High spots from a forgettable season

It's been a largely forgettable season, but I'll remember at least 10 NCFC-related moments from it.

It's been a largely forgettable season, but I'll remember at least 10 NCFC-related moments from it.

10: Chris Llewellyn's vital goal on May 5: Okay, he fell out of contention at Carrow Road in 2003, but, still only 27, he should be playing at a higher level than having gone on to play for Bristol Rovers, Wrexham and Hartlepool. On my quest to eventually do all the League grounds - so if Morecambe get promoted I'll be the one really hoping that Norwich draw them in a cup soon - I was at the Racecourse Ground to see him score the goal which kept Wrexham in the Football League and condemn Boston to the Conference, then throw his shirt into a stand and have to play the last couple of minutes in a red vest, during which time a sublime piece of trickery saw him set up the Dragons' third goal. Totally wasted at this level, as opposed to Boston's Drewe Broughton, who had an absolute stinker.

9: Simon Charlton playing for Oldham at King's Lynn in the FA Cup on December 1: I imagine he wasn't quite expecting chants of “You're just a Norwich reject” whenever he took possession, but he was part of a classy Oldham side who that night showed just why they would qualify for the play-offs and could yet be back in Norfolk next season to face the Canaries. (Incidentally, I don't think the Linnets got the credit they deserved for how they organised the match and managed to get a crowd more than five times their average in and out of The Walks speedily. Plenty of Championship clubs could learn a think or two from the stewarding that night.)

8: Away to Torquay in the Carling Cup on August 23: So maybe they were 675 travelling fans part from me surprised to see City take a cup-tie against lower-division opposition - and there's no other word for it - seriously. In the end, despite the optimism of the Torquay Herald Express in headlining their first-round preview 'Here come the big spenders', it was a fairly mix-and-match Canary line-up, but the purpose and commitment they showed suggested that Norwich actually wanted a cup run this time around. But after a similarly spirited display in the next round at Rotherham, they reverted to type by going out on penalties at Port Vale following the most forgettable of 0-0 draws. Bit ironic really, since it was a Nigel Worthington-esque cup-tie after the change of management, and you suspect Peter Grant being the kind of person who would hate to lose even a testimonial.

7: The 3-1 victory at Barnsley on March 3: There was a time - well, three seasons ago - when watching City on the road was regularly this enjoyable. Barnsley were totally outclassed, and if they could argue that the Canaries had luck on their side when they benefited from playing 10 men for much of the 5-1 romp at Carrow Road back in August, this time fortune favoured the Tykes as they could have let in seven or eight.

6: Drawing a non-league side away in the FA Cup on January 6: The atmosphere (and ticket sales) were certainly affected by the early, televised start, but I guess that the BBC fee boosted the Carrow Road coffers nicely and, anyway, the match might not even have kicked off at 3pm owing to the steady rain and waterlogged conditions. Forget the game - although it should be noted that this was a clinical win that didn't give the watching national press the story they wanted - this was an experience. After the long gap since Yeovil in 1980, City might have to wait another 27 years to play at a venue like this again, by which time no doubt even the Conference will be governed by the over-stringent safety concerns in this country so grounds like Tamworth's will have to have become all-seater.

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5: Dion Dublin - over the entire season: Look, like plenty of other people I admit I was wrong about this one. His signing was presented as the acquisition of an experienced striker, whereas what we got was an old head on not so old legs, just not those of a forward. The effect of his presence this season cannot be minimised. On the field he was leading pre-match huddles, being the first to console anyone who missed during the penalty shoot-out at Port Vale, oh, and scoring some excellent goals. I can only imagine what an even greater benefit he must have been at Colney. A natural leader and a big, big loss.

4: Luke Chadwick's goal at Ipswich on November 19: Because not only scoring at Portman Road but also taking the lead is something always worthy of celebration. Okay, it took Ipswich only 14 minutes to draw level, and City, in Peter Grant's own view were “awful”, but it was still good while it lasted.

3: The fightback against Leeds on February 3: Had Leeds been able to hold on for the last half-hour of this crucial match they would have been just four points off the Canaries in 22nd position. Instead, they ended the day 10 points adrift and bottom of the table. A brilliant close-range strike from Dion Dublin and a flowing move rounded off by Darren Huckerby were quality goals that a promotion-chasing side would have been proud of, never mind a side fighting to avoid a second relegation in three seasons.

2: The City turn-out at Chelsea on February 17: Not just because there were 6,300 away fans in a crowd of 41,537, but the atmosphere of the day. Housing all the Canary fans in one stand - as opposed to splitting them up for the play-off semi-final at Wolves - made a huge difference to the day, plus the noise created. Had it have been against any other side, Dickson Etuhu's post-hitting shot and Lee Croft's missed follow-up would have been my number one moment, but you sense that even if either of them had gone in it would have merely annoyed Chelsea into early retaliation. Easily the most enjoyable heavy City defeat I've seen.

1: Simon Lappin's injury-time winner at Luton on February 27: For all the spirit shown against Leeds, City still managed just one point from their next two fixtures, and this was a fixture they couldn't afford to lose. There were long spells when it seemed they wouldn't, before City's No 19 sealed a memorable victory. Hard to tell who got most carried away - the Canaries' bench: their reaction made Alex Ferguson and Brian Kidd's dancing on the Old Trafford pitch in 1993 seem almost funereal by comparision, with Peter Grant later feeling the need to apologise for his language that evening; or Chris Goreham and Neil Adams in their Radio Norfolk commentary.