City produce devastating late assault

Neil AdamsThe best way to sum up the game at Huddersfield would be to say it wasn't too dissimilar to when the two sides met at Carrow Road just before Christmas.Neil Adams

The best way to sum up the game at Huddersfield would be to say it wasn't too dissimilar to when the two sides met at Carrow Road just before Christmas.

The first half was controlled by Huddersfield, whose two wingers in particular posed the Canaries' defence plenty of problems, and the second half was dominated by Norwich, who suddenly upped their game and promptly played like champions - simple as that.For 45 minutes City struggled at the Galpharm Stadium. Having reverted to the familiar diamond midfield formation that has been so significant in them storming their way to the top of the table, Norwich, it seemed, were all set to give themselves the best chance of continuing their winning run of form.

Ironically enough, though, City's narrow set-up in the middle of the pitch subsequently enabled Lee Clark's side to do what they like doing best, namely getting the ball out to the wide areas.

And when they did so, Huddersfield wasted no time in delivering telling crosses into the box. They also made sure they had enough players inside the box to attack them.

After opening the scoring as early as they did, the home side went from strength to strength in the opening half.

But then we saw what Norwich are truly made of - the reason they are never out of a game no matter how off-colour they may appear to be, and the reason they are sitting pretty at the top of the table with an emphatic 12-point lead over third-placed Charlton.

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We saw City at their most dangerous attacking best.

There was an undoubted increase in the urgency with which the Canaries went about their business in the second half.

They upped the tempo as soon as the half began, they pressed the ball much more quickly and effectively, and, roared on by a superb travelling army of 3,000 fans, when they did have possession they moved the ball downfield with much more quality and conviction than was earlier the case.

City made good chances, they scored three excellently-worked goals, and equally importantly they prevented their opponents from settling into any sort of rhythm.

In short - as has often been the case this season - they simply proved too good for their opponents.

It speaks volumes about the true capabilities of the Canaries when they can play like a pale shadow of their usual effective and efficient best for 45 minutes, as they did on Saturday, against a team with an unbeaten home record this season and a 1-0 lead, and then simply step on the gas and blow them away in the way they did.

It was a terrific victory, and another massive step towards automatic promotion to the Championship.

t NEIL'S MAN OF THE MATCH - GRANT HOLT: In the second half, all the City players impressed at some point, but it's Holt who gets my vote. It was another energetic, robust and never-say-die performance so typical of the City skipper, and naturally he added another goal to his ever-increasing tally. In the second half, in particular, Holt certainly made his presence felt. He grabbed the vital equalising goal and then put the next one on a plate for the impressive Stephen Elliott after unceremoniously swatting a defender away in physical challenge in the build-up. He has been worth his weight in gold - or should that be goals? - this season.