Colback to Perez…….GOAL!!!!!
This is how the game started and that’s how we’ll start this match report. A lightning quick start for the Magpies on a day that many would see as pivotal as Newcastle started a tricky run of fixtures saw the visitors ahead at Carrow Road in just 24 seconds.
Rafa had started Perez ahead of Diame in what most fans would see as slightly puzzling before kick off. What do we know eh.
STARTING XI: Darlow, Yedlin, Lascelles, Clark, Dummett, Ritchie (Atsu, 70), Shelvey, Colback (Diame, 54), Gouffran, Perez, Mitrovic (Gayle, 74)
The other surprise would be that Mitrovic would retain his place ahead of Gayle who would return to the squad on the bench. And within 5 minutes of the goal it should have been two for Newcastle, and double joy for Rafa, as a mix up at the back Norwich saw Mitrovic clean through but with the goal gaping a touch from Ruddy would see the Serbs shot drop just wide.
After 12 minutes, with Newcastle seemingly in full control and dominating the game, a sucker punch. A quick break from Norwich would see Lascelles seemingly in full control only to be outmuscled by Cameron Jerome who with time and space would square the ball to Jacob Murphy who would have the easiest of jobs to stab home from close range.
And after just 17 minutes the game had turned on its head. This moment is one that young keeper Darlow will probably never forget. With no pressure on him at all his attempted clearance was, well, a complete fresh air shot. With the goal empty all that was left was for Jerome to tap into the empty net. Crazy.
The game would get pretty scrappy and a little feisty after the second goal with no love lost either between the players of the management staff on the touch line. Certainly a hang over from both last season’s away loss and the Newcastle win earlier this season.
10 minutes before half time and a couple of good chances would come and go from first Mitrovic after getting free only to be denied by the Norwich keeper once more, and then a Lascelles corner cleared off the line.
Then even closer from Newcastle and once more Mitrovic would make trouble for the Norwich defence as his first time shot from a Yedlin cross would hit the post and although the rebound would be slotted home by Perez the Spaniard would be rightly called offside.
Half time then 2-1 down although there was a least hope that there would be a way back into the game given the number of chances created in the first half.
Whilst Newcastle would start the second half unchanged it wouldn’t take long before there would be a change. But with Diame standing on the sidelines waiting to replace Colback there would be yet another great change for Newcastle. And again it would only be the woodwork that would save the home side only this time it would be Matt Ritchie who would have his hands on his head after watching the ball come back into play after his shot from Yedlin’s cross.
Newcastle would throw everything at Norwich as the half moved on. Perez and Mitrovic combined well before the Mags number 45’s pass would be behind the onrushing Atsu, on for Ritchie with twenty minutes left.
Then with 15 minutes remaining the Toon faithful would get to see their top scorer with Gayle on for Mitrovic.
With so much attacking flair on the pitch there would always be hope that someone would grab an equaliser, but it wouldn’t be one of the attacking players who’d send the travelling Mags into joy but captain Lascelles, at fault for the first goal, who’d head in for Newcastle’s second.
The ball had broken wide to Diame who, with players to aim at in the middle, would flight the ball right across the box only to find Lascelles with a left foot volley that most strikers would be delighted with. A cracking finish with just 7 minutes left on the clock.
Despite one late chance for Perez there would be no crazy late goal this time , for a change, and that would be that at Carrow Road.
Whilst a draw might not have been the result Rafa and his men wanted with rivals having very winnable games on paper, results elsewhere would mean that the draw was not too bad after all. And after being behind for so long this will have to be judged as 1 point gained, despite all the missed opportunities.