Canaries start 2018 with a bang as super strike from Maddison seals 2-1 victory over Millwall
PUBLISHED: 23:23 01 January 2018 | UPDATED: 23:23 01 January 2018
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The gamble paid off, just, for Norwich City head coach Daniel Farke - after the Canaries came from behind to beat Millwall 2-1 thanks to a classy winner from prized asset James Maddison.
The German had come in for plenty of criticism for making six changes to his team for Saturday’s poor 0-0 draw at Burton but had insisted two games in three days had forced him to prioritise.
Former Canaries striker Steve Morison smashed in a fine goal late in the first half for the visitors but Tom Trybull headed City level seven minutes after the break and Maddison blasted the winner in the 77th minute, after a sublime pass from Alex Pritchard.
Farke again made six changes to his starting line-up, restoring the team which won 2-0 at Birmingham on Boxing Day, aside from Grant Hanley keeping his place.
City really should have been in front in the first half, Nelson Oliveira somehow heading wide at the back post in just the third minute from a fine Josh Murphy cross from the left.
Millwall keeper Jordan Archer made fine saves to deny Alex Pritchard and Josh Murphy and Hanley misjudged a Pritchard corner to nudge the ball over the bar with his thigh in the opening 20 minutes.
Pritchard fired wide after a corner had been cleared to the edge of the box as well, before the Lions – and Morison – grew into the game and left-back James Meredith tested Angus Gunn at his near post in the 21st minute.
Morison beat Klose in the air eight minutes later but saw Ryan Tunnicliffe lash high and wide, with the home crowd going restless.
Pritchard fired another low shot a yard wide from the edge of the box in the 37th minute but too many sideways passes were drawing more moans as the half progressed.
Morison again beat Klose to a high ball a minute before the break and then saw the ball bounce kindly after City failed to clear, grabbing his moment and lashing a brilliant shot from 30 yards which looped beyond Gunn – before cupping his ears in the direction of the Canaries supporters.
Millwall came out determined to disrupt City, giving away several fouls only to see one of them come back to haunt them.
The Canaries equalised in the 52nd minute after Oliveira worked hard to win back the ball and was fouled by Meredith 25 yards from goal, Maddison swung a fine cross in from the right and Tom Trybull rose highest to fire a fine header past Archer from 12 yards, notching his first Championship goal.
All of a sudden Carrow Road came alive, helped by a crunching tackle from Trybull on Morison soon after his goal and Murphy saw a penalty appeal turned away after tangling with Jake Cooper in the box in the 57th minute.
Murphy looked to have another chance five minutes later as Pritchard found him inside the box with a low cross from the right, only for the winger to swing and miss with the goal at his mercy.
The academy product lashed a spectacular effort just wide from 30 yards in the 68th minute, skidding past Archer’s right-hand post with rain falling.
Murphy was a man possessed, charging across the pitch to keep a long ball going out on the right in the 74th minute, standing up Meredith to beat him for pace and then smashing a curling shot which clipped the top of the crossbar.
The Canaries got the goal they deserved eventually though – and it was simply superb.
Pritchard turned midway in the Lions’ half and threaded a sublime defence-splitting pass through to Maddison, who brilliantly thumped a low shot across Archer and into the bottom-left corner to spark huge celebrations with his sixth league goal of the campaign.
Aiden O’Brien was crowded out by Trybull after a Jed Wallace corner created havoc a couple of minutes after the hosts had taken the lead but Maddison tried his luck again in the 86th minute, seeing his 25-yard effort just drop over the bar as City tried to finish the job.
Pritchard also tested Archer with a fine low shot in the closing stages, as the hosts ran down the clock with late substitutions and relieved cheers rang around Carrow Road at the full-time whistle – as Farke’s gamble paid off, sealing seven points from three games.
The Canaries return to action next Saturday when Premier League giants Chelsea come to Carrow Road in the FA Cup third round, for a televised 5.30pm kick-off.
Norwich: Gunn; Pinto (C), Hanley, Klose, Lewis; Tettey, Trybull; Pritchard (Zimmermann 90+3), Maddison, Murphy (Watkins 90); Oliveira. Unused subs: McGovern (GK), Husband, Vrancic, Wildschut, Jerome
Goals: Trybull (52), Maddison (77)
Millwall: Archer; Romero, Hutchinson, Cooper, Meredith; Onyedinma (Wallace 69), Tunnicliffe, Saville (Twardek 83), Williams; Morison (C), Gregory (O’Brien 69). Unused subs: Martin (GK), Craig, Mbulu, Thompson
Goal: Morison (44)
Booked: Wallace (foul on Maddison, 86)
Referee: Stephen Martin (Staffs)