SMASH AND GRABB SINKS SEASIDERS
NEIL ADAMS may have dismissed the notion that his Norwich side are slow starters, but they again showed their appetite for delayed gratification on Saturday.
For the third time in nine games the Canaries were forced to come from behind before taking all three points as they saw off struggling Blackpool at Bloomfield Road.
After producing comebacks against both Cardiff and Birmingham, they continued that trend by falling behind to Nathan Delfouneso’s second-half strike.
But a Donervon Daniels own goal got the visitors back on level terms and late goals from Lewis Grabban and youngster Josh Murphy fired Norwich to the top of the Championship table.
Adams’ men now lead second placed Nottingham Forest by a point after nine games, with the 48-year-old pointing to the spirit of his players as key in their start to the campaign.
He said: “It was exactly what we needed. We’ve had to come from behind in games this season. We had a solid first half and then stepped it up in the second.
“We have tremendous spirit, hunger and quality.When you go behind and you’re behind the barrel of the gun, you see those characteristics and it feels great to be top of the table this weekend.”
A bore draw was on the cards after a stale first half bereft of quality, in which Grabban went closest with a close-range header that was comfortably saved by Joe Lewis.
But the game sparked into life a minute into the second half when Delfouneso pounced on a rebound after John Ruddy had palmed away an Ishmael Miller shot to give Blackpool the lead.
However, the goal was again the catalyst to spark Norwich into life and it was soon 1-1 when Daniels glanced a Nathan Redmond corner-kick past his own goalkeeper on 55 minutes.
The visitors were dominant thereafter, with a Bradley Johnson header forcing a superb reaction stop from Lewis after he met Nathan Redmond’s right-wing cross inside the box.
The midfielder then floated a free-kick narrowly over the top left hand corner, before Grabban cut in from the left and saw his deflected shot fly into the back of the net on 80 minutes.
The Canaries were rampant by this point and substitute Murphy’s jinking run and finish sealed the win and the praise of his manager.
“I’m delighted for Josh Murphy,” said Adams. “He gives us a bit more width and pace. With him and Redmond we really stretched Blackpool, but we had to work to get that result.
“The fans love to see a young lad coming into the first team and doing well and Josh has shown he is comfortable at this level.
“He’s made really good progress stepping up through the age levels at the club, representing his country at youth level and he definitely gives us another really good option.”
The result leaves Blackpool rock bottom of the Championship on two points, but manager Jose Riga insisted he was happy with the performance of his side for large periods of Saturday’s game.
“I know people will remember the last part of the game more than the first but I remember the first hour, which was a really consistent display,” Riga said.
“We had control, we took the lead, but the spaces between the lines grew bigger and we suffered defensively.
“Norwich are the team that have impressed me the most and unfortunately we saw that quality in the second half. The players are not feeling the pressure of getting the first win, but of course everything becomes more heightened, in the media etc, because we’re yet to do it.”
BLOOPER: Norwich City get their first goal as Blackpool's Donervon Daniels scores an own goal. Inset: Josh Murphy slides in Norwich’s third