Norwich City 6, Bury 3
PUBLISHED: 22:11 27 August 2013 | UPDATED: 18:06 28 August 2013
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Many more breathless Carrow Road encounters like this and Norwich City are in danger of acquiring a tag of the great entertainers.
Fresh from serving up a second half salvo on the opening day of the new Premier League season against Everton, City cut loose once again in front of their own spectators against the spirited Shakers in a feast of attacking football. Johan Elmander marked his home debut for the club with a brace, Swedish compatriot Martin Olsson also opened his account and there were thumping strikes from Anthony Pilkington, Leroy Fer and Steven Whittaker for good measure. Chris Hughton’s side looked to have killed the tie when Elmander made it three but Anton Forrester, William Edjenguele and Jessy Reindorf’s howitzer in stoppage time ensured the Canaries were pushed all the way after the interval before sealing a place in the third round draw.
Hughton signalled his intentions with a starting line up packed with seasoned performers. Sebastien Bassong made his first competitive appearance of the new campaign following early summer knee surgery with Russell Martin and Olsson offering international class in the full-back areas – Martin making his 150th appearance for the Canaries. Pilkington also made a welcome return from a knee problem in a midfield that included Robert Snodgrass and Fer for his home competitive debut. Elmander was deployed up top supported by Wes Hoolahan and Hughton’s replacements provided plenty of extra attacking insurance in the shape of Ricky van Wolfswinkel, Nathan Redmond and Luciano Becchio.
Bradley Johnson’s surge down the left was an early sign of positive intent from the Canaries but Snodgrass’ opening corner was smuggled clear by Bury. Shakers’ skipper Gareth Roberts was simply out-thought by Snodgrass’ clever movement following slick interplay with Elmander, but the Scottish international’s tame free kick hit the base of the visitors’ wall. Bury were showing no visible signs of any inferiority complex on the break through the pace of Blackburn loanee Forrester. Fer’s willingness to screen in front of the Norwich back four was offering Johnson a degree of unaccustomed freedom to roam forward but one intended clip for Pilkington was intercepted by Shaun Beeley.
Kevin Blackwell’s side continued to harry their more illustrious opponents with Pilkington forced to track back after Craig Jones threatened to escape down the visitors’ right-flank. Hoolahan was increasingly the key to unlocking the door as he dropped deep to exploit pockets of space, but Snodgrass was unable to spring Elmander in an echo of City’s rather lacklustre body of work in possession on Humberside at the weekend.
Andy Procter was yellow-carded for a rather crude lunge on Hoolahan but the Irishman was soon back in the action in his concerted attempts to get Norwich on the front foot. Olsson’s attacking instincts carried the full-back into enemy territory only for Hoolahan’s radar to prove a touch wayward. Olsson’s adventure brought the Swede a rich dividend in the 22nd minute when he swivelled to crash a low left foot strike past the stationary Rob Lainton after Fer and Elmander had combined to bisect a posse of Bury defenders on the edge of the visitors’ penalty area.
Norwich’s control of territory and possession was gradually having the desired effect in forcing Bury to rely on sporadic counters to get anywhere near the vicinity of Mark Bunn’s area. Hoolahan’s patient probing had been a constant feature of the opening 30 minutes and it was the Irishman’s craft that picked the sublime pass for Pilkington to double the hosts’ lead with a swinging strike arrowed across Lainton into the far corner from 20 yards. Bury’s composure deserted them in the aftermath of City’s second - first Fer and then Snodgrass both going close inside the Shakers’ penalty area before Jones’ miscued clearance straight to Johnson illustrated the visitors’ acute discomfort only for the Norwich midfielder to slice wide.
The redundant Bunn was belatedly pressed into service shortly prior to the interval after Danny Mayor’s slaloming run freed Jones to strike from close range. City’s two goalscorers then combined again with Olsson’s whipped cross on the run sidefooted two yards over by Pilkington.
Bunn acrobatically denied Jones seconds after the restart in a sign of the carnage to come before Marlon Jackson skied over, which merely stung the Canaries into affirmative action at the opposite end with Snodgrass dragging off-target. Bury’s faltering resistance looked to have ended in the 52nd minute when Elmander composed himself to gather Snodgrass’ slip pass and hammer past Lainton from 16 yards.
Pilkington was denied a second by the woodwork with Norwich now rampant but the Shakers’ gamely probed for a foothold only to be denied by Bunn’s reflexes again. Ryan Bennett’s brave intervention proved a sufficient distraction to Forrester who lifted over barely 10 yards out in front of the Barclay. Bury, however, reduced the arrears in the 71st minute when Forrester reacted quickest to snaffle Jackson’s initial header that cannoned back off Bunn’s crossbar. Whittaker was introduced for Bennett after the centre back failed to shake off the impact of his earlier challenge on Forrester and City appeared to have drawn the visitors’ sting when Elmander slid home his second from point blank range after Snodgrass escaped Roberts’ attentions.
Back came the Shakers with Edjenguele powering a header past Bunn that spiralled into his path from Johnson. The second half script clearly demanded an instant riposte and Fer marked his home debut with a fifth lashed beyond Lainton after rolling his marker inside the Bury six-yard box before second half arrival Whittaker looked to have completed the rout a minute from time until Reindorf’s 30-yard missile flew past Bunn at full stretch to cap a quite remarkable encounter for those lucky enough to be in attendance.
• Norwich: Bunn, Martin, Bassong, R Bennett (Whittaker 73), Olsson, Snodgrass, Fer (Redmond 84), Johnson, Pilkington (Becchio 76), Hoolahan, Elmander. Subs (not used): Nash, Turner, Howson, van Wolfswinkel.
• Goals: Olsson (23), Pilkington (31), Elmander (52, 75), Fer (83), Whittaker (88)
• Bury: Lainton, Beeley, Roberts, Cameron, Procter, Jones, Miller, Forrester (Grimes 84), Mayor (Sedgwick 84), Jackson (Reindorf 76), Edjenguele. Subs (not used): Carson, Hinds, Holden, Harrad.
• Goals: Forester (71), Edjenguele (79), Reindorf (90)
• Booking: Procter (foul on Hoolahan, 16).
• Added on time: 3 minutes / 5 minutes
• Referee: J Adcock (Notts)
• Attendance: 16,110