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Bradford survive

Pre-season tour
Gallen signs
Hornets sting Town
Owls shot down
Gray returns
Wijnhard crashes out
Worthington woe
Ayre departs
First home point
Bye Bye Brucie
New manager announced
Fans show anger
9 points to safety
First home win
Ndlovu at first sight
Town leap to safety
Macari wins award
More cup woe
Ndlovu joins Blades
Jamie jumps ship
Town hit rock bottom again
Morris' McApline move
Prodigal son returns
Biggest win
QPR doomed
Nearly there
The bitter end

Saturday 3rd March.

Driving down to the match today, it was revealed on Radio Leeds Leeds Leeds that Jamie Lawrence wouldn’t be signing on loan for Town. Agreement had been reached between Lou Macari and Jim Jeffries at Bradford, but whilst playing for Jamaica in an international match Lawrence managed to break a wrist. It’s frightening to see the lengths that some players will go to rather than sign for Town.

Anyway, after 3 straight defeats it was more important that the 11 selected for today’s game did the business and collected the full 3 points against a Norwich side who have struggled this season, but who have enjoyed an upturn in form recently to lift themselves into mid table mediocrity.

Jon Dyson was restored to the side to replace Adie Moses in a defence that saw Steve Jenkins return to left back with Thomas Heary on the right and Craig Armstrong restored to midfield to partner Kenny Irons. This was a lacklustre game between two poor sides, but at least Town showed some grit with Craig Armstrong relishing his return to the centre of the park. When you haven’t won a home game since Boxing Day performances come second to results, and Town showed their intentions from the kick-off with a muscular display that Norwich didn’t seem able to combat, and we didn’t have to wait too long to capitalise on the visitors’ lack of ambition.

Barely 7 minutes had past when Town won a throw-in midway into the Norwich half on the right-hand side. Kevin Gallen received the throw and after controlling on his chest Ben Thornley nipped in to take the ball. After a couple of touches he passed to Craig Armstrong who rifled the ball into the back of the net from around 25 yards out. This was the second spectacular goal scored by the converted midfield man in as many home games. He seems to be enjoying life in the middle of the pitch, and the one time brunt of many fans’ displeasure is rapidly becoming a contender for player of the season.

Following the goal Town continued to dominate proceedings and shortly after taking the lead Kevin Gallen raced through on goal but once again his effort was weak and easily saved by Norwich keeper Andy Marshall. Such was our dominance even Thomas Heary had a long range shot but his 30 yard effort was easily saved, and Delroy Facey should have done better with a header that drifted wide of the goal. Norwich created nothing up front and their Little and Large combination of Roberts and Russell rarely troubled a defence which looked more solid with Jon Dyson at its heart.

After around 38 minutes a Kenny Irons corner caused consternation in the visitors defence, but once again we failed to capitalise and the half came to a close with Town’s supremacy such that I can’t remember Norwich having a solitary effort on goal and Kenny Irons back to his best orchestrating most of our best moves from midfield. Despite the lack of threat from the opposition a one-goal lead never feels sufficient, particularly this season, and it was to be hoped that they could convert dominance into goals.

The second half began with Norwich looking a little more ambitious, but still failing to create anything to test Vaesen and the Town goal was never seriously threatened. The balance of play returned to Town and we began to press forward through the probing of Irons and the physical presence of Armstrong. Just before the hour mark Simon Baldry replaced Ben Thornley in an attempt to provide more service into the visitors’ penalty area. He looked a little ring rusty after his injury lay-off, but gave the Norwich something else to think about and the chances started coming with greater regularity, Delroy Facey could have had a hat trick if he’d had his scoring head on.

On 68 minutes Kevin Gallen received a through ball wide on the left, and after cutting in past two Norwich defenders he teed the ball up perfectly or the unmarked Facey who contrived to head wide with only the keeper to beat. The young striker sank to his haunches in the knowledge that he could have made the game more or less safe, and then 2 minutes later he hit the side netting from Baldry’s powerful cross. All was forgiven a minute later when he finally did hit the back of the net.

Simon Baldry received the ball in midfield and immediately fed the overlapping Kenny Irons who raced towards the Norwich penalty area. I had never realised that Irons was capable of racing, but race he did and from the edge of the area knocked an accurate ball towards Facey who did the rest as he sweetly swept the ball home from 8 yards out. Delight for Facey and delight for the crowd with whom the lad from Stile Common is so popular.

Twenty minutes to go but the game was effectively over. Although it was far from a spectacular performance it was highly efficient and there seemed to be no chance of any capitulation this time. This proved to be the case as the game was played out in comfort until the last minute, when a goalbound header by Norwich substitute Forbes was routinely saved by the under-employed Nico Vaesen.

Defeats for Tranmere, Grimsby, QPR and the now sinking fast Crystal Palace have kept us in touch with the safety zone, although Sheffield Wednesday managed another post-Jewell win to move themselves a little further up the table. With the safety mark of around 50 - 53 points still about 20 points away we have got to be looking for 6 – 7 more wins and we must make the 6 remaining home games count - preferably starting on Tuesday when we take on fellow strugglers Grimsby Town.

TOWN 2 (Armstrong 8, Facey 71)

Norwich 0

Position in table – 23rd

Town – Vaesen; Jenkins; Lucketti; Dyson; Heary; Smith; Irons; Armstrong; Gallen (Gorré 78); Facey; Thornley (Baldry 59). Subs not used – Margetson; Gray; Moses.

Norwich City – Marshall; Sutch; Fleming; Jackson; Nedergaard; Llewellyn; Mackay; Roberts; Russell; McVeigh; Abbey (Forbes 45). Subs not used – Green; Dalglish; Coote.

Referee – John Brandwood (Lichfield). Attendance 11,122



All words and thoughts by Chris except where stated.

A big thank you to Machala for putting up with me doing this and Ian for his support and my Mum for her proof reading.

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