vrancic, Leitner, Klose and Cantwell – a sign of the strength in depth that Norwich have in their camp. With the business end of the season now under way, a virtually fully fit squad with players all contributing will be crucial and having that many options can only be a good thing for Daniel Farke.