Lowestoft 0, Norwich City 12
CHRIS LAKEY Norwich City racked up something close to a cricket score tonight - but even their goal glut at Crown Meadow failed to lighten manager Peter Grant's mood.
Norwich City racked up something close to a cricket score tonight - but even their goal glut at Crown Meadow failed to lighten manager Peter Grant's mood.
Had everything gone to plan, Grant would have been watching Dickson Etuhu run the game from the centre of the field. Instead, the strapping 25- year-old was checking into a hotel in the North East of England after his £1.5m transfer went through today.
No doubt while Grant was watching his team demolish their Ridgeons League opponents, his mind would have wondered to other things - like exactly who he could bring in as a replacement. The events of the past few days have clearly left their mark on the city boss.
“I'm very disappointed to have lost Dickson, no doubt about that,” he said. “I think it is amazing the amount of people who support him now who wanted him out when I came to the club. I wish people would have seen that for longer while he was here because he is a top player.
“Unfortunately he has gone to a club I feel we are more than capable of being on a par with. Speaking to the big fellow he was really, really disappointed it has come the way it has.
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“On Saturday you could have knocked me down when the offer came in because it was a big, big disappointment for me.”
Grant now begins the task of replacing Etuhu.
“You are always looking to replace players at all times anyway because you never know in football how quickly things change,” he said.
“But Dickson is a massive blow because I have tried to base the team around him being here.
“I think you can see that with the different individuals I brought to the team, a different mix to it, so Saturday and Sunday was very difficult for me.”
There were a few consolations for Grant tonight, namely a four goal haul for young striker Chris Martin and a first goal in city colours for Chris Brown in front of a 2,000 plus crowd on the East Coast.
Brown headed wide from Youssef Safri's free kick in the opening minute and ten minutes later did the same from Simon Lappin's cross.
Some excellent work by Luke Chadwick down the right set up Martin for the opener before Brown, at the third attempt, got off the mark on 16 minutes, nodding home from close range.
A Safri thunderbolt from all of 35 yards was more than punishment for a Lowestoft side that failed to close him down.
Martin meted out further punishment on 36 minutes, but this time as provider for Robert Eagle to slide home from the edge of the area and then within a minute doubled his own tally from 15 yards, benefiting from a Chadwick cut-back.
Eagle teed up Martin for his hat trick two minutes before the break to make it 6-0 to the visitors.
Safri and Brown did not reappear for the second half but it was business as usual, Michael Spillane knocking home a seventh on 48 minutes.
Chadwick added another five minutes later - soon after being denied a penalty - then Martin fired in a 30-yard rocket just before the hour mark.
Half-time sub Rossi Jarvis joined in the fun and games with a shot that went in off the post on 66 minutes to take City's tally into double figures.
Another half-time sub, Kris Renton scored his first senior goal two minutes later and scored again on 76 minutes to wrap up a good night's work for the Canaries.
t Norwich City: Marshall (Arnold 63), Otsemobor (Lathorpe 56), Lappin, Safri (Jarvis 45), Dublin, Spillane, Chadwick (Smart 60), Hughes, Brown (Renton 45), Martin, Eagle (Miller 61).