Sky Bet Championship
26/12/2018 3:23 pm
Referee: John Brooks
|Norwich City||Nottingham Forest|
|Vrancic 77’, Hernandez 90+4’ 90+8’||Cash 45+1’ 74’, Robinson 65’|
What can you say about what we have just witnessed?
Astonishing, determination, team spirit, spine-tingling, nerve, tension, physicality, never say die, never give up. The comeback to slay them all.
This was a game that Norwich City should clearly have won when you look at the stats. Sixty per cent possession and 27 shots on goal compared to just nine.
Stats though, don’t tell the whole story and the facts of this are that Norwich were 0-3 down with thirteen minutes to go.
Chances had come and gone for Pukki, so often our talisman, but today was not his day. Pantilimon made a good save from Teemu in the first half and he made a miraculous point-blank save in the second half. Another late chance was the wrong side of the post by only a couple of inches.
The referee, John Brooks played a huge part in the shenanigans of the day as he failed to get a grip on the game. He let fouls go and missed the most blatant, Stonewall, handball that you’ll ever see in your life by Jack Robinson, who was already on a yellow card. The linesman on that side had a clear, unobstructed view as well and he missed it as well.
Had Brooks given it, he would’ve had to book Robinson again and send the Forest left back off, a decision he obviously bottled.
He also bottled another incident involving Pukki and Danny Fox, who was also on a yellow card. Both men were as bad as each other and put their foreheads together, pushing each other like a pair of old Rams.
Only Pukki was booked when a card for one surely meant a card for the other. He bottled that one as well.
City went 0-1 down after a bit of naive defending from Max Aarons when the City fullback tried to dribble his way out of his own area but was dispossessed by Matty Cash who drilled a low shot past Krul.
It was on the stroke of half-time and against the run of play but that’s football for you.
The second goal came from a corner after Krul could only parry Yacob’s fierce strike but the rebound was lashed in by lucky boy Dobinson, who was immediately substituted, no doubt with that yellow card on Karanka’s mind.
The third was dispatched on the counter by Cash and the game looked done.
A deflected drive from Mario Vrancic on 77 minutes dragged City back into it before Onel Hernandez took centre stage.
Quite how he scored through a sea of legs as the ball went in off the post, I’ll never know but it was the 98th-minute equaliser that will live long in the memory.
Just before that, the giant Pantilimon made another extraordinary, this time double, save from Klose and Godfrey as the clock ran down.
The fourth official had signalled 7 minutes of time added on after a long delay for an injury to Emi Buendia and the extra minute that enabled Hernandez to equalise came from a combination of his injury-time goal (30 seconds) and booking for Pantilimon, predictably for time wasting.
Timm Klose, now playing as a forward, controlled the ball superbly and then made an excellent pass out wide to Onel.
He burst forward and the ball broke to him which he laid off to a teammate (I can’t tell you who as I was concentrating on Onel). The ball was played back through to him after Timm calmly stepped over it, and he lashed it into the Forest goal to send Carrow Road into an explosion of rapture and joy.
I leapt to my feet and scraped my shin on the seat in front of me. My boy caught me in the face with a flailing arm as he jumped up. The players celebrated in front of the River End/City stand corner and the coaching staff were all on the pitch, rolling about on the floor and jumping up and down.
It was absolute bedlam, chaos as the unbeaten run stretched to 12 games and the Forest fans went silent.
When the final whistle went, only seconds later, several of the Forest players slumped to the floor. It’s becoming a familiar sight, looking at opposition players like this.
The result of this game is one solitary point and a draw in late December, nothing more, However, the manner in which it was achieved is something else, a shot in the arm to lift the team and fans ahead of a busy festive period.
We’ve taken four points from Forest and if this had come as a home win with a draw at their place then we wouldn’t be complaining, would we?
It’s a good point, despite it coming in a game we should’ve won. Yes, the Baggies have cut the gap to three points but they were playing Wigan at home, a game they were expected to win.
Leeds were fortunate to beat Blackburn, having scored two injury time goals of their own but it matters not. That was a good result for them, as was the win at Villa, just like ours were against Millwall and Bolton too.
There’s a very long way to go and the trip to the Hawthorns in January is looking increasingly important to our season.
For now though, let’s just revel in yet another late, late show at Fortress Carrow Road.
ON THE BALL CITY!