Four minutes of Norwich City heaven – by those in the eye of the yellow and green storm
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
It will go down as one of Carrow Road's great games – because of the final few minutes of injury time, as City came from 3-0 down to draw 3-3 with Nottingham Forest.
Here's what some of the main characters in that extraordinary final chapter made of it...
IN THE THICK OF IT
Jason Dawson is Norwich City's official club photographer – and found himself closer to the action than usual when Onel Hernandez scored the equaliser in front of the River End. Suddenly Jason found himself mobbed by yellow shirts – in particular a large German midfielder.
Jason takes up the story...
'I was in position to get the picture of the players around Onel. Then Tom Trybull gave me a push which made me turn to my left and that's where Stiepermann caught my eye, I tried to continue to take pictures but in a blink of an eye Marco leapt on me to celebrate. My instinct was to try and continue to take pictures, while at the same time carrying Marco. It wasn't until Tim Krul came over to pull Marco off me that I could continue to take pictures.
'It all happened so fast – it has always been a pleasure to be able to photograph of the team I have supported as a child.'
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Once they'd stopped screaming and shouting and cheering and then celebrating, there was time for a some slightly more considered reactions to the events at Carrow Road from some of the City players.
Their Instagram accounts reveal their feelings...
'We are a TEAM! So proud to be part of this!' – Marco Stiepermann
'This team is incredible. This club is incredible. These fans are incredible' – Onel Hernandez
'Don't ever want to be losing 3-0 at Carrow Road, but great character shown by the whole group/team to come back and draw the game 3-3. Hopefully a boring 2-0 win against Derby on Saturday!' – Alex Tettey
'Never a dull moment with this team! Room for improvement but the heart & desire are there' – Jamal Lewis
'We never give up. 97th-minute equaliser. What a comeback again. We are all in this together. We go again Saturday!' – Tim Krul
'Great comeback today... Still a lot to improve and do better but a good point at the end' – Timm Klose.
FROM THE PRESS BOX
Canaries correspondent David Freezer ... two goals in injury-time should be a nightmare situation for journalists – but there was little sign of that when Onel Hernandez sent Carrow Road into meltdown.
Even some of the more composed reporters in the press box were on their feet as a quite incredible climax to a Boxing Day classic left us all desperately trying to take in action from every direction.
We had to jump up to see the City players bundling towards the corner between the River End and City Stand, but I have to admit I allowed myself a short celebration after such an epic comeback.
If you can't enjoy those moments at all then there's not too much enjoyment left in the game you enjoyed so much that you dedicated your life to making it your profession.
From the waves of joy among the seemingly swirling supporters in each stand, to a body of coaching staff on the pitch and Daniel Farke fanning the flames of an unforgettable moment, it truly was special.
Of course the injury-time winners against Millwall and Bolton from earlier in the season should be more memorable and Millwall does still take precedence, but to come back from 3-0 down, in a hugely entertaining encounter packed full of drama, made it a moment which continues the reinvigoration of Carrow Road as THE place to be.
BBC Radio Norfolk commentator Chris Goreham was joined by former City player Adrian Coote. This is how they described those sensational final few moments...
Chris Goreham: Great pass from Klose. We've had the seven minutes of stoppage time. They might get one more chance. Hernandez with the cross which is blocked, and if Forest clear it that might be the game. They've missed it. Here's Pukki, back to Godfrey on the edge of the penalty area. Into the box it goes. This could be run for Hernandez. YEEESS, OH MY GOODNESS. They've done it, they've done it, they've come from 3-0 down to equalise in the eighth minute of stoppage time. There are bodies everywhere on the pitch, the Norwich coaching staff, Daniel Farke, they're all there, they're all on the field. That is some comeback, even by Norwich City's standards. It's 3-3. Hernandez took it brilliantly. What a match. A Christmas cracker on Boxing Day at Carrow Road and even by Canaries standards that is something else – 3- in the eighth minute of stoppage time.
Adrian Coote: Don't know what all the fuss is about. I knew they could do it.
It was 15 years ago to the day that City got their man, when Huckerby, after a successful loan spell, was unveiled as a Norwich City player. The Boxing Day fixture back in 2003 was against... Nottingham Forest (City winning 1-0). Huckerby went on to attain legendary status among the City faithful – the flying winger who terrorised defences, scored outrageous goals and was adored on the terraces. Fast forward to Boxing day 2018, and Onel Hernandez may well be setting out on a similar path.
Huckerby's verdict on Twitter was succinct - and probably shared by many City fans.
'Ridiculous from NCFC. Where do you even start with that! I'm heading down the pub!'
FROM THE SOUTH STAND
City fan Kim Briscoe describes the mood among fans...
It seemed to be one of those games where luck just wasn't on our side.
We weren't short of chances, but couldn't get the ball in the back of the net.
We had a stonewall penalty appeal, but it wasn't given and the culprit went up the other end and scored.
At three goals down, things looked bleak, but there was that little sliver of hope, kept alive by the memory of our comeback against Millwall.
When the third goal went in I'm pretty sure I screamed and I'm not proud of it but I might have shouted something like 'in your face' in the direction of the away fans, but then it's all a bit of a joyful blur.
Millwall might have been sweeter thanks to the extra two points, but this fightback was spectacular and the cumulative effect of so many injury time goals just gives the supporters and players a belief that we have been missing for a while now.
The last time I remember feeling like this was when 'he who shall not be named' was manager in 2010/11 and we secured a back-to-back promotion to the Premier League.
There were a plethora of late goals which kept our promotion dream alive against the odds, most memorably Simeon Jackson's last-gasp goal at Carrow Road to win 3-2 against Derby.
It's a trait that promotion-winning sides seem to have in abundance and long may it continue for the Canaries.