Norwich City held Championship leaders, Newcastle to a 2-2 draw at Carrow Road on Tuesday night in an action packed game.
Alex Neil made five changes(!) to the side that beat Forest, although some of those were enforced. Nelson Oliveira and Ivo Pinto weren’t fit and judging by his absence from the match day squad, neither was Youssouf Mulumbu. Josh Murphy made way for his brother and Alex Pritchard was replaced by Yanic Wildschut.
The Canaries made an awful start when Klose allowed Perez the space to receive a through ball from Jack Colback and score with just 23 seconds on the clock. In the aftermath, both Ruddy and Russ Martin screamed at Klose but he ignored them and jogged forwards. Ruddy had more words with Klose throughout the game.
Martin was equally at fault just a few minutes later when his header went straight to Mitrovic and only a fine save from Ruddy stopped the score line being doubled.
City responded well though and were back on level terms on 12 minutes when Jerome used his power and strength to beat Lascelles on the edge of the Newcastle box. It was a ball he wasn’t prepared to give up and he squared it across goal for Murphy to tap in at the far post.
Five minutes later, Jerome was again the tormentor when he challenged Lascelles in the air and the ball bounced between the Newcastle box and the onrushing Jeorme. Goal keeper, Karl Darlow came running out but mis-kicked his clearance and Jerome strolled through to tap the ball into the empty net to make it 2-1.
A breathless first 17 minutes.
Newcastle were always a threat though and Mitrovic found Ruddy in imperious form when he headed straight at him from 4 yards. Ruddy got down to make the save and it was cleared away.
Whittaker then missed with a shot that was just a few inches wide of the post as the clock ticked round to 30 minutes. The first half could’ve seen a few more goals though after Mitrovic hit a post and then Jonny Howson fired a long ranger just wide.
Frantic sums the first half up.
The second half saw Newcastle turn the screw and City struggle to get forward other than the odd counter attack.
The woodwork saved Norwich again just six minutes after the break when Matt Ritchie smashed a shot against the cross bar, which bounced down and was cleared away after a cross from Yedlin.
The pressure was intense and the clock seemed to go into slow motion as I watched. The crowd was noisy and the atmosphere was electric.
Finally the tides of black and white breached the City defence when on 80 minutes, Lascelles volleyed home at the far post after a Shelvey free kick. It was no less than the visitors deserved and it could’ve been the same story as at St. James’ Park late on, as first Shelvey fired wide in stoppage time and then Ruddy denied Atsu with a sensational one handed save.
The injuries to Pinto and Oliveira definitely took something away from our team and along with the hamstring strain currently being carried by Steven Naismith, made the bench look a little thin.
Jerome was terrific in that first half but he was spent by 70 minutes and his replacement, Lafferty was never going to affect the the game in the same way as Cam.
The other substitutes also didn’t affect the game at all and Pritchard struggled to get into the game despite having 30 minutes in which to do so. Wildschut was fairly anonymous but Mitchell Dijks was again excellent.
This draw was achieved despite of our centre backs’ best efforts to mess it up. Both of them were awful. One caller on Canary Call called them ‘pathetic’ only for Greg Downs to reply that ‘at times they weren’t even that good.’
Whittaker did nothing wrong really and Tettey was a rock against a very good Newcastle side. John Ruddy was immense.
The second half reminded me of being the in the Premier League – it wasn’t fun and we needed luck to keep the hoardes at bay.
Still, on a positive note we won’t be playing teams this good every week and next up are Burton away and then our old mates, Ipswich before a massive game at Hillsborough.
Those first two are very winnable games and dare I say, we then simply have to win in Sheffield.