Nelson takes admirable role in City's return
Chris LakeyAfter a season in which Norwich City have tended to write their own fantasy scripts, it was relevant that the one player who got to have a go at concocting a storyline on Saturday was the Admirable Michael Nelson.Chris Lakey
After a season in which Norwich City have tended to write their own fantasy scripts, it was relevant that the one player who got to have a go at concocting a storyline on Saturday was the Admirable Michael Nelson.
The centre-half's 34th-minute promoting-clinching goal was the stuff of dreams - and went some way to erasing one or two bad memories.
Like his City debut, when it all went wrong as Paul Lambert's Colchester slammed home seven at Carrow Road; like last Tuesday at Leyton Orient when he pleaded guilty to aiding and abetting the hosts' winner.
So what better man than Nelson to restore pride in Norfolk's flagship football club, with a performance of bravery and heroism in the heat of the battle?
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"It's brilliant," said Nelson, who joined City from Hartlepool last summer. "Obviously it's been a long time since the first day of the season, but I think it just goes to show that you have got to be patient.
"Some supporters didn't give us any hope after 45 minutes of the first game and here we are, three games left and we can just sit back and relax and enjoy the last three games.
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"The lads who played, the lads who didn't play, no one was happy. Anyone who was involved with Norwich City on the first day of the season wasn't happy, and we've made sure that we've put that right.
"I wasn't happy personally with my performance on Tuesday. I was at fault for the second goal and I felt I owed the lads something today and hopefully that makes up for it."
Nelson's goal - his second of the season - was the clincher, but his display in the heart of City's defence - and in front of the equally impressive keeper Fraser Forster - proved just as important.
"They were chucking everything at us," said the 30-year-old. "We were probably sitting a bit too deep to be honest, but it's hard to get out. It's probably the hottest day of the season so far, they were pegging us in, they chucked everything at us and we managed to keep them out, with Fraser pulling off a couple of great saves.
"That's what he's all about. You read the press and see interviews from many different people saying he's going to be up there with the best and on his performances this season I don't think anyone can argue with that."
Nelson may have won the battle, but the war isn't over.
"The season is still going and hopefully we will go and get the result we need next week - and that will be even better than today," he said. "I'm not bothered how it ends as long as it ends with us sitting where we are at the minute.
"I don't care how it comes. It can go in off someone's backside for all I care. We had to get out of this league by hook or by crook. I don't think we've been lucky in doing it, I think we have more than deserved it, and it's just time now for us to go out and enjoy ourselves and relax.
"All the lads are happy, but there's no champagne kicking about or anything like that. We'll probably save that for when we get the job done properly."
Nelson paid tribute to City's fans, for whom victory at The Valley helped exorcise the ghosts of a year ago, when City capitulated there on their way down to League One.
"I think they deserve it for coming week in, week out," he said. "These fans have been brilliant, the ones who have travelled up and down the country in all kinds of weather. We have taken two and three thousand to nearly every game.
"It has been fantastic. On Tuesday night I think we had more fans than Orient. It's a shame we couldn't get a result then, but it's nice to do it here, especially for the lads who played in this fixture last year. It's very nice for them to come back here and have happy memories."