Paddy’s Pointers: Five observations from Norwich City’s drab 0-0 Championship stalemate against Bolton
PUBLISHED: 23:59 24 February 2018 | UPDATED: 09:52 25 February 2018
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Our Norwich City correspondent Paddy Davitt delivers his verdict from Carrow Road
1. Gear change would be nice? - We can come on to the poor finishing but City’s inability to move through the gears in the second period was painful to watch at Carrow Road.
Norwich were excellent prior to the interval - minus the cutting edge - but there was an alarming lack of invention or creativity following the interval.
A third game in six days after some epic comebacks might be mitigation; albeit Daniel Farke made four changes.
But there was a sluggishness to Norwich’s laboured efforts that made it all too easy for relegation-threatened Bolton to pick up a rare positive away result.
2. Oh Mo - The instant reverse pass from Nelson Oliveira was a thing of beauty. Moritz Leitner had the freedom of the Bolton backline to advance with just Ben Alnwick to beat.
It looked a routine outcome but the horrid miscued finish betrayed any trace of composure.
It was an outswinger when it needed a sure touch guided inside the far post.
It was the most glaring of a series of first half chances squandered by Norwich.
James Maddison hit a post.
Grant Hanley planted a free header wide and Alnwick thwarted Oliveira with a fine parry.
Little did we know then Leitner’s gilt-edged chance would be as good as it got for the hosts.
3. Farke Time. Not this time - After stoppage time drama against Ipswich Town and Wolves in the past week, the fourth official’s board with a minimum of six minutes sparked all too rare ripple of second half excitement.
There is no doubting the resilience and the character in Farke’s squad but it was asking too much for one more heart-stopping instalment.
There was only one bizarre moment to record, and that was the German’s dismissal from the touchline after appearing to kick the ball away.
4. The lesser spotted Hoolahan - Farke had spent the past few days underling Hoolahan would feature down the stretch.
His moment came in the 80th minute when he was introduced for his first appearance since January 20.
Sadly there was no fairytale for a man who may well be entering the twilight of a superb Canaries’ career.
There was some understandable rust. The trademark pivots were unable to buy those pockets of space.
This may be the shape of things to come between now and the end of the season.
Savour the Dubliner while you can.
5. Cold dose of reality - Perhaps those optimists still harbouring faint hopes of a play-off push can now accept City had left themselves too much to do.
This is all about building for next season.
And this lacklustre, limp attacking display illustrates Farke has plenty of work ahead to furnish a solid platform with genuine forward thrust.
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