It's one-way traffic as City get rewards
PUBLISHED: 12:47 04 January 2010 | UPDATED: 07:11 02 July 2010
Whoever first coined the phrase 'throwing everything but the kitchen sink at the opposition' must have been watching a game very similar to City's clash with Wycombe.
Whoever first coined the phrase “throwing everything but the kitchen sink at the opposition” must have been watching a game very similar to City's clash with Wycombe.
Because, for 90 minutes at Adams Park, the Canaries completely dominated their opponents to such an extent that it made an away victory seem an inevitability.
Trouble was, in Wycombe goalkeeper Scott Shearer, Norwich had the misfortune to bump into a man who was in truly magnificent form.
Time after time, Shearer thwarted the Canaries with superb saves, and even on the couple of occasions when he was beaten - firstly by an excellent Chris Martin free-kick and later by a clever Grant Holt backheel - the ball was still prevented from crossing his goalline courtesy of the woodwork and then by a covering defender who belted the ball away to safety.
It was as though there was an invisible force field in front of the Wycombe goalmouth preventing the ball from entering Shearer's net, and it seemed for all the world that City would ultimately be denied all three points and the prospect of deservedly moving into the top two places for the first time this season.
The game quickly settled into a familiar pattern, whereby Wycombe routinely had 10 men behind the ball whenever they were defending and were happy to play on the counter-attack when they had the ball.
As everyone knows, it is a gameplan that will always be difficult and frustrating to play against, and the longer the game remains scoreless it can easily lead to the dominant side running out of ideas and conviction.
The thing is, Norwich have been here before. Wycombe's negative, defensive approach wasn't the first time this season when opponents have tried to frustrate the life out of City and play in the hope that they can eke out a draw.
Many teams have done likewise, fully in the knowledge that it might be their best hope of taking anything from the contest given City's terrific form this season.
And it has provided the Canaries with enough experience to know that provided they keep their patience and don't allow panic or desperation to enter their game, they will give themselves the best possible chance of reaping their rewards.
Thankfully, that is what happened on Saturday.
City maintained their composure, they kept attempting to do the right things and, with the full backing of more marvellous away support, they constantly chipped away at Wycombe's resolve until it eventually broke.
Ironically enough, Korey Smith's close-range finish from an excellent Wes Hoolahan cut-back came less than 60 seconds after Wycombe had almost taken the lead themselves, and had they done so, and then held on to their lead until the final whistle, it would have been one of the biggest injustice ever.
City's 1-0 victory was undoubtedly fitting reward for their superiority and dominance.
It was another performance where we really couldn't have asked any more of them.
t NEIL'S MAN OF THE MATCH - RUSSELL MARTIN: Wes Hoolahan tormented the opposition defence once again - particularly in the second half - and deserves a huge amount of credit for showing the composure and vision to pick out Korey Smith for City's winner when it would have been understandable if had he decided to shoot for goal himself. His tricks, flicks, backheels and mesmerising dribbling skills made the Wycombe defenders look like statues at times. But it's the City right-back who gets my vote for delivering an impressive all-round performance. He regularly got forward down the right flank to provide an extra attacking option and came mightily close to scoring with two excellent long-range shots. He also showed his defensive qualities in one-versus-one situations on a couple of occasions by expertly snuffing out danger when his team-mates needed him most. Solid, assured and impressing more with every game.