A Fan's View: Norwich 0 Albion 1
By Site Editor
Updated Monday, 12th September 2011
Rebecca James gives her verdict on Albion's win
With Chris Brunt and James Morrison being rested after taking part in international duties, the door opened for Graham Dorrans and Jerome Thomas to return to the starting eleven after returning from injury. Peter Odemwingie was also named in the first team partnering Republic of Ireland international Shane Long for the first time.
With Albion determined to get some points on the board, they got off to the perfect start with Peter Odemwingie in the third minute. A long diagonal ball from left back Nicky Shorey gave Odemwingie the chance after a poor header back by De Laet. Leaving the young goalkeeper Declan Rudd in no man’s land, Odemwingie was able to flick the ball in to the net with the outside of his boot.
The earliest goal in the Premier League so far this season was a shock for Norwich City, yet they quickly regrouped and started getting forward, applying pressure on Albion’s back four. Andrew Surman beat right back Steven Reid and managed to cross a low ball into the box forcing Ben Foster to save with his legs. The rebound fell to the feet of Chris Martin who couldn’t convert his attempt on goal.
The encouraging comeback by City continued as Olsson gave the ball away in a dangerous area and the lead up play resulted in Surman coming close himself heading just wide of the target from an Elliot Bennett cross. Two impressive moments of build up play in a short space of time by City sent Albion into panic; nonetheless, the Canaries lacked the finishing quality needed in front of goal.
Albion midfielder Paul Scharner found himself in Mark Halsey’s book early in the first half for a hard and late challenge. Possession had started to equal out and quickly became and end-to-end battle between the two sides. Build up play involving Nicky Shorey, Jerome Thomas and Peter Odemwingie saw Barnett deny the Nigerian striker his second goal. Norwich’s quick counter attack saw Andrew Surman’s shot easily collected by Ben Foster after being set up by Grant Holt.
Youssouf Mulumbu received the ball from a throw in taken by Steven Reid and managed to keep possession while under severe pressure from two City players. The midfielder also managed to take a shot under pressure which saw Rudd scrambling, but his attempt flashed wide of the post. Shortly after, Bennett wasted a promising Norwich movement. Spreading the play well, Tierney picked up the ball on the left and crossed a perfectly weighted pass which Bennett could only lift over Foster’s crossbar.
Olsson and Holt were tousling with each other for the majority of the game. Norwich gained a corner after Olsson prevented Holt connecting with a strong header on target. Minutes later, Mulumbu then puts through Odemwingie in goal, but Rudd parries the ball away which falls awkwardly to Dorrans who could only head the ball into the ground as the attack fizzles out.
Albion again pressure City as Long fails to connect on to the end of Peter Odemwingie’s cross with Thomas following up, but again saw Rudd saving well.
The best shot of the game fell to Scottish international Graham Dorrans. His 30 yard shot whipped off the left hand post which had Rudd truly beat. Dorrans received the ball and once again tried his luck from range. Rudd spilled the shot, however City manage to clear before Shane Long could get an attempt on goal.
The effort produced a worrying time for the City bench as Rudd picked up a knock from Shane Long and appeared to be limping, but with no substitute goalkeeper on the bench, Rudd managed to see out the rest of the game. This was the last attempt before referee Halsey blew for half time a few minutes later.
After the break
City appeared to be the team which benefited from the half time break as Albion started slowly. A lucky goal clearance by Rudd managed to find his man and Norwich began their attack. Shorey failed to clear the ball as Norwich gained a throw-in giving them a chance to keep the pressure on. Andrew Croft had a half a chance from the throw, yet the Wales international put the ball over the bar.
Norwich continued their strong start to the second half with Bennett crossing over from the left towards Grant Holt at the back post. However Steven Reid got an important head to clear the ball from danger.
With Albion struggling to get out of their own half, a sense of relief came when the Baggies were awarded a free kick for Bennett picking up the ball before it actually went out for a throw-in. Dorrans receives the ball, however after a heavy touch, the referee gets in the midfielder’s way who subsequently gets caught late from a challenge and comes off significantly worse with Bennett catching his ankle.
The Canaries have the majority of the possession, bar Peter Odemwingie testing Rudd after Long flicked on Foster’s goal kick.
Finally West Bromwere starting to find their feet some more and Jerome Thomas curled a shot wide from outside the box. James Morrison replaced Graham Dorrans in the 69th minute whose corner found Paul Scharner but he headed well over when free.
Five minutes later Steve Morison fouled Steven Reid and gave away City’s fourth penalty in as many games. Peter Odemwingie stepped up to double Albion’s lead, however Rudd managed to keep out the spot kick to keep it at 1-0. The poor penalty was a nice height for Rudd to save and he got two hands behind for a convincing save.
Norwich built on the penalty save and kept the pressure on the Baggies in the dying minutes. Tchoyi was brought on in place of Long and moments later Steven Reid fouls Morison on the edge of the 18 yard box. Albion deal well with the free kick but moments later Mulumbu concedes another four with Johnson shooting wide and not troubling Foster.
The hosts then have a big penalty claim as Tamas seemingly elbows Vaughan in the face, but no action is controversially taken by Mark Halsey.Albion’s Steven Reid gives away another free kick just on the edge of the 18yard box for a foul on Morison. The resulting free kick hits the wall and eventually gets cleared by Scharner. Rudd attempts to give City one more chance by launching the ball forward again however was to late as Mark Halsey blew the whistle for full time.
West Brom finally get points of the board and are up and running. Odemwingie and Long linked up well, and with Thomas and Dorrans back, it’s promising for the rest of the season. Our back-four still need some discipline, however its clear they have got better and are working more as a team now. An entertaining first half with a thorough team performance is encouraging for anyAlbionfan.
NORWICH: 4-4-2. Rudd; Naughton, Barnett, De Laet, Tierney; Bennett, Crofts, Johnson, Surman (Hoolahan); C Martin (Vaughan), Holt (Morison).
Subs not used; R Martin, Jackson, Fox, Wilbraham.
WEST BROM: 4-4-2. Foster; Reid; Tama; Olsson; Shorey; Dorrans (Morrison), Scharner, Mulumbu, Thomas (Brunt); Long (Tchoyi), Odemwingie.
Subs not used; Fulop, Cox, Dawson, Jones.
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