It's still vital point from a tough match
Neil AdamsWhen Swindon centre-back Gordon Greer thumped his header home with less than a minute of stoppage time remaining on Saturday, the Canaries would have suffered an instant sickening feeling - the type which is only usually experienced when you've just been beaten.Neil Adams
When Swindon centre-back Gordon Greer thumped his header home with less than a minute of stoppage time remaining on Saturday, the Canaries would have suffered an instant sickening feeling - the type which is only usually experienced when you've just been beaten.
Once they had returned the dressing room, though, and allowed their emotions to settle, they'll have realised that this was another vital point added to their total.
It wasn't a classic first half at the County Ground by any stretch of the imagination. For 45 minutes, the two sides basically cancelled each other out, with moments of eager anticipation and decent goalscoring chances thin on the ground.
Considering that they were the home side, it was somewhat surprising to see that Swindon seemed to be more concerned with how they were going to prevent Norwich from playing than actually forcing the issue themselves.
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And it was arguably the prime reason why the first half wasn't as exciting or free-flowing as might have been expected from two of the top four sides in the division.
Robins boss Danny Wilson had clearly worked on ensuring that his two wide midfielders were tucked inside at the earliest opportunity whenever his side was defending - almost as though their main aim was to stifle City's diamond midfield formation as opposed to trying to exploit it.
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Norwich did try to switch play quickly to take advantage of the home side being so narrow in midfield by bringing full-backs Michael Rose and Russell Martin into play.
And although it never really led to them asserting their dominance, when the half-time whistle sounded, although City hadn't quite managed to gain the upper hand, as they had confidently coped with what little Swindon had mustered as an attacking force and bearing in mind how certain other games had panned out in similar fashion this season, you still felt confident it would be a different story after the break, and it was.
City stepped up a couple of gears early in the second half and began to move the ball about the pitch with purpose. Their passing was crisp and there was also more creativity to their play.
Swindon did have one or two moments of their own, but by and large the game was beginning to tip in the Canaries' favour, and when Grant Holt clinically converted Michael Rose's superb pinpoint cross to edge Norwich in front, everything pointed to City chalking up another terrific victory.
And it looked a surefire guarantee when Fraser Forster pulled off two top-drawer saves as the game neared its end.
Naturally, City will have been bitterly disappointed that they allowed two points to slip through their fingers with virtually the last action of the game, but they really needn't be. They still have a very healthy 12-point cushion on the chasing play-off pack, they will still enjoy a five-point lead over Leeds, at worst, even if the Yorkshire club beat Millwall tonight, and they are still bang on course for promotion.
t NEIL'S MAN OF THE MATCH - MICHAEL ROSE: A close call, in my opinion, between Gary Doherty, Michael Nelson, Fraser Forster and Michael Rose. City's two central defenders were solid throughout the contest. Their positioning was excellent, they were regularly first to the ball whenever it came near the City penalty area and both of them won virtually all their tackles. And Forster once again showed just how good he is when he was needed. But it's left-back Rose who just nicks it for me. His distribution of the ball was generally accurate and measured, he showed good aggression, he was strong in the tackle and also in physical challenges and his cross for Grant Holt's goal was nothing short of sublime.