Writer: The Tuckster
Date:Wednesday September 25 2013
Chris Hughton is still the Norwich City manager, despite a very naughty headline in the Daily Mirror this morning and as Michael Bailey of the EDP pointed out this morning, it's more of a headline than it is a story.
Anyway, here, better late than never is the Watford League Cup match report.
With eight changes made to the team from the side that lost in Saturday's Premier League game against Aston Villa, this was always going to be a chance for the manager to give a few players some extra game time.
A quiet(ish) first twenty minutes was dominated by Norwich possession with Nathan Redmond testing Bond in the Hornets' goal after a nice one two with Steven Whittaker, but with almost their first meaningful attack, Javi Acuna opened the scoring after a smart turn on the edge of the box. His powerful shot hit the roof of the net with Mark Bunn getting a hand to it but unable to keep it out.
On 39 minutes, the lively Wes Hoolahan tested Bond with a powerful 25 yard drive that the home keeper tipped over at full stretch and it was only minutes later that Hoolahan's cross was met by a thumping Bradley Johnson header that crashed back off the bar.
From just six yards out I think everyone thought Johnson would score but sometimes you don't get lucky, still he should've done better.
Often challenged for his lack of positivity, Hughton made a change at half time with Javier Garrido being replaced by Johan Elmander. This change saw Olsson drop to left back with Wes moving to the right wing. He was our best player in the first half but struggled as a winger, which we all know he's not. Still it was positive.
But not ten minutes later and City were two behind and staring defeat in the face. Watford had already tested Bunn with shots from Faraoni and Murray but the City keeper was powerless to stop Faraoni when a cock up between Johnson and Tettey presented the Hornets' man with cheap possession. He took advantage and scored another cracker from outside the area.
On 67 minutes, Hughton rolled the dice and took a gamble. He replaced Johnson with young winger, Josh Murphy, hero of the U18 FA Cup triumph.
Hoolahan moved inside with Redmond moving to the right and Murphy going left. It would've been easy for Hughton to just go 'safe' and perhaps bring on Howson or Fer but he took a chance on youth and gave the lad his debut.
And what an inspired move it turned out to be. Josh immediately instilled some pace and excitement into the side and then with the introduction of Fer on 74 minutes, a goal threat.
On 77 minutes, Redmond played a pass to Murphy outside the Watford box and the lad looked up and hit a worldy. His powerful shot from 25 odd yards went in off the wood work and suddenly City were back in the game.
As City searched for an equaliser, chances came at both ends with Watford always a threat on the counter with the dangerous Troy Deeney.
Leroy Fer had Bond scrambling to keep his looping header out as the clock ticked down as well as a volley from the same player.
Five minutes of time added on would be City's last chance and with literally the last touch of the game Gary Hooper took it.
Redmond sent over a cross from the right and Hooper's flick header found the net, cue the Canary faithful going into raptures. It was no more than City deserved on the balance of play and there wasn't even time to re-start the game as the final whistle blew.
Before extra time started, the City players were standing and listening to their manager and coaches as many of their opposite numbers were seen slumped on the floor, clearly deflated.
The score stayed the same in the first period of extra time before in the 115th minute, Gary Hooper settled the tie.
A delicious through ball from Leroy Fer found the former Celtic man and he drew Bond like a pair of curtains before slotting the ball through his legs and into the net. 2-3 it finished, what a night and what a game.
Now, as far as Hughton goes, I've read Savvy's piece and he consulted me before posting it - I told him to go for it, because after all, it's all about opinions.
I am neither fiercely for or against our manager. I just want my team to do well and if CH does well then the team does well, I guess it's that simple, for me at any rate.
I would point out that last night, he was positive in his team selection and substitutions and giving Murphy a shot bordered on being inspired. The young winger looks to have a very bright future ahead of him and as you know, he has a twin brother who's quite handy as well.
But equally, I have been as annoyed as everyone else when we were awful at Fulham and against Liverpool last season as well as those terribly dull home draws against Southampton, Fulham and Newcastle, not to mention this season's pathetic showings at Hull and Spurs. There has been more bad than good of late, but I still think our new players haven't quite clicked, hopefully that will happen soon.
I am hoping that this result will be just the shot in the arm that the side need to take them on to Stoke to get a result. I'm never positive about this upcoming fixture and without wanting to sound negative, I'd take a draw now. The Britannia is a bleak and desperate place for City supporters to go, so fingers crossed.
But two things spring to mind after the Watford game, Murphy is a talent and Hooper sure does know where the goal is. Hooper has probably played himself into the starting eleven for Stoke while Murphy is a must for the squad.
Date:Wednesday September 25 2013
City v Sunderland Team News (Saturday December 21 2013)
Hughton: We Have To Keep Momentum (Friday December 20 2013)
Poyet Considers City Visit As A Turning Point (Friday December 20 2013)
RvW And Snodgrass Set To Return (Thursday December 19 2013)
MLS Keeper Enjoyed Training With City (Wednesday December 18 2013)
Howson Signs New Deal (Tuesday December 17 2013)
Play at Carrow Road - The Perfect Xmas Gift! (Monday December 16 2013)
A One Man Show? (Monday December 16 2013)
Extra Seats Available For Fulham (Monday December 16 2013)
Carlton Morris Earns Pro Deal (Monday December 16 2013)
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