Iwan Roberts: The 15 minutes when Daniel Farke really earns his crust
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
Norwich City have recorded two solid away wins against, historically, two big clubs - but both Sheffield Wednesday and Nottingham Forest have fallen a long way since their glory days and now both fighting for their Championship lives.
I’ve said many times that a manager or head coach earns his crust in those 15 minutes during half-time when things aren’t quite going to plan. He can get hold of his players and give them a piece of his mind after a below-par first-half performance. It’s not often this season that Daniel Farke has had to scream and shout, but I get the feeling that’s exactly what he did Sunday lunchtime at Hillsborough.
For once, his team were off the pace and looked anything like their fluent selves in that opening 45 minutes. But once he’d had his say at half time, the players came out like a team possessed, coming from behind to dominate the second half and end up winning the game with two stunning goals.
The winning goal from Todd Cantwell was a goal worthy of winning any game. it was nearly as good a strike with his weaker foot as my left-footed swinger up at Gresty Road in my last game for Norwich back in 2004! Of course, I’m only joking - I loved the fact that he had every faith in taking the shot on with his left foot, even though it meant he really had to open his body up to get his effort on target.
The equaliser against Wednesday wasn’t too shabby either, I said at the time that had Teemu Pukki picked the ball up and walked into the goal he couldn’t have placed it any better with his hands than his thunderbolt of a right-footed strike did.
Teemu’s goal scoring in the Championship is just ridiculous, his numbers at this level are mind blowing; his goal on Sunday was his 50th in this division in 75 games - and he didn’t have long too wait for his 51st... just three days!
It took him only nine minutes to open the scoring at the City Ground on Wednesday night with his usual trademark goal, his 63rd in Norwich colours, which now puts him just 33 goals behind a certain prolific Welshman who sits third in the club's list of all-time top scorers!
Kieran Dowell had a very successful loan period with Forest back in the 2017-18 season, scoring 10 goals in his 43 appearances, but I doubt if any of those 10 were as good as the one he scored the other night, smashing a low, left-footed strike past Forest second choice keeper Jordan Smith after a lovely little give and go with a team-mate, which made it three wins away at Forest for the Canaries in their last four visits.
I have to say how poor Forest were and I was slightly shocked at Chris Hughton’s team selection, as were quite a lot of Forest fans who voiced their disapproval on social media. Chris rested a few players, including ever-present number one Brice Samba. I'm not quite sure why he’d rest his ever-present and best goalkeeper against the best team in the league and give a first start to Smith?
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His team are nine points from the relegation places, but third-from-bottom Rotherham have four games in hand so they are by no means safe, and with their next two games away from home at Brentford and Cardiff, who need the points for different reasons.
After two away games it's back to Carrow Road on Saturday afternoon with Blackburn the visitors. Tony Mowbray’s men have won just one of their last 11 games, seven of which they’ve lost, so I fully expect Norwich to win their 10th consecutive game, something they last did 31 years ago in 1985-86,