Nelson Oliveira came off the bench to score with almost the last kick of the game as Norwich stretched their unbeaten run to 7 league games against 10 man Hull City.
Norwich started the game so brightly that I couldn’t see us losing, I was that pleased with what I was seeing. The opening 16 minutes saw Norwich create two excellent chances as first James Maddison hit a post from range before Yanic Wildschut was put through on goal.
The chipped through ball to find him from Mario Vrancic was a delicious pass that deserved a goal but Wildschut fired tamely straight at Alan McGregor, who made the save.
McGregor then saved another Wildschut effort before the visitors took the lead against the run of play on 29 minutes.
Maddison was dumped on the floor in the Hull third by a strong but fair, Michael Hector challenge and the ball was moved on to Henrikssen, who placed a sweet through ball into the path of Nouha Dicko. Dicko ran through on goal and stroked the ball past Gunn.
The Canaries then came out strongly in the second half, pinning the Tigers back inside their own half and often to their 18 yard line.
James Husband, who had another good game, tested McGregor early on in the second period with a drive but it was straight at the Scot, before Hull were reduced to ten men.
On 56 minutes, David Meyler was shown a second yellow card (having picked one up in the first half for a nasty foul on Maddison) as he clumsily brought the breaking Wildschut down.
It was no surprise that Norwich then dominated the ball even more than they had already, for the remainder of the game.
Timm Klose fired just wide when put through by Wes Hoolahan and James Maddison shot just wide of the post after weaving himself into a shooting position but it looked as though the goal wouldn’t come.
On 74 minutes, Daniel Farke made his final throw of the dice as he brought on Stiepermann and Oliveira for Husband and Trybull and went 3-5-2.
Hull were pinned back to the edge of their area but held out with some stout defending. They were pressed back and back and by the end were literally just kicking the ball into space and making no attempt to chase it.
It was as though they were just saying ‘we’ll kick it away and wait for you to come forward again.’ When the ball was knocked out of play or lost, Hull took their time, as you’d expect but the time wasting wasn’t embarrassingly excessive.
With the final play of the game, Marco Stiepermann took a long throw, level with the edge of the Hull area. The ball was flicked on by Jerome and then deftly flicked past McGregor from close range by Oliveira.
The Norwich players celebrated as though they’d won the league and it felt a bit like that as we all celebrated in the stands. Daniel Farke was on the pitch and almost in the centre circle as his players celebrated in the corner of the South and River End stands.
As the players jogged back to the centre circle, Oliveira made a point of gesturing and saying something to McGregor before pointing to his name on the back of his shirt, his fiery Portuguese persona appearing again.
There was barely time for the re-start and Mr Stroud blew the final whistle.
At the final whistle, McGregor made straight for Oliveira and it looked like there would be trouble but for Jerome pulling and escorting Nelson away and some Hull players doing the same for their keeper.
This was a game that Norwich should’ve won if the game was based on possession and shot statistics only. Almost 75% possession and 25 shots to the visitors’ 6, look good on paper but football isn’t played on paper.
Hull defended very well and effectively ceased to become a threat after the red card. The Tigers were happy to shut up shop and hold what they’d got and nearly managed it too with a determined defensive performance.
At the end, several Hull players slumped to the floor with the pain etched on their faces of such a late hammer blow. A goal scored in the sixth minute of five minutes added on shows that the spirit is strong in the Norwich dressing room.
Of course, when the shoe is on the other foot we leave the stadium grinning and with a spring in our step. Today was one of those days for the Canary nation and despite not winning the game, the manner of the draw provided a shot in the arm ahead of next week’s visit to the old enemy down the A140.