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Brothers-in-arms at Carrow Road last night as Norwich's Elliott Bennett faced younger sibling Kyle in Doncaster's ranks during City's 1-0 Capital One Cup win. Picture by Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
Paddy Davitt, EDP Sports Writer
Thursday, September 27, 2012
On a night when Norwich City remembered one of their heroes from the past a new darling emerged to rifle the Canaries into the last 16 of the Capital One Cup.
Alex Tettey was born long after John Bond carved his niche into the fabric of the Carrow Road club, but Bond would have purred at the Norwegian’s match-winning strike.
Tettey burst forward before slamming a right-footer beyond the sprawling Gary Woods from long range. It seemed entirely appropriate on a poignant evening where Norwich’s fans, players and staff remembered Bond’s exploits that Chris Hughton’s men should progress in the competition which helped frame his City legacy.
The photographers’ camera shutters were the only sound to pierce an impeccable minute’s silence inside a sombre Carrow Road to honour Bond’s memory. The applause that greeted the referee’s whistle to end the tribute spoke volumes for the sense of loss at the passing of one of Norwich’s iconic post-war managers.
Hughton’s starting line-up was more than a nod to Bond’s fabled attacking philosophy. Jacob Butterfield began his Norwich City career on the right of a midfield featuring fellow new boy Tettey alongside David Fox.
Chris Martin offered width and balance on the left with Harry Kane and Grant Holt paired in tandem for the first time in a relationship that hinted at plenty of attacking potential with the right service.
Elliott Ward earned a recall at the back for his first competitive outing of the new season and Elliott Bennett returned after injury in a less accustomed right-back role in front of Mark Bunn.
Kane showed a glimpse of his predatory instinct when he controlled Martin’s throw and turned in one flowing motion, but dragged a low volley beyond Gary Woods’ far post.
Holt drifted wide but hit his cross too deep for the youngster. City’s collective urgency was the impressive feature of the early stages as the yellow shirts looked to squeeze Doncaster deep inside their own half. Tettey needed little invitation to advance within range – as he would later prove to devastating effect – but his venomous hit lacked the accuracy to trouble Gary Woods.
Dean Saunders’ League One outfit looked understandably intimidated by the surgical onslaught from their Premier League hosts.
The Rovers’ boss needed his experienced players to settle frayed nerves. Bunn had to paw away Robbie Blake’s volley after David Cotterill’s initial miscued strike was only partially cleared by City’s under-employed backline. Shelton Martis then rose above Holt in a muscular near post duel, but headed over.
Norwich heeded the warning. Attacking endeavour appeared the antidote to lower league ambition.
Kane slammed a close range strike at Martis after Gary Woods had flapped at Elliott Bennett’s cross on the run before Marc Tierney’s long range hit clipped the top of Doncaster’s bar.
It was breathless stuff in front of the Barclay. Bond would have approved whole-heartedly.
The dapper, dark-suited Saunders emerged at the front of his technical area. The hand signals urged his side to push higher; to try and condense the play.
Norwich were dictating territory and possession. Yet Rovers were savouring pyrrhic victories. Cotterill teased his way inside Tierney, but dragged an angled strike the wrong side of Bunn’s far-post.
Kane’s intelligent cushioned lay off said everything about the youngster’s Tottenham schooling. Butterfield was on the same wavelength to slip in Holt who cut back onto his left but dragged wide.
The force was with Norwich, but City’s frontline were about to defer to Tettey.
The Norwegian’s earlier sighter may have ballooned into the Barclay, but his follow up was precision personified – unleashing a 25-yard strike that weaved around the diving Gary Woods to clip the inside of his far post.
Tettey headed straight for the home dug-out and a high five with Hughton and a drink; all in a night’s work for City’s cool debutant. A weight had been lifted after two shut-outs on the bounce. Norwich’s players looked to be enjoying themselves in the aftermath of Tettey’s clinical strike – Fox conducted the men around him with Elliott Bennett offering auxiliary back-up to City’s battery of forward-minded team mates. Butterfield linked with the Norwich full-back to test Gary Woods’ reflexes.
City needed to guard against over-confidence. Doncaster appeared lightweight in open play, but they underlined their prowess from set pieces again. Martis and Jamie McCombe were denied by frantic close range clearances.
The Canaries exuded defensive vulnerability despite the aerial presence of Ryan Bennett and Ward. Butterfield drove forward but the long range dip failed to match Tettey’s.
You sensed Hughton’s pre-match message had included the missive to adopt a shoot-on-sight policy on the evidence of the opening barrage. McCombe bailed out Rovers in stoppage time before the interval with a wonderful piece of anticipation to block Ward’s goalbound header from point blank range.
Norwich emerged unchanged after the interval, but injury intervened five minutes after the restart. Kane went down appearing to clutch his right ankle, before leaving the pitch on a stretcher.
Simeon Jackson’s introduction met with approval from the home ranks and Gary Woods was forced to deny City’s new look strike pair twice in the space of seconds – batting away Holt’s vicious swinging half-volley before parrying Jackson’s follow up. Saunders tried to respond. Former Norwich striker Chris Brown was given the chance to write a postscript to his Canary career. Kyle Bennett followed in a familial match-up alongside his older brother down Doncaster’s left flank.
Gary Woods acrobatically denied Holt with a one-handed mid-air save then Holt turned provider for Jackson who struck the side netting as Hughton’s side attempted to avoid a tense finale.
City looked to have navigated the final quarter without any real alarms until James Husband burst down the flank in the 87th minute to cut back a wonderful ball David Syers could only scuff skywards at the far post four yards out.
You could almost picture Bond turning to his long time assistant Ken Brown in the home dug-out and raising a look to the heavens in gratitude. No, thank you John Bond. Rest in peace.
Chris Hughton admitted Norwich’s soft centre again contributed to their downfall as Luis Suarez inspired Liverpool to a 5-1 Premier League win on Wednesday night at Anfield.