SMASH AND GRABB SINKS SEASIDERS

The Football League Paper - - CHAMPIONSHIP - By Alec Fenn

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.”

PIC­TURES: Ac­tion Images

BLOOPER: Nor­wich City get their first goal as Black­pool's Don­er­von Daniels scores an own goal. In­set: Josh Murphy slides in Nor­wich’s third

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