Norwich City’s great late show
Norwich City's ability to score late goals, and come out on top in tight matches, is underpinning their challenge for promotion to the Barclays Premier League.
When Henri Lansbury struck with the final kick of the game on Tuesday night to earn the Canaries a dramatic 2-1 victory over Millwall it summed up the story of the season so far, with Paul Lambert's side again demonstrating their never-say-die attitude to boost their points tally.
The Canaries have now secured 16 extra points this term by scoring goals in the 80th minute or later, with five of those coming in added time – Lansbury following the lead set by Grant Holt at Scunthorpe in August and Andrew Crofts at home to Burnley in November.
What makes the record all the more laudable is that the boot has rarely been on the other foot. So far this season City have lost just three points in the final ten minutes – one at home to Hull when two late goals earned the Tigers a fortuitous 2-0 win, and two, ironically enough, at Millwall in November when youngster John Marquis popped up with a last-gasp equaliser at The New Den.
City's habit of coming on strong in the latter stages of games is also illustrated by a closer examination of the timings of the goals they have scored in their 29 Championship fixtures so far.
A mere 19 have come in the opening hour with the remaining 27 coming in the final 30 minutes – and ten of those arriving in the final ten minutes plus added time.
If you are going to miss part of a Norwich game it would certainly seem sensible to arrive late rather than leave early. With just 17 league matches left to play Lambert's side have only scored once in the opening ten minutes – Russell Martin's ninth minute winner against leaders QPR just after Christmas.
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City's success so far this term is also down in no small part to their record in tight games. Of their 14 league wins ten have been by the odd goal, with only Swansea (2-0), Bristol City (3-0), Ipswich (4-1) and Sheffield United (4-2) suffering a heavier beating.
Two of those games were actually close ones, with Swansea seeing a late penalty saved at Carrow Road by John Ruddy before conceding twice and United also letting in two near the end as Wes Hoolahan completed his hat-trick.
Lansbury's winner against Millwall was City's sixth injury time goal this term. In addition to the two other winners Simeon Jackson and Wes Hoolahan added gloss to the victories over Swansea and Sheffield United (home) while Michael Nelson's goal in the opening day defeat against Watford counted for nothing.
• NORWICH CITY'S LATE, LATE SHOWS
• Points won between 80 & 90 minutes (+11)
August 21: Swansea (h) 2-0 (from 0-0, Williams og 87, Jackson 90) +2 points
September 11: Barnsley (h) 2-1 (from 1-1, Martin 80) +2
December 18: Coventry (a) 2-1 (from 1-1, Holt 87) +2
December 28: Sheffield Utd (h) 4-2 (from 2-2, Hoolahan 84, 90) +2
January 25: Cardiff (h) 1-1 (from 0-1, R Martin 90) +1
January 22: Sheffield Utd (a) 2-1 (from 1-1, Crofts 80) +2
• Points won in stoppage time: +5
August 14: Scunthorpe (a) 1-0 (from 0-0, Holt 90) +2
November 6: Burnley (h) 2-2 (from 1-2, Crofts 90) +1
February 1: Millwall (h) 2-1 (from 1-1, Lansbury 90) +2
• Total points gained: +16
• Points lost between 80 & 90 minutes: (1)
September 25: Hull (h) 0-2 (from 0-0, Koren 83, Cairney 88) –1
• Points lost in stoppage time: (2)
November 9: Millwall (a) 1-1 (from 0-1, Marquis 90) –2
• Total points lost: 3
• City's goal times:
1-10 mins: 1
11-20 mins: 6
21-30 mins: 2
31-40 mins: 5
41-50 mins: 3 (all in the last four minutes of the first half)
51-60 mins: 2
61-70 mins: 8
71-80 mins: 9
81-90 mins: 4
Stoppage time: 6