Fans helped us over the line – Grant

CHRIS LAKEY Peter Grant has praised the Carrow Road faithful for helping the Canaries kick off their home campaign in winning fashion against Southampton.

CHRIS LAKEY

Peter Grant has praised the Carrow Road faithful for helping the Canaries kick off their home campaign in winning fashion against Southampton.

Grant - who had a much-publicised run-in with the home fans last season - believes the vocal support in the second half helped turn the game in City's favour.

"You get three points and you are absolutely delighted with that for the first game, but I thought great credit to the support," said the City boss.

"I have been critical before, but I thought we weren't playing well at all, but they got right behind them and I could see the players getting a lift from that and I thought they helped us through a difficult period."

Grant blasted the fans last November, claiming they failed to help City "across the line" in a home game against Hull, who scored an injury-time equaliser. But regular chants of "Peter Grant's yellow and green army" on Saturday proved that a lot of water has passed under the Carrow Road bridge since then.

Most Read

"I am not one for doing that, praising people lightly," added Grant. "But I thought they helped us in a tough, tough period in the game and it shows you that can move mountains at times. In the second half I thought that was a big part of getting us the three points."

While the fans did their part off the pitch, it was Jamie Cureton's second double of the week after his Carling Cup brace against Barnet that did the trick on it, as City clawed back from a first-half deficit to claim their first win of the season - with more than a little help from half-time sub Mark Fotheringham.

The Scot's introduction helped swing the advantage City's way, while two spectacular strikes - one from an indirect free-kick after Saints keeper Kelvin Davis had picked up a back pass - from Cureton confirmed it.

"I don't need to tell anybody what Jamie Cureton is worth, he has done it all his career," said Grant. "You create chances for him and he has an opportunity to score. But the only way we could do that was pushing the game further up the pitch in the second half and keeping possession of the ball a little bit better."

The second goal was a gem, Cureton chesting down Lee Croft's cross before volleying home.

"That is what strikers are - you see the best of them, that's what they do, they finish chances, with half chances they sniff something that other people don't," said Grant. "He is aware of where the goal is, he knows that is not going to move and he has been aware of that for many, many years. We feel if we can get everything else sorted out round and about him and create chances for him he will score goals.

"The thing that got us through was guts and determination, it wasn't good quality. We kept changing the ball over far, far too quickly, we just couldn't get out and Southampton dominated without hurting us really.

"Great credit to Jason Shackell and Gary Doherty. I was critical of the defence in midweek and I thought they defended very well against two tough characters, Jones and Rasiak."

However, it was Fotheringham who Grant believes played a major part, although his introduction at half-time was followed by his departure on a stretcher eight minutes before time.

"It was on the tackle, the way he landed," said Grant. "He's gone over on his ankle. That was a blow because it was a tough call to leave him out because I thought he played very well in midweek. It was men against boys when Southampton came here for the last game last season so I went for a bit of a tougher approach in the middle of the pitch.

"The first half the two guys in there couldn't get their legs going, I felt I had to change it quickly, it was no use waiting any longer. We did that and I thought Mark swung the game for us, keeping possession of the ball, moving the ball quickly from side to side and picking up areas to pass forward."