Home is where the hurt is for Norwich City

Nathan Redmond was a productive outlet for Norwich City. Picture by Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Nathan Redmond was a productive outlet for Norwich City. Picture by Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd - Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

For a team who plunder with such venom on the road Norwich City's home struggles is a growing source of irritation.

Neil Adams was right to file Rotherham's obdurate approach into the same 'freakish' category as Charlton's cheeky pilfering of three points over the past few days at Carrow Road, but the Canaries' boss is too sharp an operator not to delve deeper for the root causes of City's enduring troubles.

Frustration has been the dominant mood music in these parts, not just last week, but stretching right back to the previous league visits of both Birmingham and Bournemouth. In all four contests, Norwich were embarrassingly dominate in terms of possession and territory - arguably with the exception of the slick Cherries who looked to apply Eddie Howe's philosophy - but in each of those duels City were reliant on desperate salvos to translate emphatic control into league points.

Norwich's labours at home this season increasingly resemble observing the most talented pupil in the classroom fail to fulfil their true potential. It is not enough to seek solace in goalkeeping heroics from the opposition, or stout central defenders blocking a barrage of crosses into the penalty box, or even perceived injustices from officials.

All those factors have contributed to the current malaise that seems to be lingering over Carrow Road, but Norwich have faced all that and more on their travels and in the main discovered a path to progress.

The economical, almost surgical precision of their second half display at Blackpool to overhaul the Tangerines was singularly absent in the last two home tussles.

Norwich have been profligate in front of goal despite carving out a phenomenal amount of chances; perhaps secure in the knowledge they can raid at will with the pace and trickery of Nathan Redmond and Josh Murphy and the attacking instincts of adventurous full-backs in Martin Olsson and captain Russell Martin to service two strikers who have already notched 12 league goals between them.

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Adam Collin's triple stop seconds before Rotherham's penalty bordered on the miraculous, but Cameron Jerome's final part in that trilogy occurred barely two yards from the Millers' goal line with Collin prone on the turf.

Jerome's bravery in the shadow of the far post evened up the score in the closing stages, when he displayed the cold-eyed predatory instincts of a finisher to anticipate the trajectory of Kyle Lafferty's free kick against the woodwork, but that was a rare moment of clarity in a sea of missed opportunities for the Canaries.

It is almost disingenuous to question the output of the highest scorers in the division, yet in front of their own Norwich must be more ruthless, more merciless even to address a debilitating trend.

Nor should the focus rest solely on the potency of their attacking endeavours. In the aftermath of Collin's fantastically agile defiance, City were badly exposed by the speed of Rotherham's counter. John Ruddy was left with little choice but to confront Matt Derbyshire in a mid-air collision that presented Paul Green with a chance to put Rotherham in front from the spot.

Derbyshire had already miscued inside the six-yard box as Norwich exhibited fresh aerial vulnerability from a free kick that carried shades of Birmingham's second goal or Shrewsbury's winner in that forgettable Capital One Cup exit.

There is so much to admire about Adams' fearless Norwich this season, but there are also flaws checking their momentum and sucking them back towards a posse of rivals.

The manager and his coaching staff may welcome this international break as a chance to find a solution to the conundrum. City's away results have proved impressively robust but tainted with Carrow Road frustration it is a formula unlikely to bring sustained success.

Norwich's performance levels against Rotherham and Charlton may have deserved more but on the back of similar stories against Birmingham and Bournemouth it is time to find an antidote.

Wes Hoolahan looked a picture of dejection as he trooped to the sidelines to be replaced by Lafferty just past the hour mark. City's creative spark can be cast as the poster boy for this testing episode in Adams' early reign. Hoolahan's ability to leave a lasting imprint on games at Carrow Road has been noticeably absent in recent weeks. Too often he is hounded down blind alleys in congested central areas of the pitch where he is susceptible to ceding possession.

Opponents know full well if they afford the Republic of Ireland international time and space he will punish them. Now the Dubliner is a hunted commodity to the extent he is increasingly a peripheral influence, in sharp contrast to his residual value on the road when Norwich's counter-attacking ability proves devastatingly effective.

Josh Murphy and Lafferty injected a direct thrust to City's urgings as the Millers retreated towards Collin with time running out.

Such introductions are another signal of the enviable resources at Adams' disposal and it is that depth, even in the aftermath of this latest frustrating home shift, that suggests Norwich will find the answer to the thorny Carrow Road question.