There was a pleasing symmetry to yesterday from a Norwich perspective. Twelve months ago we had sent them down to third tier football, and yesterday we sent them back to the second tier despite our best efforts to stop them. All this without their two best players, as Holt was suspended, and Hoolahan injured, and yet Norwich still had sufficient class in their ranks to shut us out, and nick the points. In some ways it was the story of our season; we were good, but not that good. The stats regarding possession speak for themselves at 68% us, 32% them, and to put it into perspective, they only managed to get into our final third four times in a fifty minute second half.
The lack of a true predatory striker at this level came back to haunt us yet again, with the hapless Sodje Jnr coming off after forty two minutes, having spent most of the first half on his back. Most of our chances fell to Bailey, and although the Norwich goalkeeper had a good game, the saves he produced were all regulation, the ball coming at him at a good goalkeeping height, and with little venom. Much like ourselves, he was good, but not that good.
Was I the only one puzzled by Parkinson's substitutions? Burton for Sodje Jnr - fine, but removing Semedo for Reid? All this did was relieve pressure on the midfield from a Norwich perspective, not to mention remove our best player from the pitch. It would have made more sense to sub Racon at that point, or even (heresy of heresies) Bailey. Team shape was then thrown out the window completely when Parkinson brought on Shelvey for Bailey, but by that stage he was desperately trying to chase the game.
Results elsewhere mean that we are still in with a shout for second place, which is both astonishing and barely deserved. I genuinely did not believe that we would get more than one point from the last two games though, so hats off to a solid display against Colchester on Tuesday night that has left us pretty much nailed on for the playoffs. It would take a collapse of Charltonesque proportions to deny us at least two more post season games. On the evidence of yesterday, it is difficult to predict whether we would get a third.