NORWICH 5 TOWN 0
Town endured a miserable afternoon at Carrow Road, with an early first-half red card for Murray Wallace compounded by five second half goals for hosts Norwich City.
Despite the 17th minute dismissal for Wallace, Chris Powell’s side battled hard and went in all level at the interval – but a dreadful start to the second 45 minutes put the game to bed and practically sealed the game for Neil Adams’ side.
There was a predictable scarcity of chances after Wallace’s dismissal, but the first big chance of the game fell Town’s way just 12 minutes in.
Hogg nudged a clever pass into the area to put Wells in on goal and after England international John Ruddy saved his initial effort, Nahki kicked the follow-up towards goal from the floor – and hit the crossbar.
Unfortunately, things went sour for the Terriers five minutes later when Wallace was shown his second red of the season. A big hook clear out of Norwich’s back line was chased down by Huddersfield-born striker Cameron Jerome and Mark Hudson’s touch let him down. Jerome pounced and got to the loose ball just seconds ahead of Murray, who brought down the striker. If he got no touch on the ball, referee Mr Brown had no choice than to give him his marching orders.
Having fielded Town in the 3-5-2 formation that helped bring about last weekend’s win against Brentford, Powell shuffled his pack slightly to a 3-4-2 after the dismissal - moving Conor Coady into a makeshift centre back role.
Predictably the Canaries started to boss possession, although the home faithful was frustrated at the lack of pace in getting the ball forward at times. Gary Hooper soon headed a presentable chance straight into the hands of Alex Smithies, but the Town ‘keeper had to be grateful for two minutes of wastefulness from the hosts with 10 minutes of the half remaining.
First it was Jerome who was at fault. Smithies came for midfielder Gary O’Neil’s corner and instead ran into a defender, leaving the striker with the chance to head into the vacant net. Instead, he headed tamely over at the back post.
Barely a minute later the lively Bradley Johnson robbed Town of possession high up the pitch and found his unmarked colleague Hooper in the middle of the goal, but the former Celtic man miss-controlled – allowing Jack Robinson to recover and clear to safety.
At the other end chances were scarce, with the pace of Nahki Wells and Sean Scannell – the latter making his 50th start for the Club – the only outlet as Grant Holt battled against two central defenders in the air.
Powell made a change during the interval, bringing on Paul Dixon and moving Robinson into the left side of the central defensive three – allowing Coady to return to midfield. However, the visiting side endured a dreadful opening six minutes that put the game out of sight.
Just 45 seconds into the second period, Norwich took the lead. Hooper got into the right side of the penalty area and sent a low cross into the area that Johnson cleverly flicked out of the reach of the sprawling Smithies.
Barely three minutes later, the Canaries worked the ball to the left side for Olsson to cross. His back post delivery had plenty of pace, but Nathan Redmond – who came on at half-time – still had lots to do and expertly sent a looping header over the stranded Smithies and into the far corner.
It didn’t get any better for Town when Norwich netted a third in the 51st minute. Robinson bravely blocked a hard-hit volley from Howson but unfortunately the ball fell straight to Johnson, who calmly stroked it into the corner that had been vacated by Smithies’ initial dive.
Town did force two decent chances after the third, albeit it felt in vein. First Holt barged his way down the right and intelligently pulled the ball back for the onrushing Hogg, whose shot was blocked wide by covering right back Whittaker, before Tommy Smith – yet to score in his career – force Ruddy into a fine save to his left with a long range blockbuster.
Norwich responded, with Redmond bursting past Dixon before forcing Smithies into a sharp near post parry behind.
However, the fourth did come with just over 20 minutes to go. Redmond did well again, standing up a good cross to the back post for Hooper, whose head back across goal was easy pickings for Jerome.
The fifth followed with 13 minutes left, as Norwich sub Wes Hoolahan put fellow replacement Lewis Grabban through on goal and he smashed the ball between Smithies and the left hand post.
Town’s team (3-5-2):
Alex Smithies; Murray Wallace, Mark Hudson (c), Tommy Smith; Jack Robinson, Jacob Butterfield, Conor Coady, Jonathan Hogg, Sean Scannell; Grant Holt, Nahki Wells (Paul Dixon 46)
Lloyd Allinson, Anthony Gerrard, James Vaughan, Danny Ward, Adam Hammill, Lee Peltier
Murray Wallace (17)