Adversity has a wonderfully uplifting effect on Chris Hughton’s Norwich side. Sunderland is just the latest Premier League opponent to find out the hard way.

To send a link to this page to a friend, you must be logged in.

Martin O’Neill left the stage to a cacophony of vitriol from the home hordes. The Northern Irishman’s magic dust appears in short supply for his current posting. O’Neill’s expensively-assembled team failed to put away a Canaries’ unit shorn of a man for an hour. That bordered on a criminal abdication of responsibility from the Wearsiders, and the majority at the Stadium of Light were in no mood to let O’Neill or his under-performing players forget it.

Deep reserves of character are woven into the very fabric of Hughton’s Norwich; the defiance, the will to resist evoked memories of a similarly spirited response at Swansea earlier this season. City had surged into a three goal lead at the Liberty that looked barely enough to secure a draw until Robert Snodgrass’ sublime free kick settled frayed nerves. In different circumstances, that rich seam of obduracy was evident yet again. Norwich may have played a part in their first half downfall – whatever the relative merits of Mark Bunn’s contentious red-card and Sebastien Bassong’s subsequent penalty concession – but they were entitled to feel aggrieved when Danny Rose clearly handled Russell Martin’s driven low cross in the final quarter.

The Tottenham full-back was a marauding presence in the corresponding league fixture at Carrow Road. Here he was thrust centre stage for different reasons and reliant on the charity of the same officials who had punished Bassong in the penalty box prior to the interval. The fact Rose was forced back towards his own goal by Martin’s attacking adventure spoke volumes for the spirit and resolve of Hughton’s side in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds.

Elliott Bennett dragged wide after breaking free of the defensive barrier City were forced to erect around Lee Camp in the second period. Grant Holt’s heavy touch coaxed a brave diving challenge from Simon Mignolet, with Sunderland’s defence flat-footed, that was to earn the Norwich substitute a yellow card. Given the prevailing inconsistency displayed by the officials Holt may well have had cause to fear an even worse punishment as he lunged to recover the ball.

The returning Steven Whittaker marked his late cameo by extricating himself from the attentions of two home defenders before rolling an inviting ball across the six yard box which Holt was agonisingly unable to anticipate.

Camp was a virtual spectator - such was the degree of protection centred around Michael Turner and Bassong who more than most may have felt culpable for the precarious position Norwich found themselves in. Camp proved a solid last line of defence, but the threat from range was sporadic. Craig Gardner’s piledriver was confidently tipped over, Sebastian Larsson’s tame effort indicative of a lacklustre personal shift and Stephane Sessegnon screwed a swivelling strike wide. It was a poor return for a side given not one but two lifelines after Wes Hoolahan’s opener had rewarded the visitors’ composure.

Where Norwich exuded cohesion, Sunderland seemed a disparate mass of individuals. O’Neill’s touchline mannerisms remain hypnotic, but the body language was laced with frustration. Gardner’s wayward pass in the final minutes that sailed into the home terraces triggered a wave of disapproval. O’Neill merely stood transfixed with hands on head, unable to alter the tide of this contest and perhaps Sunderland’s imploding campaign.

Norwich will take so much more from a severe examination. The draw edged them further away from danger and above the likes of both Newcastle and West Ham. League places as much as points are crucial at this late stage of the proceedings when each fresh peak scaled in the standings provides an extra layer of insurance.

Manchester United is the only club in their last seven Premier League games to get the better of Hughton’s squad. That is a robust form line that provides succour for the tests to come. Camp is likely to replace the suspended Bunn for the resumption of hostilities at Wigan following the international break.

Bunn threw his gloves to the ground in disgust as he exited the stage barely 30 minutes into this match. Turner’s intended header back only offered encouragement to Danny Graham as Bunn opted to race from his penalty area, but the bouncing ball spiralled up and into a chest region protected with his arms. Referee Foy was swift on the scene and quick to brandish red. The natives had bayed for blood, but Hughton was right to caution afterwards Bunn had given the official a decision to make.

Bassong only had partial grounds for an appeal. His intended chest control from John O’Shea’s clip reared up and against his left arm. Gardner’s slot was clinical.

Camp was forced to go full length to claw out Larsson’s clean hit but Norwich survived to the interval before flourishing after the resumption as Sunderland visibly wilted. Bradley Johnson and Jonny Howson roamed imperiously across central midfield. Turner and Bassong’s reading of the danger and positional sense cut the supply lines to Steven Fletcher and Graham whilst in men like Bennett and Snodgrass, Kei Kamara and later Holt were never isolated figures. It was a remarkable feat of endurance. It was fresh evidence - should any have doubted - that Norwich will fight for their Premier League future. The Canaries had the pride in their collective performance that was worryingly absent from O’Neill’s men. Despite Bunn’s red card, the sacrificial loss of the influential Hoolahan to make way for Camp’s arrival and the penalty award, Norwich were perversely inspired. Sunderland looked cowed by the opportunity; the timidity of their forward play encapsulated by Adam Johnson’s peripheral presence on the margins.

The occasional England international has the pedigree but on this evidence Sunderland’s disrgruntled fans were right to question whether he has the stomach for the battle. That is not a charge you can lay at Hughton’s Norwich. They are at their most vibrant when they appear most vulnerable.

Latest Norwich City stories

41 comments

  • Yes! a well earned point. Hard to win when you are playing the referee and lineman as well as the other team, a man short. After that perfomance City should have no problem getting the number of points to stay above the relegation zone, only Arsenal and Man city to think hard on...

    Report this comment

    canuk

    Monday, March 18, 2013

  • Wigans "Great Escape" will come up against the perimeter wire in 12 days time, with no McQueen on a motorcycle to breech it, Singapore. ( one of my all time places in the world, RAF '64-'67 Seletar)

    Report this comment

    goldeneadie

    Monday, March 18, 2013

  • Ahh yes, I foresee a new chant for the Snakepit from this very article... " Rich seam of obduracy, We've got a rich seam of obduracy, RICH SEAM OF OBDURACY, We've got a rich seam of obduracy"....PS: Hi Liz- I see Mick the Muppet has taken you to the dizzy heights of 19th in the Chumpionship. Mind you don't get a nosebleed...or will you simply produce more zKnott...???

    Report this comment

    Timbo

    Monday, March 18, 2013

  • This was the Norwich we have been so used to seeing; filled with passion and very inspired. At long last I do believe Hoots is seeing the light. And for once he did have a plan b and it worked. All credit to the man he got it exactly right yesterday. May not have been perfect, but those lads played like champions. If we continue in this vein then we having nothing to fear, we will be playing PL football next season. Great result; I am so proud of our team; brilliant!! Way to go City; upwards and onwards.

    Report this comment

    Canarygirl

    Monday, March 18, 2013

  • Little Ipswich Zonah Knuckle-head Nobody, Overly Talking Trash

    Report this comment

    PutneyCanary

    Monday, March 18, 2013

  • I have to agree that Holt has been one of our best strikers ever but he's off the pace and what was the 'spasm episode' all about. More to that than meets the eye.

    Report this comment

    Lobbo

    Monday, March 18, 2013

  • cant see how thats 2 points dropped after all that happened in the game.with 11 players we would have won easily!

    Report this comment

    tonyb

    Monday, March 18, 2013

  • tonyb, see Putney`s comment! La Snott is but an 1p5wich troll in one of its guises. It seems Norwich are more distant from the PREMIERSHIP drop zone than 1p5wich are from the one in the LOWER division. I think Peterborough will survive and finish above the Donkeyboys. At least the Posh play football. Second team in Norfolk\Sufflok has to be The Trawlerboys of Lowestoft - complete with NR postcode.

    Report this comment

    Mad Brewer

    Monday, March 18, 2013

  • Respect Sharky, hadn't read your comment.

    Report this comment

    Lobbo

    Monday, March 18, 2013

  • Sharky, can't agree with you re: Benno. For me he is well out of his depth and has been for some time. I've haven't seen an once of improvement in him since the beginning of the season. Nothing would give me greater pleasure than to see our players getting better with each game. His shooting is awful (minus the goal he scored an eternity ago at Spurs), his crossing needs to improve, his tackling is abysmal and his attempt at a free kick was, well we all saw it. I'm afraid he is a dead man walking. He must do unbelievably well in training !!!

    Report this comment

    Lobbo

    Monday, March 18, 2013

  • correction: ounce not once.

    Report this comment

    Lobbo

    Monday, March 18, 2013

  • This was agood and important point for City. Certainly shows that Hoots is building a squad that althought may not consist of top flight PL players yet, they have a great spirit and resolve. We have to be happy with that and as long as the points keep coming now we are going to be in good shape ! OTBC

    Report this comment

    Dubai Canary

    Tuesday, March 19, 2013

  • ....Lobbo my friend ! We do see I to I on occasion. What If Nobody Knew! I say again, ' What If Nobody Knew '!....

    Report this comment

    Stew Pydsodd

    Tuesday, March 19, 2013

  • Just a reminder to you!...12 days to go before we have to consider our position as outlined in Archant's Letter. ..I quote- "Please be aware that as from the first day of next month, all Screen names will be withdrawn". It goes on to say " persons posting on here after that date will do so using their Full name and it will be accompanied with their e.mail address". As I will no longer be contributing, it will not effect me. I will be pleased to read your thoughts. Regards Stew!..

    Report this comment

    Stew Pydsodd

    Monday, March 18, 2013

  • Brew, I follow Lowestoft's every game, Mum is from there and relatives abound, even lived there for a while. Aylsham Secondary School for awhile though.

    Report this comment

    Lobbo

    Monday, March 18, 2013

  • The way we performed convinces me that we will stay up, it`s Sunderland who should be more worried on that showing.

    Report this comment

    spark

    Monday, March 18, 2013

  • That was a brave starting line-up; KK for Holty, Snods on the left, Benno on the right, Wessi in his "hole". `Green shoots` from Howson - that`s good. Ironic that the Bunn incident was a a result of communication between the centre-backs; Bass clearly signalled to Turner to get the ball back to Bunn but it all went wrong. Turner was otherwise faultless. If the intensity of that performance had happened with 11 men on the pitch, that would`ve been our second away win of this season. Kamara is a breath of fresh air. That West African Irish jig with Hoolahoop was hilarious!

    Report this comment

    Mad Brewer

    Monday, March 18, 2013

  • Agree about the free-kick Lobbo. Awful!! While being a fan of Snods I was merely comparing crosses in open play and Benno was way ahead.

    Report this comment

    sharky

    Monday, March 18, 2013

  • Hi Stew, that'll put the mockers on our more offensive posters, they're in trouble now. . W.I.N.K.

    Report this comment

    Lobbo

    Monday, March 18, 2013

  • That's another 2 points dropped by norwich. This time to a VERY poor Sunderland side. Got some tough games coming up...and not many points off that drop zone!

    Report this comment

    Liz Knott

    Monday, March 18, 2013

  • The height KK gets is immense and bodes well for the future. Re snods, I dont remember him getting to the goal line. I,ve always liked the idea to keep switching. Benno did ok

    Report this comment

    sharky

    Monday, March 18, 2013

  • Thank you for concern,lobbrewster et al :) Performances like that though is just what the doc ordered! :) fingers crossed the international brigade,come back safe,and sound!...

    Report this comment

    alan clark

    Tuesday, March 19, 2013

  • in the cold light of the day after, it was a point gained in difficult conditions. The losses for QPR and Reading just about confirm their relegation. One place left and it will NOT be filled by Norwich.My crystal ball has a three way fight between Sunderland, Wigan, and Aston Villa; and I dont really mind which one of them finishes 18th. Russell Martin adopts the armband well and might hold the captaincy for most of the remaining games this season.{he might well start more than Holty}.

    Report this comment

    wivenhoebudgie

    Monday, March 18, 2013

  • The unexpected starting line-up was making inroads into the opposition before being thrice "Foyled". If we can achieve this drive with 11 players on the pitch the future bodes well. Whittaker showed good balance of attack and defence in the short time on the pitch! This could possibly also give CH to change things around not only at the start but as the game progresses. Wigan will be a test as they are on their annual Great Escape trip, but if the Sunderland performance is taken onto the Wigan game it will bode well. OTBC

    Report this comment

    Singapore Canary

    Monday, March 18, 2013

  • Stew. W.I.N.K. That's. Wambling In Norfolk. Kilts.

    Report this comment

    Lobbo

    Monday, March 18, 2013

  • Good ol` Lobbo! I think Hoots has set his stall by selecting KK ahead of Wonderhorse. But Holty cannot be written off - he`s been superb for us and still can be. We`ve yet to see much of Becchio. Is Declan coming home? 2nd best goalie at the Club after Ruddy.

    Report this comment

    Mad Brewer

    Monday, March 18, 2013

  • Leave her alone, norfolkngood - I saw her first! ;-)

    Report this comment

    Mad Brewer

    Tuesday, March 19, 2013

  • .....IMHO.

    Report this comment

    Mad Brewer

    Monday, March 18, 2013

  • I,ve not had that e-mail. If its true. I dont think there will be many people here. Thats my opinion anyway.

    Report this comment

    sharky

    Monday, March 18, 2013

  • Goo performance it seems to me - must get a win and 3 draws from the last 8 games given the current form and tight defending I would have thought. I guess the real 6 pointer if there is such a thing now is the Wigan match...

    Report this comment

    Surrey Canary

    Monday, March 18, 2013

  • Hi, Lobbo. I`ve always thought that Lowstuff should be in Naarfolk! It has NR postcodes. I did a little bit of work to help Green Jack get their new brewery up & running and remain good pals with them - the founder & senior brewer are both Naaridge supporters! Fave beer; "Trawlerboys". Brewery is just across the road from Crown Meadow. I also have a pal in the lewcal here who is a Trawlerfan. Clapton et al; I`m flattered you associated me with that Strange Beverage song! I saw a show a long time ago where their supporting act was the Singing Postman!! How did you rate Little Benno on Sat? ;-)

    Report this comment

    Mad Brewer

    Tuesday, March 19, 2013

  • It`s our own little wind-up, Lobbo! I expect it`s more to the liking of Pa Snipps, whose "Chevron" may, at last, have come to be!

    Report this comment

    Mad Brewer

    Wednesday, March 20, 2013

  • So much for CH's previous assertions that there can be no role for Wes with two wingers - until the sending off it was our best line-up to date. Use that for the rest of the season with either Holt, Becchio or Kamara up front and Tettey back and I think we can sleep easy. Wasn't Whittaker fantastic albeit briefly? Can't wait to have him back full-time.

    Report this comment

    jigs69

    Monday, March 18, 2013

  • Spot-on Budgie

    Report this comment

    sharky

    Monday, March 18, 2013

  • A good away point and more importantly ONLY one point at home for Sunderland The teams below us have some tough matches coming up. Consolidate - take the monetary rewards - build for next year.

    Report this comment

    Pondlife

    Monday, March 18, 2013

  • Can't believe how good kamara is in the air. he won nearly all his headers from long balls out from goaldefence. Also has scored 2 goals (if Hoolahan hadn't knicked one!) in only a couple of games. Can't help thinking it would be worth a punt paring kei with Jackson as a plan b or c. Jackson could benefit a bundle from gambling on kamara flick ons with his pace. sure to get through on a few 1 on 1 situations, not that he's defo going to score them ofcourse!

    Report this comment

    Dave.B

    Monday, March 18, 2013

  • Brew you prankster, you already know my thoughts on little bennos performance.

    Report this comment

    Lobbo

    Tuesday, March 19, 2013

  • I agree with Lobbo. Grant Holt has rightly become a legend at Carrow Road for his exploits over the past 3 seasons. But he seems a pale shadow of himself this season. He was never a greyhound but now he appears to be well off the pace and his first touch and anticipation all seem to be way off. Would be interested to know what others think may be the problem. I don't think Hughton's system can explain it all.

    Report this comment

    malaga flier

    Monday, March 18, 2013

  • Brew, After a glass or two of fine red, and whilst listening to 60's music on my DAB radio, a track sung by Jack Bruce, Ginger Baker and Eric Clapton, brought you to mind... Strange... something or other. Better post a footie comment.. Wigan game will be tough but they need a result more than us so it will leave them exposed at the back. Good rest before the next game, so expect Holty to have lost a few Kg's and be fitter and leaner. What did someone post 'greyhound' or around here 'whippet'. Can make my mind up " Grant the Greyhound" or "Grant the Whippet". ummmm.

    Report this comment

    Lobbo

    Monday, March 18, 2013

  • I said I wouldn't come back. Canarygirl are you married? You talk so much sense.

    Report this comment

    norfolkngood

    Tuesday, March 19, 2013

  • Timbo, is the tune for your erudite chant the one from that "One tonne o` Guano" song, whatever? ;-)

    Report this comment

    Mad Brewer

    Tuesday, March 19, 2013

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

loading...

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT