WES SIGNS OFF IN FITTING FASHION
WES Hoolahan marked his final game at Carrow Road as a Norwich player with a game-changing performance in the Canaries’ comeback victory.
The departure of Hoolahan after 10 years at the club gave some significance to a match between two sides locked in midtable.
Kalvin Phillips’ impressive volley opened the scoring for Leeds, but the Irishman was on hand to provide a quick leveller before cutting back to Josh Murphy for the second-half winner.
The day unfolded neatly for Norwich and manager Daniel Farke was delighted Hoolahan could play a pivotal role in his final Carrow Road appearance.
“It was a perfect day,” Farke said. “If I was allowed to paint the last home game of the season I’d have painted it exactly like that.
“It was a hard struggle up until the end, but we had Wes Hoolahan in his last game and an unbelievable atmosphere.
“He was pretty crucial for this win and he proved again that he is able to win Championship games.
“His scored his first goal of the season in his last game and then the assist, and his performance was especially good in the second half and then a fantastic atmosphere, so it was brilliant.
“There were a lot of tears when he came off. It was pretty emotional over the day and still is in the dressing room. It was an unbelievable moment and I’m sure Wes will never forget this day.”
Hoolahan was the focus of attention but Phillips’ goal fought for it. After an uneventful opening 39 minutes, the midfielder latched onto Ronaldo Vieira’s scuffed shot and hit an elegant first-time volley into the bottom right corner from 20 yards.
Norwich were only behind for five minutes when their captain for the day levelled.
The former Republic of Ireland international ran to the edge of the area before hitting a left-footed shot that looped up into the air off the foot of Pontus Jansson and over Bailey Peacock-Farrell, hitting the inside of the left post and rolling along the goal line before going in off of the right upright to draw the scores level.
The Canaries continued to threaten after the break and a flying save from Peacock-Farrell was required to push Maddison’s stinging effort away for a corner.
Despite impressing, the Leeds goalkeeper was at fault for the second goal. Hoolahan cut the ball back to Murphy in the box with the winger hitting a powerful shot that somehow found a way under him and in at the near-post.
After losing for a fourth consecutive time on the road Leeds manager Paul Heckingbottom is now concentrating on changing the mentality of his side, who he believes have lacked fire over recent weeks.
“The biggest thing I’m disappointed with, and the thing I’m not going to be able to change until we get the chance, is the fire that I’ve already spoken about,” he said.
“There’s too many fifty-fifties not won, and I know when I look at the duals that we won’t be coming out on top and that’s a thing we have to change, but that’s a mentality thing.
“I’m certain about what needs to happen and what needs to change, and I’d sit down with anyone now and argue my point because I know I’m right. Sometimes it’s nice to be that certain.”
NO WAY THROUGH: Norwich defender Timm Klose makes a tackle on Samu Saiz of Leeds and, inset, Josh Murphy celebrates the winner