It’s not the prettiest game I’ve ever watched and we’re still a long way from our early season form but a resolute and attacking display ulitmately tamed Wolves and we bagged the three points we were craving to get us to safety.
Given the results below us and the respective run ins that those teams face we must surely now be safe. Whilst life teaches you to never count chickens before they hatch, but the odds of us facing a dramatic slump and end of season dog fight are now so long that I’d quite happily put my house on it.
On to the game. We started with an attacking 3-4-3 formation that clearly demonstrated our intent. That said, it took three or four minutes before we could try it out as Wolves came out of the blocks at full tilt and threw everything at us. Fair play to them, they were here to have a go and they got off to a flying start.
It soon became clear that we were in for an open, attacking game and that goals would come. Neither defence looked comfortable and Elliot Ward in particular was having a troubled first half. The Norwich crowd began to worry and the groaning soon began. Now seems as good a time as any to point out to the Canary faithful that it would be wrong to blame Wardy alone. He was playing in the middle of a back three and Wolves were pressing hard. We were clearly intent on playing it out from the back and so Ward was receiving the ball from Ruddy, regularly. He was left with little option in front of him as the Norwich midfield was either slow to come for the pass or, more often, was man marked when it arrived. The plan wasn’t working and that was not Wards’ fault.
Wolves then took the lead. It was a well worked goal even if it did benefit from a fortunate touch as the ball came across. It was well taken and we were behind, but not for long. Within 80 odd seconds we’d levelled with a beautifully worked goal that owed everything to Simeon Jackson’s determination and Grant Holt’s ruthless ability to finish a chance.
Norwich upped the tempo and began to take control. The reward, just before half time, was a penatly that was blasted in to the back of the net by Holt.
The second half saw a change of formation with the tireless and effective Lappin being sacrificed to switch to a more comfortable 4-4-2. Suddenly our back four were comfortable and Ward regained his composure. Norwich were now in control of the game and the score line could easily have been extended. It wasn’t until the 85th minute and Holt’s lunge that we found ourselves down to ten men and under the cosh. Even then it seemed that Wolves would never score. They look a doomed team.
And so as the final whistle blew the Canary faithful erupted and the reality of the situation kicked in. We’ll be a Premier League side next season.
All that’s left now is to tick off the next couple of games until it becomes a mathematical certaintly and then the club can begin planning for the next campaign. We make a habit of finishing our seasons early and gaining an advantage in the negotiation and planning stakes and we’re about to do it again. Happy days indeed.