Thank heavens football matches last for 90 minutes

At half-time last Saturday Chris Hughton's prospects weren't looking good, to say the least.

West Ham's six-man midfield had not only stifled City's attacking intent after an initial flurry but had also managed to create the game's best openings and looked to be in total control. Thank heavens, then, that football matches last 90 minutes.

In the second half, with City's back four holding a higher line and Johnny Howson given more licence to get forward, the game changed as Sam Allardyce failed to react until it was too late. That might explain a post match interview that would have given Tony Pulis a run for his money as the most graceless loser in football.

I will admit to a deep-seated dislike for Allardyce – even in victory he looks like someone who has just lost his winning lottery ticket, but in defeat he becomes the living embodiment of self-pity, and his decision to speak of the loss totally in terms of his own side's failings was an insult to City's fightback.

The simple fact is that he was out thought by Hughton and his players were outfought by a rejuvenated City side whose display of unity after the third goal was heart-warming to see, particularly Michael Turner's understated handshake with his manager as the players celebrated with the substitutes.


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How sad then that the first contributor to Canary Call, rather than revel in a win against a side who'd conceded just one away goal in their five away games this season, chose to bleat about how much he'd wanted City to lose so that Hughton would be sacked.

Other callers noted the victory but criticised the performance, which confuses me. Having totally outclassed Cardiff, the Canaries were castigated because they didn't actually win, and now this time the win was apparently devalued because the performance wasn't good enough. So what actually is the yardstick here? Is it the result or the quality of performance? Or are the goalposts going to simply move back and forth to suit the position being taken?

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In reality I think most of us are yet to be totally convinced that the current set up is going to push City to the next level. One win doesn't answer the many questions that have arisen in recent weeks and it is vital that this success is quickly built upon.

However, the overwhelming majority of fans are sufficiently open minded to give credit or criticism as and when due and not get too depressed by a setback or too elated by a success. There is, however, a hard core whose antipathy towards Hughton is so deeply ingrained as to obscure anything but the negatives, which is sad.

What was totally laudable, however, was the way that the crowd got behind the team as they increased the tempo. While the first half had seen palpable tension both on the pitch and in the stands the second half showed the connection between fans and players that makes Norwich City such a special club to support. Is this the turning point? Who knows, but it was certainly a much more pleasant weekend for most of us.

In some respects it would be good to carry the momentum gained last week straight into another league game, but the chance to clear up one or two niggling injuries during the international hiatus will be welcome. However, three breaks before the end of November does nothing for the flow of the season and I'm sure that I won't be the only City fan who feels at something of a loss as three o'clock ticks around this afternoon.

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