Paddy’s Pointers: Five observations from Norwich City’s last-gasp 3-2 Championship win against Bolton
PUBLISHED: 21:15 08 December 2018 | UPDATED: 13:30 09 December 2018
Our Norwich City correspondent Paddy Davitt delivers his verdict from Carrow Road
1. Stop now. Just stop it
Carrow Road is gorging on the sort of drama that is usually reserved for the pages of a gripping thriller. It is certainly turning into a compelling story.
Norwich had been pegged back again a stout Bolton, who made light of one win in the previous 15 and a backdrop dominated by reports of unpaid player wages.
Phil Parkinson’s squad were committed and resolute after falling 2-0 behind in the second period. Parkinson threw on the heavy artillery and City buckled. Temporarily.
After Sammy Ameobi had departed for a second yellow card in stoppage time, Teemu Pukki moved centre stage. Who else.
Jordan Rhodes provided nuisance value to keep Todd Cantwell’s ball in the box and the Finnish international did the rest with a vicious half-volley that triggered another tremor around Carrow Road. And the rest of the Championship. Bravo.
2. Treasure chest
Daniel Farke produced arguably the most prosaic response ever uttered by a football manager (head coach) to receiving the manager-of-the-month prize and the dreaded curse.
We can paraphrase here but it essentially revolved around pirates, treasure and Keira Knightly. Don’t ask. The gist of Farke’s colourful analogy was essentially to reach the promised land of the Premier League Norwich must overcome any number of obstacles, pitfalls, setbacks and curses.
They certainly achieved that in dramatic fashion. Farke again conducted the Lower Barclay at the final whistle.
Land will roam into view soon enough beyond the festive period. Farke is proving a more than able captain.
3. Shout out to Stiepi
Marco Stiepermann deserved his round of applause when he made way before the end. Not just for the composed near post finish that had put Norwich 2-0 up.
But for a shift where he looked the man most likely with any number of clever touches and driving runs. Stiepermann may not be as pleasing on the eye as others at times.
He may give the ball away on occasion and lack that burst of pace to make the most of his obvious game intelligence. But he has emerged as a vital cog in this machine.
That is a testament to Farke but also the former Borussia Dortmund youngster.
4. Brutal honesty
Tim Krul’s inability to deal with a couple of long range sighters in the build up to goals conceded at Swansea and the previous Carrow Road home game against Rotherham have left the Dutchman open to scrutiny.
Farke was very good on the topic on Friday; acknowledging there had been discussions on the irritating aspect to City’s upward curve.
But the fact he also divulged Krul was the first to accept there was a case to answer was also another nod to the character City have recruited.
The former Newcastle United keeper had a couple of costly errors early in his Norwich career, which unfortunately for him set the tone in how Krul was perceived.
But he was tested again in similar fashion to those recent soft goals inside the opening minutes, when Jason Lowe let rip.
Krul opted to parry once more but Norwich players were first to the rebound and the danger was averted. As Farke also said on Friday, that is the life of the last line of defence.
Krul was left exposed for both of Bolton’s close range goals. But his late pressure-relieving take from another deep ball into the box at 3-2 produced almost as big a cheer as Pukki’s winner.
5. Penny for big Grant’s thoughts
Farke spoke in the build up about the growing headache he has not simply to put an XI out but the 18, such is the consistent seam of form from those making the cut.
That afforded him the relative luxury of allowing Grant Hanley a couple of development run outs following his long term absence with a quad injury.
But Hanley is now ready for action. That may well be so, yet Timm Klose and Christoph Zimmermann have forged an impenetrable barrier.
Hanley was again absent from the matchday squad but Klose’s late, late call off following the warm up, after being named in the XI, would surely have seen Hanley edge Ben Godfrey out of the picture. Or maybe not, given Farke’s belief in youth.
Nevertheless Farke knows his man-management is increasingly crucial to keep those on the periphery part of this ride. The post-match prognosis on Klose could offer a route back in for Hanley.