Norwich City’s dismal season away from home concluded with a thrilling 3-3 draw at Leeds United on Saturday afternoon. I said before the game that our job was to go there and prevent Leeds from winning. If we are not allowed to enjoy the thrill of a play-off position, then we must ensure that they aren’t either. In fairness, we achieved that – but it could’ve been so much more.
If our season could be broken down and encapsulated into 90 minutes then Saturday’s game would be the perfect representation. The first half was sensational. The game-plan was evidently to take the game to Leeds and exploit a nervy sell-out Elland Road, and it worked. After a relatively quiet opening 20 minutes, we were brilliant. Having fully braced myself for a standard Norwich away no-show, I was slightly in awe at what I was watching. Prior to our visit, Leeds had the best defensive home record in the division. Yet, here we were, carving through them at will. If we had gone in at the break 6-0 up then Leeds fans could not have complained.
As it transpired, however, we spurned numerous chances to extend our lead and, typically, within seconds of scoring our third we had gifted Leeds a life-line. As soon as Chris Wood bundled it over the line on the stroke of half-time, every single Norwich fan knew what was going to come in the second half. The only surprise, for me, was that we didn’t lose. We have proven time and time again this season that we are incapable of dealing with any kind of pressure. As such, crumbling at an extremely raucous 38,000 sell-out at Elland Road was wholly inevitable.
In truth, whilst our defensive woes left us vulnerable at every Leeds attack, we should have outscored them during the second half. Nelson Oliveira will receive credit for his two well taken goals, but he should have had at least 4. Rob Green, proving he is still one of the best at 37-years-old, kept Leeds in the game.
We must take the positives
Ultimately, the game meant very little for City and, as such, I feel that we should look back on it positively. The first half demonstrated exactly what we are capable of doing to one of the best sides in the division. Not many teams would be capable of doing what we did to Leeds, as their success this season has proven. Finding such creative quality and goalscoring ability is far more difficult than finding a few rough and ready defenders who are willing to put their body on the line. The performance perfectly demonstrated that with a few tweaks in defence and the acquisition of a leader or two, we should be more than competitive next season. Over to you, Mr. Webber.