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Canaries so off colour in latest defeat

PUBLISHED: 14:24 14 April 2010 | UPDATED: 09:42 02 July 2010

Neil Adams

I think manager Paul Lambert best summed up events at Leyton Orient last night when he said afterwards that the Canaries simply 'never got going'. Apart from a 15-minute period midway through the first half after young Korey Smith had just levelled the scores with a cracking right-foot shot into the corner of the net, and also a brief spell in the dying embers of the game when City were giving it one last shot to try to salvage something from the contest, the team were puzzlingly off colour.

I think manager Paul Lambert best summed up events at Leyton Orient last night when he said afterwards that the Canaries simply “never got going”.

Apart from a 15-minute period midway through the first half after young Korey Smith had just levelled the scores with a cracking right-foot shot into the corner of the net, and also a brief spell in the dying embers of the game when City were giving it one last shot to try to salvage something from the contest, the team were puzzlingly off colour.

Defensively, the two goals that Norwich conceded were very poor, and considering how well the back four has dealt with long balls into the box recently, highly surprising.

At the other end of the pitch, the Canaries were also a pale shadow of their usual creative selves, with the absence from duty of the influential Wes Hoolahan and prolific goalscoring prowess of Grant Holt being only too apparent.

On a horribly hard and dry playing surface, Norwich found it difficult to retain possession or pass the ball well enough to work it with any real purpose into the final third of the pitch, while struggling to cope at times with an energetic and determined, if somewhat direct Orient side.

It wasn't City's night, no two ways about it. And there are no complaints about the result or - pleasingly for once - the standard of the officiating either.

But now is certainly not the time to be hitting the panic button. Far from it.

A few months ago if we'd been offered a situation where City would enjoy a seven-point lead over the team in third place with just four games of the campaign remaining, we'd have gladly grabbed it with both hands.

It's still a superb position that the Canaries find themselves in, emphasised by the fact that if Huddersfield win at home to Millwall on Friday night, City can still secure promotion back to the Championship with a win at Charlton on Saturday.

But they know that they will have to do better than at the Matchroom Stadium last night if they are to do it and still have games to spare.

t NEIL'S MAN OF THE MATCH - KOREY SMITH: In a game when so many City players had a bad night, it's easy to pick the midfielder if only for his excellent sidefoot strike from just outside the box, which looked as though it might spring the Canaries into life. It was a goal that underlined his confidence, awareness and impressive technique.

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