Norwich City 2-2 Swansea City – Swans pick up point in entertaining encounter

Saturday, 27 April 2024, 17:09
2
7 mins read

Swansea City made it four games unbeaten this afternoon as they head back from Norwich with a point in their bag – a point gained in an entertaining encounter at Carrow Road that saw the two sides manage forty attempts at goal between them.

Luke Williams, despite his hints in midweek of giving youngsters a chance named an unchanged side from the one that started in last week’s win at Huddersfield.   I am all for not changing a winning side but it should not be lost on anyone that last week’s four goal display came about after the changes were made in the second half and there are certainly a few players who could count themselves to be unlucky not to be in the starting line up for the game.

The match itself started at a frantic pace.  Norwich were clearly more than aware that a win would see them secure their place in the end of season play-offs whilst the Swans for their own part were not prepared to just turn up and play a bit part in what all the home fans hoped would be their party farewell for Carrow Road until that play-off semi final.

After three clean sheets in securing those three league wins on the bounce the Swans were called upon to test that defensive ability three times in the opening fifteen minutes with credit to Ben Cabango and Matt Grimes in particular for good blocks during this period to keep the scoreline blank.   At the other end Liam Cullen and Jamie Paterson both had chances and came close but the home side’s defence was equally as firm as they protected their own goal.

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The open nature of the game continued as the first half progressed and Norwich again broke a couple of times with one shot going harmlessly wide of Carl Rushworth’s goal whilst a break down the left was again superbly dealt with by the retreating Swansea defence and the danger cleared as easily as it seemed to build up.

And that defensive strength was rewarded in the 24th minute when Jamie Paterson brilliantly put the Swans a goal to the good.  Neat passing between Cabango, Grimes, Fulton and Cullen saw the ball free up Paterson so created himself a wide angle to hammer the ball into the back of the net having given Gunn no chance in the home goal.   Carrow Road was silenced as the travelling support celebrated what really was a fantastic finish on any level.

Norwich pressed immediately for an equaliser and a strong attack saw Rushworth save with his legs from a strong shot from Sargent with the resulting corner leading to more good handling from Rushworth who was far busier in the first half hour than he probably had been in total for the last three games.

Norwich did finally break the Swans defensive resilience in the 34th minute and it took a moment of brilliance to make it happen.   As the ball broke in midfield it was picked up by Sara.   As the Swansea defence afforded him a little space he took full advantage and unleashed a shot from twenty five yards that beat Rushworth and hit the back of the net off the underside of the bar.   It was a superb finish that breached a Swansea defence for the first time in more than 300 minutes.  No shame in conceding here though, a truly superb finish.

The Swans heads did not drop though and continued to push forward into the Norwich half and were more than a little unfortunate not to have a free kick for a heavy challenge on Tymon whilst we were again grateful to Cabango for a great challenge as Norwich broke away with Tymon lying motionless on the floor at the other end of the pitch.

From somewhere the referee found six minutes of stoppage time at the end of what had been a hugely entertaining first half of football with both sides contributing equally to that entertainment in a game that was anything other than a drab end of season encounter.  Unfortunately though in the third of those six minutes we did find ourselves behind as Sara delivered a perfect cross into the area which reached Sargent at the back post and he directed his header perfectly past Rushworth to give Norwich a half time lead which, in fairness, they probably deserved on the overall play for the opening period.

Norwich started the second half as they ended the first and that was pushing hard against the Swansea defence and Sargent could have added to the scoring early doors in the second half but thankfully he failed to make a clean contact with the ball.   The home side were pressing the Swans high up the pitch and as the early exchanges of the second half continued the Swans were finding it difficult to get out of their own defensive third with another chance going begging as Fassnacht headed wide.

The Swans first attack of the second half though saw us pull the game level from the penalty spot.   Brilliant work from Josh Key saw a pass to Cullen and as his shot was blocked it rebounded to Ronald who went down under challenge from Gunn giving the referee no alternative but to point to the penalty spot.   Up stepped Matt Grimes and the Swans captain hit a powerful penalty into the back of the net to make the score 2-2.   It was a goal against the run of play but a reminder that the Swans are becoming a more dangerous side going forward.

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Norwich immediately went back on the front foot and the Swans were grateful to Liam Cullen for two good blocks including one from a Sara shot as he looked for his second twenty-five yard effort of the afternoon whilst at the other end the Swans forward saw a header easily gathered by Gunn as the Swans also looked to add to the scoring.

And it was from another superb move that the Swans almost took the lead on the hour mark.   Some neat and quick passing saw Fulton find Ronald on the right wing and the Brazilian winger saw his shot deflected for a corner off Gunn but the keeper would have breathed a sigh of relief that it did not hit the back of the net as he failed to deal comfortably with it.

Not for the first time in the afternoon the Swans were thankful to Ben Cabango as he cleared a header off the line with Rushworth beaten and that saw the first changes of the afternoon as Yates and Lowe were introduced at the expense of Cullen and Paterson – could the two players repeat their substitute goalscoring exploits of last week?

Harry Darling was next to come close to the Swans as he headed a ball into the box from Matt Grimes just wide, the Swans may have been spending large periods of the game on the back foot but they certainly were not just at the game to make up the numbers.   Thirty seconds after missing that header Darling was called upon to prevent Sargent getting away a decent shot but it was the last action for the Swans defender as he picked up a knock and was replaced by Nathan Wood.

Jamal Lowe was another one called into action at both ends of the pitch as he first saw a deflected shot go wide for a corner whilst just two minutes later he was on the post to head off the line as Duffy looked to give the home side the lead.   The game had entered the last ten minutes and there had been an incredible thirty-five shots at goal at that stage with the home side having had twenty-four highlighting the volume of work the Swans defence had done to date.

Liam Walsh was introduced as a replacement for Ollie Cooper but could either side find a winner in the final minutes of the game.   Jamal Lowe certainly thought he could but his shot from the corner of the area tested Gunn to the limit and as the keeper saved the ball the deflection just evaded any of the Swans players in the box.   And just a minute later it was a deflected shot from Ronald that had the home fans hearts in their mouths but it just went over the bar much to their relief.

As the game entered the first of five added minutes Norwich had a great chance to seal the points but Nunez saw his shot go wide although Rushworth had it easily covered had it been on target.   Even during those closing minutes neither side had settled for the point and both were keen to push forward in search of what would be a winning goal.

There wasn’t to be that winning goal though and the sound of the referee’s whistle meant that the points were shared after a thoroughly entertaining game.   Norwich ended still not certain of their play off position whilst the result does mean the Swans cannot end in the top half come the end of the season but do end the afternoon in 13th place.

A point away at a side chasing promotion will always be welcomed and with ten points from the last twelve this is turning into a very satisfactory finish to what has been a largely forgettable season.

Millwall home next week, let’s go out with three more points and break the sixty point barrier.

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Images courtesy of Getty Images, Athena Picture Agency and Swansea City Football Club.

Phil Sumbler

Been watching the Swans since the very late 1970s and running the Planet Swans website (in all its current and previous guises since the summer of 2001 As it stood JackArmy.net was right at the forefront of some of the activity against Tony Petty back in 2001, breaking many of the stories of the day as fans stood against the actions where the local media failed. Was involved with the Swans Supporters Trust from 2005, for the large part as Chairman before standing down in the summer of 2020.

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