Johnson floors jaded Wolves
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.”
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