Norwich City vs Bolton Wanders_Match Reporter: Mason Hannant (aged 11)
Norwich City vs Bolton Wanders
Saturday 24th February 2018 (3pm kick off)
Match Reporter: Mason Hannant (aged 11)
Norwich played out a frustrating 0-0 draw with relegation strugglers Bolton.
Starting XI: Gunn, Reed, Zimmermann, Hanley, Lewis, Tettey, Hernandez, Maddison, Leitner, Murphy, Olivera.
Subs: McGovern, Pinto, Vranic, Watkins, Hoolahan, Raggett, Srbeny.
Klose is out with a slight hamstring pull with long term absentees Tom Trybull and Louis Thompson still side-lined.
Starting XI: Alnwick, Robinson, Beevers, Wheater, Dervite, Morais, Karacan, Burke, Pratley, Ameobi, Le Fondre.
Subs: Howard, Taylor, Buckley, Flanagan, Osede, Wilbraham, Clough.
Bolton had two bans to contend with, with Karl Henry and Mark Little both in their penultimate game of suspension. Josh Vela and Craig Noone both had long term injuries but on the plus side for Bolton, Darren Pratley and Will Buckley had both shaken off knocks to return to the squad - Buckley on the bench and Pratley in the team.
Norwich had won all their last three league games vs Bolton and hadn’t lost since November 2000. Norwich had only lost one of their last ten championship games and Bolton had only won once on their travels this season (drawing 5 and losing 10). James Maddison is Norwich’s top scorer with 9 goals, 5 more than Bolton’s top scorer Sammy Ameobi. After having a good start to the season, Nelson Oliveira has only scored once since the New Year. In the last 19 years Norwich has only lost to Bolton 3 times with Norwich winning the other six.
Norwich had the best of the opening periods with Murphy dragging a shot wide and Maddison hitting the post with an exquisite right foot curler. Maddison then turned provider for Grant Hanley to head just wide. Norwich then had two free kicks one hit the wall the other was played short and eventually punched away by Alnwick.
Le Fondre had Bolton’s first chance, a flick header just wide. Straight after Onel Hernandez was judged to be offside after a through ball. Olivera then played a lovely dink ball into Reed who also was caught offside. Oliveira carved open the Bolton defence with a sublime flick through to Leitner. One on one with the goalkeeper Leitner clipped the outside of the post when he looked certain to score. Oliveira was in the thick of it again wasting a glorious chance when he got tackled in the box, the ball fell to Maddison whose shot was blocked then the rebound fell to Oliveira who miscued it wide.
For all of Norwich’s first half efforts, there was nothing to celebrate at half time for their fans although Hernandez had impressed me with his physicality and pace on his full home debut. Leitner and Zimmermann had also put a shift in considering they had played three games in six days.
After the break Norwich kept the same intensity with Maddison fizzing a cross-shot across the face of the goal, also curling a shot straight Alnwick. However, Bolton seemed more up for it, getting a few early free kicks and then fizzing another cross-shot in only for Angus Gunn to collect it comfortably.
Olivera then had another chance to score with the keeper fumbling a straight forward cross but he couldn’t sort his feet out. Bolton then made a double substitution with Le Fondre who had done a lot of hard work up front coming off for Wilbraham, and Flanagan coming on for Wheater. Norwich turned up the heat again, with Leitner showing his considerable quality with a sumptuous outside of the right foot pass into Jamal Lewis’ path, but the keeper got to it first.
Bolton then had a 5-minute spell of pressure which included: a shot that got blocked by Grant Hanley and the eventual corner that was hacked away Zimmermann. It was now Norwich’s turn to make a substitution, Onel Hernandez who had a bright first half didn’t have as much of an impact second half and Srbeny came on to try and snatch a win for the Canaries.
Moritz Leitner was the latest player to block a shot, although unfortunately for Norwich fans it was for Bolton after Harrison Reed fired in. Now it was a return for Wes Hoolahan who was greeted by the loudest applause of the day by Norwich, coming on for Tettey. Bolton also made a sub with Burke off and Osede on.
The fourth official indicated 6 minutes of “Farke Time” (added on time). The home faithful were hoping for another late goal like they had in their previous 2 games.
Norwich grew frustrated, not only their players but their Head Coach, who is known for his calm head, got sent to changing rooms for the first time in his managerial career in the dying embers of the game, after the linesman gave a foul throw against Leitner. Farke was dismissed for kicking the ball away in frustration.
After the game, Phil Parkinson praised his team for the work off the ball and said it was a proper team performance and was “delighted to frustrate Norwich”. Daniel Farke was also delighted with the performance but he was less delighted with his “heavy touch” that made him kick the ball away.
It was yet another disappointing result at Carrow Road. Bolton was there for the taking in the first half, but defended better in the second half. The away team, with no shots on target, set themselves up for a draw and that’s what they took home. The Canaries need to be more clinical for the remainder of the season if they want to make a late play off push.