The entirety of the ninety minutes was disappointing from a Norwich perspective, especially those who had travelled hundreds of miles, yet nothing can be taken away from MK Dons. Slick movement saw the impressive Stephen Gleeson slip in former Canary, Luke Chadwick for his first goal of the night. Only a few minutes later, a mistake from Adam Drury saw Baldock thunder in a second from outside the box, leaving Norwich supporters bemused and shell-shocked.
Thankfully Jabo Ibhere; who had ran the Norwich backline ragged in the first half, was substituted at half time. Yet MK Dons continued to dominate. One long-range, effort from Andrew Surman was well tipped over by David Martin but Norwich chances were few and far between. One nearby supporter actually thought Wilbraham was a second-half sub, such was his anonymity. The half saw Chadwick team up with ex-Tractor boy Dean Bowditch, their quick interchange saw the former easily beat Declan Rudd, as Norwich fans began to contemplate an early night. The 13,000 strong Canary faithful had their misery compounded when Surman’s woeful pass let substitute Daniel Powell to nip in for MK Don’s fourth goal.
Norwich’s performance was terrible; yet the players who performed the worst, are supposedly pushing for Premier League starting positions. Russell Martin, perhaps low in confidence after being dropped, had a frightfully poor game and failed to find any sort of form. Perhaps occasional bad defending can be excused for Martin’s normally strong offensive game, yet in this tie he looked uncomposed on the ball and repeatedly delivered poor final balls. Norwich stalwart and legend Drury, who has been plagued by injuries, unfortunately looks past his best and struggled massively against Dons winger, Gleeson. Furthermore, recent loanee Ayala who not only struggled against the powerful Ibehre, got himself injured by half-hearted going into a 50-50 tackle late in the game. Not only are Norwich now a defender short, yet Ayala’s commitment now comes under question. As for Wilbraham; the less said, the better.
There is no need to overemphasise the importance of this game, the Carling Cup could have provided a exciting cup-run for Norwich, yet the story of Birmingham City FC tells otherwise. Nevertheless, the fringe players performance will not only ensure that they stay out of the starting XI for the Chelsea match, but it asks question about their quality for participating in the 25-man-squad for the Premiership season.
Hopefully, if the likes of Ayala and Martin are called upon in the struggle for Premier League survival, their performance will resemble nothing from what was on offer last night.
Bring on Chelsea.