John­son floors jaded Wolves

The Football League Paper - - CHAMPIONSHIP - By Sam Jermy

KENNY Jack­ett con­ceded a fresher out­fit may have given Nor­wich a tougher test af­ter his Wolves didn’t put up much of a fight in de­feat at Car­row Road.

Lewis Grab­ban added to a first-half Bradley John­son header af­ter the break as the Ca­naries made light work of their vis­i­tors.

And Jack­ett, whose side were im­pres­sive in record­ing a 4-1 win at Hud­der­s­field four days ear­lier, con­ceded he felt help­less watch­ing on from the touch­line.

“It’s dis­ap­point­ing one for us,” he said.

“Per­haps I should have changed a few more of the play­ers from Tues­day night. We didn’t have en­ergy or build-up tempo though even af­ter the change in for­ma­tion.

“We played two sys­tems in the game and we didn’t get go­ing like we know we could. Nor­wich did enough in the end. We were dis­ap­pointed with the first goal, the first goal is al­ways key to any game and we have con­ceded it to a cor­ner.

“In terms of our po­si­tion, yes we have 15 games left and we need at least 30 points. We have that two points a game tar­get to try and get our­selves up there.

“That would get us up to 78 points and that will usu­ally get you in the play-offs.”

Af­ter just four min­utes Nathan Red­mond played a one-two with Gary Hooper in­side the box, but a good chal­lenge by Richard Stear­man averted the dan­ger.

The home side con­tin­ued to press and, af­ter Alex Tettey was handed an an­grily-con­tested yel­low card for a tackle on Ra­jiv van La Parra, John­son headed over a golden chance to open the scor­ing.

He made no mis­take from his sec­ond at­tempt though, shrug­ging off his marker to meet Red­mond’s 28th-minute cor­ner and send­ing a thump­ing header past To­masz Kuszczak.

Benik Afobe was sent clean through with just John Ruddy to beat on 39 min­utes, but the off­side flag was raised to the re­lief of Se­bas­tian Bas­song, and Nor­wich went into the break a goal to the good. The sec­ond pe­riod saw Nor­wich press again, as Stear­man had to cut out a low Red­mond cross and Kuszczak then made a spec­tac­u­lar save to his left to deny a longe-range Grab­ban ef­fort.

The sec­ond goal came when Bas­song ven­tured for­ward un­der no pres­sure and played a sub­lime ball to Red­mond who put it on a plate for Grab­ban to fin­ish from close range.

Afobe then jinked left and right try­ing to wrig­gle into space in the box, but his weak shot was stopped by Ruddy while, up the other end, Grab­ban de­cided to shoot on the vol­ley, but Kuszczak man­aged to parry for a cor­ner.

And Nor­wich boss Alex Neil in­sisted this was a re­sult that proves the Ca­naries’ play-off cre­den­tials.

He said:“The fans here ex­pect us to beat the likes of Black­pool but we will be judged by them on th­ese type of games.

“If we had lost to­day I re­ally think it would have had to be win, win, all the way. But that re­sult to­day gives us some breath­ing space.

“We can af­ford to drop a point or two and not be com­pletely cut off from the lead­ing pack now.

“I'm not too in­ter­ested about mov­ing into the top six.The stat I'm re­ally in­ter­ested in is that we have now won five out of seven and that is good form in any­body’s book.

“Look­ing at the match over­all that’s prob­a­bly the best 90 min­utes I have seen from the lads.”

PIC­TURES: Ac­tion Images

GRAB­BAN A SEC­OND: Lewis Grab­ban lifts the ball over To­masz Kuszczak to dou­ble Nor­wich’s lead af­ter the break

heads in ONE UP: Bradley John­son

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