Writer: The New Ricky Hill
Date:Tuesday February 27 2007
27 February 2007 8.00pm
Hopes of a walkover were dashed when the Norwich team was announced - Darren Huckerby and Dickson Etuhu. Damn damn damn.
For the Town the return of Heikkinen after suspension posed a dilemna for Mike Newell given strong recent performances by Keith Keane as a stand-in centre-half, and Leon Barnett's return. A dilemna solved by playing all three as the Town lined up:
Keane Heikkinen Barnett Emanuel
Foley Spring Robinson Bell
Somewhat daring to expose Keane directly to Huckerby's pace, but Foley in the midfield was a positive step.
As we have come to expect from games against Norwich the action was unremitting and entertaining from the off. In the first minute a Spring shot after good work by Foley was spilled by Norwich keeper Gallacher.
The game was stopped by comic ref Uriah Rennie for five minutes to allow City left back Drury to be attended to within the Oak Road crowd after he chased a ball too vigourously. Most peculiar, but somehow in keeping it later transpired.
Just after the eventual restart, on 10 minutes, a marvellous run down the left saw Bell beat everybody, and some more than once, before he pulled it back for Runstrom to het from eight yards.
1-0 to the Town and deservedly so.
Two minutes later Matt Spring found himself unmarked 25 yards out, and hit a glorious piledriver which the keeper somehow tipped onto the bar.
David Bell clearly had the beating of the City full-back, and was beating him at will - never mind Huckerby, it was Bell who looked like a magician. Talbot looked a constant threat, and down the right Foley and Keane were playing delightful stuff. Whilst Matt Spring was majestic and powerful in the middle.
The Town were so clearly on top it was as if we were the team of last season, and KR the fortress again.
But on 25 minutes good defensive work from Heikkinen and Spring saw Spring play a crossfield pass to a yellow shirt, and before we knew it it was 1-1.
Such a waste, and Spring was having a great game too.
The footballing entertainment was supplemented by the crazy one-man show that is Uriah Rennie, on one occasion chiding the Norwich keeper for time-wasting when the linesman failed to pass a ball a yard from him to the keeper, who had to run to the touchline to gather it.
So 1-1 at half-time, and excitement at our play but also foreboding - this is Norwich after all.
Within the first minute of the restart Barnett played a super ball down the wing for Bell to chase, and he beat Gallacher to it, pushed it past him and floated a cross into the danger zone, where Talbot jumped high to just flick the ball over his defender and into an empty net. What a fantastic goal, and yet more magic from Bell.
On 56 minutes Bell and Emanuel, combined well down the left, Emanuel drawing the defender to allow Bell to cut inside and fire a shot which Gallacher fumbled but recovered on the line.
By this stage the significant Norwich contingent were pretty silent, as the Town fans taunted them with 'Delia Smith, your pies are shit'.
We then had the third part of the Uriah Rennie show, as Drew collapsed clutching his head on 30 yards. The City keeper immediately threw the ball out and Drew groggily climbed to his feet. Instead of allowing the Town to throw the ball back to City, Rennie decided for some reason that a drop-ball was needed. But instead of doing so where Drew had collapsed, he bizarrely insisted on conducting it on the City 18 yard line, between Gallacher and Runstrom. Of course we were all screaming at Runstrom: 'Shoot!', and the Canaries were furious with Rennie, but Runstrom behaved himself and let the keeper take it.
On 70 minutes a City free-kick from wide left was curled to the near post and, suprise surprise, a flailing (and aged) Beresford failed to reach it before the head of right-back Shackell, flicking it effortlessly past all for 2-2.
Completely against the run of play, for the second time in the match.
So yet again the Town pressed forwards. On 73 minutes Bell chased a desperate ball down the line, kept it in and effortlessly skinned the full back for the nth time (where n is a number approaching infinity) and went for glory, curling a right-foot shot round the keeper, but just too hard.
Three minutes later an Emanuel corner from the right to the near post was flicked on by Talbot, to a stretching Heikkinen at the far post, only for Markus to slice over from 4 yards.
Two minutes later Matthew Spring hit another belter from 20 yards, this one a dipper which Gallacher tipped over.
With 8 minutes to go Newell made a switch, Warren Feeney for Runstrom. Seemed a good idea, with Runstrom not quite the threat that Talbot was proving. But a naive thought - Feeney's first touch was a mishit which at least created a chance for Foley to fire over from 15 yards.
Bell was pulling out surging runs like a magician rabbits from a tophat. But the goal wouldn't come.
And so to injury time. A desperate lunging tackle from Spring on the edge of the Town box. Free-kick. The wall lines up, and everyone in the ground knew two things:
1 That it was going to be a curler toMarlon's left.
2 That Marlon is too old and slow to do anything about it.
And so it was. 2-3 completely against the run of play. Floodlight robbery.
Beresford 4 Too old, too slow, too complacent, too creaking
Keane 7 Another great game from Keane. Darren who?
Heikkinen 6 Steady but not spectacular
Barnett 5 Looked a bit out of sorts, but he needs more game time again
Emanuel 6 Steady
Foley 7 Very classy display. If only he could shoot too.
Spring 7 A captain's performance spilt only by the mistake for City's first
Robinson 5 Typical Robbo - industrious but out of his depth. Terrible first touch.
Bell 9 Would have been 10 if he had scored. Absolutely brilliant all-game
Talbot 8 A star in the making
Runstrom 6 Not a patch on Drew, but tried hard
Feeney 4 Fouled up everything that came his way
Date:Tuesday February 27 2007
Luton to Entertain Aston Villa (Friday May 17 2013)
Tyler`s Staying (Friday May 17 2013)
I Wish It Was Us! (Wednesday May 15 2013)
Favourites (Again)! (Monday May 13 2013)
Keeper Ranks Bolstered (Monday May 13 2013)
Nielson Finds New Club (Monday May 13 2013)
Welcome to the Mad World! (Monday May 13 2013)
I Felt Physically Sick! (Monday May 13 2013)
What a Difference a Year Makes (Friday May 10 2013)
Something to Look Forward To? (Wednesday May 8 2013)
|Fairhurst Joins the Imps
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