Elliott Bennett happy to see fans and players do it for each other at Norwich City

Elliott Bennett celebrates his goal against Reading, which proved to be the winner. Picture by Paul

Elliott Bennett celebrates his goal against Reading, which proved to be the winner. Picture by Paul Chesterton/Focus Images - Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

The campaigns and razzmatazz designed to earmark the importance of Saturday's Premier League visit from Reading was aimed at stoking up an atmosphere for arguably the Canaries' biggest game of the season to date.

Bradley Johnson, Anthony Pilkington and Russell Martin applaude the Norwich City fans following Satu

Bradley Johnson, Anthony Pilkington and Russell Martin applaude the Norwich City fans following Saturday's final whistle. Picture by Paul Chesterton/Focus Images - Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

The thought of dropping out of the Premier League paradise, one no one dared consider.

Yet in truth, the build-up was more about everyone being in it together. Pulling in the same direction. Standard terminology – exemplified at Carrow Road on Saturday.

The fans did their part, making the small pocket of Reading support an irrelevance. And as the baton of responsibility passed over to the players at the first whistle of both halves, Chris Hughton's men duly delivered – especially at the second time of asking. The final 10 minutes was all about everyone hanging on – and hang on, they did.

The bigger picture of that can be discussed and rectified in the summer once highly unlikely becomes impossible. For now, there can be one collective sigh of relief.


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'The atmosphere was a little bit different – there was a lot riding on this game,' said Elliott Bennett, whose first Premier League goal of the season proved the difference.

'Sometimes you can get criticised when you're not winning games, and we've got a really strong belief in the squad that we can do that.

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'In the first 25 minutes we started really well and got the crowd on our side. There's a lot made about sometimes fans not being on your side but I think sometimes the players have to get the fans up for the game and I thought we really did that today. They were magnificent throughout.

'I don't know what those things were that were clapping around but they were quite loud. We came out at the start and showed everyone we were really up for it. Every club needs their fans but you also have to give them something back – and today we gave them the three points.'

It may be Bennett's goal is the one that keeps Norwich in the Premier League for a third season since their return – one that owed plenty to a looping deflection off the leg of goalkeeper Alex McCarthy.

'It was the scruffiest shot I've ever hit and it just looped into the net, so I'll take that all day,' joked Bennett.

'I mean, I hit two in the first half and they were quite clean but I missed the target, which is criminal.

'And then I had a scruffy one in the second half and it's gone in. That's how it goes.'

That said, Elliott was not about to start dreaming of Premier League survival or reliving the goal that helped keep City up.

'I wouldn't say it was that – there are still four games to go and hopeful we can go on a run now,' he added.

'But it was a magnificent feeling to win the game and I'm pleased I managed to get on the scoresheet.

'I thought we were magnificent in the first 25 minutes of the first half and continued that in the first 25 minutes of the second.

'Perhaps we could have had a few more. It got a bit nervy at the end. I thought it was a brilliant strike from McCleary but we managed to hang on and get the three points, which is massive for where we need to get to.

'We're not going to stop until it's mathematically safe – and even when it is, if it is, then we just want to win football matches and that is what we will continue to try and do.

'But hopefully what we can do now is start a little run until the end of the season.'

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