Match Report


Sat 16 Jan 10

Revenge was a dish best served cold for Norwich City on Saturday afternoon, as they ran out 5-0 winners on a soaking Weston Homes Community Stadium pitch.

The visitors were clinical in their finishing. They had eight chances in the game and converted five to leave the U's trailing in their wake.

It came after the U's had started the game the brighter in front of their biggest home league gate in 42 years, but when the home side failed to convert their chances, they were made to pay by their opponents, who contended with the tough conditions.

The U's made four changes from the side that had been defeated by Preston in the FA Cup, as Danny Batth, Kem Izzet, Clive Platt and Kevin Lisbie all came into the side for the visit of the Canaries.

And they should have been in front within two minutes. Great work by Wordsworth fed the ball back to Tierney and his cross dropped to Fox who, from a central position, fired well over.

The U's had started well and went close again on eight minutes as persistence from Ifil and Platt set up Wordsworth, who worked it through the wet surface and drilled in a fine shot to force an equally good save out of Forster.

More good work by Wordsworth three minutes later saw the ball fall to Ifil and, as he desperately tried to work some space, he struck his shot into the arm of Russell, but the referee waved away the U's protests.

And, after the U's bright start, it was the Canaries who took the lead on sixteen minutes. The home side struggled to clear their lines, and Russell Martin helped it to his namesake Chris, who drove in a fierce shot into the bottom corner past Williams.

Tempers flared not long afterwards as Tierney, Martin and Hoolahan saw yellow in a fracas with a coming together on the West Stand touchline.

And, as the disagreement continued in the area, Lisbie was also spoken to the referee. As the free kick was eventually thrown in, the ball skidded into the arms of Forster, who saved well.

The goal had knocked the U's out of their stride somewhat, but Platt struck in a shot from a narrow angle on 25 minutes that forced Forster into another good stop.

But the Canaries were having pressure of their own and, as the half hour mark arrived, they were having a good spell of possession in and around the U's area.

The U's did go close ten minutes before the break, though, as a ball into the area from White fell for Wordsworth to hit on the volley and Forster saved well.

That gave the U's encouragement and again they pressured the Canaries box with a shot from Wordsworth that was well blocked by Nelson.

And they really should have drawn level six minutes before the break. A low cross made its way across to the six yard box and found Ifil on the far post. The ball died on the wet surface in front of him and his stabbed effort went just wide of the post.

Holt was the latest to be booked just before half time for persistent fouling, and the U's were finishing the half on a high.

They came within inches of drawing on 43 minutes as Wordsworth took a free kick that skimmed the outside of the side netting with Forster at full stretch to his right.

But City doubled their advantage as first half injury time got underway. The ball was slid through the U's back four to Martin and, although he looked like the pitch might defy his run in on goal, he kept his composure to finish well past Williams.

The U's would have wanted to start the second half brightly, but found themselves three down shortly after the restart.

The ball dropped in the six yard box and as Okuonghae failed to dig the ball away from danger, Doherty was on hand to smash one into the top corner beyond the helpless Williams.

Batth was then booked as he hauled down Holt near the edge of the box, but the referee waved away the appeals for a red card from the City striker and showed the U's man a yellow.

The third goal forced the U's into a double change - Batth and Baldwin came on for Fox and Odejayi, as the home side sought some sort of path into the game.

But things went from bad to worse for the U's as Okuonghae pulled down Holt in the box and the referee pointed to the penalty spot.

Hoolahan was on spot kick duties but smacked the bar with his spot kick and, although he tucked home the rebound, his effort didn't stand as no other player had touched the ball in the meantime.

The U's came close on 62 minutes as Ifil and Platt headed the ball into the danger area and Lisbie's final header was flicked just over the crossbar.

Tempers were still frayed - on and off the pitch - and White and Holt came together in another fracas midway through the half.

City brought on Johnson shortly after that coming together and he skipped past White to try and strike a low shot towards goal. But the U's defender had regained his position and slid in to excellently block the effort.

The U's defender then provided an attacking threat as he pushed a ball into the box, which Platt flicked onto the roof of the net with his header.

White was replaced straight after that as the U's introduced Henderson on the right wing with Ifil dropping back to right back.

The U's went close again with fifteen to go as the ball was whipped across the six yard box from a corner, but it just eluded any outstretched home boot in the area.

Henderson then flung a free kick just over the bar, but the U's were left with the game slipping away from them as the clock ran into its final ten minutes.

And the match went even further away from them as the U's overplayed the ball at the back and it allowed Johnson to nip in and strike in a shot that beat Williams and just about made it over the line.

Four became five when a long ball was played over the top and Holt rounded Williams to slot the ball home into the net and heap further despair on the U's.

To complete the day to forget for the home team, Henderson was sent off on his Colchester debut for a lunging foul in the heart of midfield.

For the U's, it had been a tough start to life in 2010 with a 7-0 and a 5-0 defeat to begin the year with, but there remains plenty to be positive about as the chase for promotion continues in the second half of the season.

    Data provided by Press Association

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