Video and photo gallery: Braintree Town 1, Norwich City 6

Wes Hoolahan in action. Picture: Sarah Lucy Brown Wes Hoolahan in action. Picture: Sarah Lucy Brown

Tuesday, July 15, 2014
9:36 PM

Norwich City hit the goal trail at Braintree to step up their pre-season preparations in style on Tuesday night at the Amlin Stadium.

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Kyle Lafferty’s 25-yard free kick was the pick of a predatory offering from Neil Adams’ squad with Ricky van Wolfswinkel also on target within a minute of his second half arrival prior to a late second close range tap-in. City were already 2-0 up at the break thanks to Lafferty and Andrew Surman’s early opener before Nathan Redmond, Bradley Johnson and van Wolfswinkel completed the pre-season rout, with Sean Marks replying for the Conference Premier hosts.

Adams again opted to field two radically altered line ups in each half but the City boss Adams did retain his faith in the midfield diamond from the off with Republic of Ireland international Wes Hoolahan earning his first start of the pre-season at the point of a midfield four behind Lafferty and Gary Hooper.

Elliott Bennett switched to full back with Jonny Howson and Surman either side of Johnson in the anchor role. Captain Russ Martin partnered Michael Turner in central defence with Swedish international Martin Olsson also making his seasonal re-appearance on the left of the back four.

Hoolahan’s creative urges took him clear of the retreating Braintree midfield before he was crudely hauled down by Chez Isaac but Bradley Johnson’s thumping left footed free kick was collected by Nick Hamann.

Martin had to take evasive action to clear Kenny Davis’ set piece with the Iron looked to pin City back in the early stages; Alan Massey’s flick from the resulting corner drifting wide of John Ruddy’s left-hand post.

Norwich responded in perfect fashion and there was a soothing inevitability about Hoolahan’s involvement. Hooper raced clear down the right before picking out the Irishman on the edge of the area who calmly rolled in Surman to slot past Hamann.

The unmarked Hooper then headed Surman’s cross over eight yards out with Braintree struggling to subdue Adams’ men in the immediate aftermath.

Johnson swerved past Ryan Case but the over-worked Hamann beat away his first time strike before Hoolahan was crowded out but there was plenty of encouraging signs for the Canaries in their attacking intent.

City did survive a scare at the other end in the 12th minute when Ronnie Hawkins stabbed a left-foot shot against the base of Ruddy’s post.

Adams had another momentary concern when Lafferty landed awkwardly after challenging Hamann but the new signing was fit to continue after treatment.

Matt Paine headed a sharp chance over Ruddy’s bar in the 21st minute but the Conference Premier outfit were largely restricted to sporadic sights of the England keeper’s goal with City confident in possession.

Lafferty was upended on a positive foray and the Northern Irishman punished the hosts with a dipping 25-yard free kick past a sprawling Hamann.

Hawkins profited from Martin’s indecision on the restart but the midfielder’s left-foot strike slammed Ruddy’s side netting from an acute angle.

City’s midfield blend of Johnson’s industry and the smooth promptings of Hoolahan and Surman was creating plenty of opportunity for Olsson and Elliott Bennett to launch raiding parties down either flank despite the Iron’s attempts to squeeze the space in front of Hamann.

Lafferty was a coat of paint from his second on the night when a glancing header slammed the top of the Braintree bar from Elliott Bennett’s cross.

Howson slalomed between Davis and James Mulley but his right foot finish lacked the accuracy of Lafferty’s previous intervention.

Adams reprised his formula from the Dereham opener at the interval with eight changes including a first summer sighting of van Wolfswinkel and Mark Bunn.

The Dutch record signing took barely a minute to open his account after Hamann totally misjudged his intended punt clear allowing the striker to walk the ball over the line.

Hamann showed no lingering effects from his rash misjudgement with a superb tip over to foil Josh Murphy with City’s attacking edge remaining just as potent despite the huge overhaul in personnel.

Nathan Redmond was next to add his name to a growing scoresheet in the 54th minute when he was allowed to advance and drill a low right foot strike into Hamann’s bottom right-hand corner.

Lewis Grabban was the next in line for target practice but the harassed Braintree stopper stood firm until Johnson slotted a fifth from the edge of the area.

Sean Marks grabbed a consolation for the well-beaten Iron with a close range volley before making way for Elias Moses with City largely content to play out the final stages in cruise control until van Wolfswinkel had another simple assignment to sweep home Murphy’s cross.

• Braintree (starting line up): Hamann, Case, Habergham, Isaac, Paine, Massey, Mulley, Davis, Marks, Walker, Hawkins.

• Goal: Marks (69)

• Norwich City (first half line-up): Ruddy, E Bennett, Martin, Turner, Olsson, Johnson, Howson, Surman, Hoolahan, Lafferty, Hooper. (second half line up): Bunn, Whittaker, R Bennett, Turner (Gafaiti 60), Garrido, Redmond, Howson (Hoolahan 60), Johnson (Loza 67), Josh Murphy, Grabban, van Wolfswinkel.

• Goals: Surman (7), Lafferty (24), van Wolfswinkel (46, 86), Redmond (54), Johnson (62)

• Referee: Mike Bull

• Attendance: 833

33 comments

  • It`s only football, Matt. I`m more worried about Scotland getting independence and robbing us of that wondrous weather woman, Carol Kirkwood. We mere English will lose the two best warm fronts we`ve ever seen. Then again, if she`s forced to change Nationality, we could see the best twin strike-force ever. Schiehallion has nothing on those.

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    Mad Brewer

    Thursday, July 17, 2014

  • True MB. Wise words! ;) Its only two games so im not going to go over the top on Lafferty in true "RVW IS OUR NEW STRIKER GET HIS NAME AND NUMBER ON YOUR SHIRT NOW NOW NOW NOW BUY BUY BUY SEE HIS GOALS ON YOUTUBE HERE HERE HERE HERE" style but hes certainly making the right impression. Im sure the media will pick up on the old womaniser story and use that for their cheap puns all season but I have no problem with that as he seems the sort to not really give a monkey about what the media think. Get the impression he could become one of those players you utterly hate, unless hes playing for you. A bit like Holt ;)

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    Mattias333

    Thursday, July 17, 2014

  • Went to the game last night. Thought Lafferty looked pretty quick for a big guy and he can obviously take a free kick so may be more to him then meets the eye. I would like to see RVW bosstell players where he wants the ball to be as he was very quiet. He has pedigree, experience and quality far beyond some of our young talented wingers. Holty would constantly ask for the ball and tell people where he expected them to put it, and I think RVW could learn from that.

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    MellowYellow

    Wednesday, July 16, 2014

  • I see Steely`s point there. The thing is, Matt, if you feel the need to turn and say "mirror, mirror on the wall.... does my 8um look big in this?" then it could be time for a metamorphosis. From larva to adult.

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    Mad Brewer

    Wednesday, July 16, 2014

  • lafferty is a big unit, and looks mobile.

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    wivenhoebudgie

    Wednesday, July 16, 2014

  • Steady On - I agree Lafftery is looking a handful but let’s not get carried away. Any championship player looks class against opponents like Dereham and Braintree

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    Sitruc

    Wednesday, July 16, 2014

  • Actually laughed out loud at that one! Funny but very true as well! Imagine being a Uruguay fan or one of the many teams getting a skin tight shirt. Perfect for footballers in the prime of their career. Not so good for the average football fan or ex footballer whose lost the ability to play daily!

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    Mattias333

    Wednesday, July 16, 2014

  • Wear it while you can Matt. My rule of thumb is that if you are too old to play in it then you should not be wearing it.

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    Steely Dan

    Wednesday, July 16, 2014

  • Still cant decide whether I like the new kit. I've already pretty much decided I personally wont be buying it (atleast until the price massively goes down)....but dunno how I feel about how the lads look playing in it. I just never get that 'wow' factor watching us in the kits we produce. My way of deciding usually is....would Ronaldo and Messi look rubbish in our kit....and its usually yes. Ok thats all ive got to moan about today. I promise.

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    Mattias333

    Wednesday, July 16, 2014

  • DJ - thanks for your match report from Lynn.You must have had one hell of a walk from Brussels to the Walks.

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    Steely Dan

    Wednesday, July 16, 2014

  • Ooops! Just seen the same article here. Has it just appeared?? ;-)

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    Mad Brewer

    Wednesday, July 16, 2014

  • If every picture tells a story, then I love the picture on the front of this morning`s Pink `Un. Big, beaming smiles from Bradders, E. Benno and, especially, Lafferty (who had just scored). Didn`t see a lot of smiling last season. This is a good omen! ;-)) I feel almost Dubai-esque in my optimism. Off-topic; An interesting piece reporting that Steve Bruce (allegedly) admits to paying over the odds for Snodgrass, among others. Brucie`s reasoning is that, while cheaper players are available abroad, he doesn`t yet have the scouting system to be confident of just what he`s going to get for his money. Interesting. Our new recruitment guy sort of hinted that in his comment about differences in character between countries\cultures. Then, we`ve been close neighbours of the Dutch for quite a while now, so should be no prob getting RvW & Fer properly re-integrated - if they want to stay with us. Any news on Fer`s injury?

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    Mad Brewer

    Wednesday, July 16, 2014

  • I know its only 2 friendly games against lower class sides, but Lafferty is quickly giving me the impression hes going to be one of those strikes fans hate, apart from when he plays for you. Almost Holt-esq dare I say!

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    Mattias333

    Wednesday, July 16, 2014

  • Omg, RVW scored. I fear he has peaked too soon.

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    CanaryWest

    Wednesday, July 16, 2014

  • Can someone direct me to all those that were slating Lafferty? They appear to have gone all quiet. Nice free kick in his pack as well. Good to know.

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    Steady On

    Wednesday, July 16, 2014

  • When it comes to that first game, I can see lafferty starting if he carrys on scoring,which means the wolf will deffo be on the bench as they are both known for their heading ability

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    Peterboroughyellow

    Wednesday, July 16, 2014

  • I know you should never read too much in to friendly results but winning is a good habit. Winning well even better. I recall going to a friendly way back in 1982 when Nottm Forest played at Stamford (Lincs) one December night to celebrate the switching on of new floodlights. Being mid season I expected a reticent Forest performance. Wrong. It was the days of Cloughie and European glory and his team came to win. Don't recall exact scoreline but it was a huge victory and showed how important it is to foster a winning mentality.

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    Lincs Canary

    Wednesday, July 16, 2014

  • Elliott Bennett at RB. Where`s Lobbo? He moaned....

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    Mad Brewer

    Wednesday, July 16, 2014

  • Great to see RVW get a couple. Must help confidence. Still don't understand why he wasn't given some outings with the U21s last year to help confidence.

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    MichiganCanary

    Wednesday, July 16, 2014

  • Glad Wolf got a couple could do with the confidence boost.

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    Jimhow

    Tuesday, July 15, 2014

  • powelld123

    Tuesday, July 15, 2014

  • TIMBO Powlly-Wowly TIMBO !!! :-)

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    Timbo

    Tuesday, July 15, 2014

  • There has been enormous criticism of RVW on this site. He came to us as goal scoring achiever, I often wondered what inner turmoil he must have been going through when nothing went right for him. Admittedly he missed some good chances but I also noticed some of these were through good saves. Perhaps with the removal of a greedy player not setting up our striker and with new supporting players he may emerge as a goal scorer. He deserves another chance to turn things round.

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    Adelaide Canary

    Tuesday, July 15, 2014

  • Took the opportunity to make the relatively short journey to the Walks tonight so see the Canaries U21 lose 2-1 to Kings Lynn. City fields a very strong looking starting line-up with Rudd, Bassong, Becchio, Jacob Murphy. City took a 4th minute with a Carlton Morris penalty and had the better of a competitive first half that also saw Cameron McGeeham booked for a flare-up on the half-way line with the Lynn captain. Both could and probably should have seen red. Jacob Murphy saw plenty of ball but too often tried to do it alone instead of looking for a team-mate. His best effort was brilliantly saved by the Lynn keeper - his first of 4 great saves.Becchio had a quiet half until released for a great chance late in the half. Unfortunately he lacked the confidence to take an early shot and the the chance was lost. McGeehan was replaced before half-time. Not sure why. Becchio much more involved second half looking sharper. Bassong, Becchio and others were subbed early second half and the balance of play swung to Lynn who started to dominate. The equaliser was a superb strike and followed by the winner after calamitous defending by city. There was still time for a last great save from the Lynn keeper - my MOM. Attendance 295 with about a dozen countable city fans. Team: Rudd, Norman, Fox, McGeehan, Bassong, Pepe, Murphy, Hall-Johnson, Becchio, King, Morris. Subs: McFadden, Awuah, Grant, Kelly, Simpson, Efete, Byrne-Hewitt, Cole, Matthews.

    Morris penalty - 4 minutes

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    DJ_FRAMBOISE

    Tuesday, July 15, 2014

  • Good for Winkel. Here's to more.

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    Morgan's_tight_pants

    Tuesday, July 15, 2014

  • Oh Timmo. You are naughty. But I did chuckle...

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    powelld123

    Tuesday, July 15, 2014

  • hopefully RVW can go on a run now...yep he was bad last season, but in his (limited) defence he never got any gift tap-ins to start the ball rolling and get his confidence up

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    Coney Dean

    Tuesday, July 15, 2014

  • Hmm...pity Clueless Chris isn't Braintree manager. He'd take " a lot of positives" from that one....

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    Timbo

    Tuesday, July 15, 2014

  • A good run out and no injuries. Neil will have a bit more info to assess his players. OTBC.

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    cutty

    Tuesday, July 15, 2014

  • Love your optimism, Dubai. Great to hear that it was a good attacking performance. Maybe need a couple more signings to bolster the defence.

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    Flying Canary

    Tuesday, July 15, 2014

  • Sounds like a similar result we have come to expect from a trip down to 1p5wich. Good to see City getting used to a trip back up the A140 after a five goal win, something they will get used to in the coming weeks !

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    Dubai Canary

    Tuesday, July 15, 2014

  • Good one lads! Ricky trebling his total goal tally for the club- we're heading somewhere! OTBC!

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    Norwegian Canary

    Tuesday, July 15, 2014

  • Come on then Start moaning

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    Konrad54

    Tuesday, July 15, 2014

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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