Norwich City snatched a draw from the jaws of victory last night as they drew 2-2 with Stevenage in their third pre-season fixture of the summer.
Daniel Farke employed a new 3-4-3 system with Godfrey, Zimmermann and Klose as the three centre backs. Wes Hoolahan and Alex Pritchard played either side of (not) Reading bound Nelson Oliveira but played on opposite sides to that which you would expect. The old ‘inverted’ forwards trick.
It didn’t take long for City to open the scoring when Jamal Lewis was fouled after yet another buccaneering run from the youngster, in the Stevenage area. Oliveira stepped up to score from the penalty spot.
Mid-way through the half the impressive Alex Pritchard doubled the score with a shot through a crowd of players that took at least one deflection before a loose ball from Godfrey on 30 minutes saw Samuel pull one back.
At the break, Farke made four changes with Michael McGovern, Yanic Wildschut, James Maddison and Cameron Jerome taking the places of Paul Jones, Josh Murphy, Hoolahan and Oliveira.
Meanwhile, Stevenage changed their entire XI, which was certainly a fitness test for the visitors.
A feature of the defence was playing out from the back and I’m expecting to hear lots of ‘GET RID OF IT’ from the people that sit near me in the early weeks of the season. They’re a nervous lot about that sort of thing and don’t like dawdling on the ball from defenders or the keeper. It looks like a deliberate tactic and one that European coaches like more and more these days.
Better get used to it.
With 12 minutes to go, Godfrey handled in the area and the resulting penalty, which the ref took an absolute age to give, was thumped home by Dale Gorman.
City pressed late on and looked the more likely to score with efforts from Maddison, Pritchard and a couple of impressive efforts from Vrancic but the score finished at 2-2. Cameron Jerome also had a howler of an effort off his shoulder from a corner – a real shocker.
Harrison Reed limped off with 10 minutes to go and was replaced by James Husband making his debut. Without Reed though, City didn’t keep the ball anywhere near as well as they had done.
Reed and Vrancic looked the real deal in the centre and Jamal Lewis continues to impress on the left. At this rate, you’d have to say he’s looking very, very good and with Husband and Toffolo as well, Lewis will be giving his coach a big decision to make.
I best point out that pre-season is about more than just results but realistically, City lost control of this game through two individual defensive errors from Ben Godfrey.
Looks like the defensive mistake bug is catching.
Norwich City: Jones (McGovern 45), Godfrey, Zimmermann, Klose, Reed (Husband 77), Josh Murphy (Wildschut 45), Vrancic, Lewis, Pritchard, Hoolahan (Maddison 45), Oliveira (Jerome 45). Sub (all used).