Norwich City played out a frustrating 2-2 draw with Wigan last night, after dominating the game for long periods. Nelson Oliveira opened the scoring before Omar Bogle scored twice in 6 second half minutes only for Mitchell Dijks to equalise.
Alex Neil surprised us all by starting the game with a 4-4-2 formation that saw Oliveira and Jerome picked together up front – 4-4-2!!!
Jacob Murphy dropped to the bench and Wes Hoolahan was rested from the squad as Alex Pritchard played on the right.
City suffered an early scare when Bogle was played through on the right channel and only the legs of John Ruddy stopped it being 1-0.
Yanic Wildschut was barracked by the home fans from the start – the few that were actually there, that is. The front ten or so rows of the stadium were taken up by large advertising banners for things like ‘Uncle Jim’s Mint Balls’ – I kid you not, I’ve never seen anything like it at a football match. You could actually read the word ‘WIGAN’ in white seats in the main stand.
The attendance was reported later as just over 10,000 but I’d have guessed at less than that. Several hundred City fans made the long trip but I was at the Beam Back at Carrow Road. A pie and a pint included in the ticket price of £5.00, a bargain and on a school night, this was a very welcome gesture by the club.
City gradually began to dominate the first half and almost scored midway through when a corner was cleared out to Jonny Howson who smashed a 25 yarder against the bar. The rebound fell to Russell Martin who headed home from 10 yards only to see it ruled out for offside – replays later showed it wasn’t offside.
Another corner saw Timm Klose’s shot desperately blocked by Warnock only for the deadlock to finally be broken on 40 minutes. A delicious Pritchard free kick was headed home by Oliveira who was excellent throughout.
The second half saw James Weir replaced by the notorious Will Grigg, whose song is better than he is.
The move did change the game though as Wigan started to get back into it. They got a lifeline when Bogle headed home a Jacobs corner just after the hour. Six minutes later and the former Grimsby man fired a free kick over the wall and in from 20 yards.
Wildschut had fouled Jacobs and Bogle stepped up. Ruddy hardly moved as he curled it over the wall on the side Ruddy should’ve been covering. A poor goal to be conceding.
Wildschut was put out of his misery moments later and replaced by Josh Murphy – things immediately got better for Norwich.
Wildschut looked laboured and out of sorts, he didn’t get into the game and had just one wide shot in the first half. It looked like the occasion got to him. A bit like Pritchard at Brighton.
On 73 minutes, Mitchell Dijks, who was excellent throughout, scored a first goal for Norwich with a towering header from a Pritchard corner to level the scores.
Both teams could’ve won it before the end with Mulumbu blocking Morsey’s effort and Haugaard blocking Josh Murphy’s low, close range shot with his feet.
I would’ve taken four points from these last two away games but I have to say that I’m as frustrated as anyone after seeing City dominate this match. It certainly feels like two points dropped and Wednesday are now 2 points ahead of us with a game in hand in the final play-off place.
Of course, there are plenty of games to go and no doubt there’ll be lots of twists and turns but that’s of little comfort this morning.
I guess it’s another symptom of our inability to close a game out when on top and get the goals we need in order to do that, against a poor team. Had Martin’s effort been allowed then I’m sure it would’ve been different but it wasn’t.
Finally, I turn to our two new signings. One of them is absolutely flying, the other hasn’t done anything yet, still early days.