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CITY'S 2015: THE TOP TEN MOMENTS

2 January 2016

It's been a year to remember for City fans...

As a memorable 2015 comes to an end for Norwich City, we take a look back at some of the stand-out moments from an unforgettable year for the Canaries.

Here, Club Journalist James Baldwin chooses his top ten moments from the past 12 months.



#10 - WES & CO. CUT DOWN FOREST (Norwich City 3-1 Nottingham Forest, 21 March 2015) 

The Canaries produced one of their finest performances of the 2014/15 season in March, sweeping aside Nottingham Forest at Carrow Road.

Moments before half-time, the excellent Wes Hoolahan's measured pass found Jonny Howson who poked home to put his side in front. 

Striker Cameron Jerome doubled the lead in the second half with a spectacularly nonchalant back-heel at the end of a flowing team move, before Hoolahan's penalty made it 3-0.


Forest pulled a goal back late on, but the manner of City's victory suggested they would take some stopping in their pursuit of promotion to the Barclays Premier League.

 



#9 - UP AND RUNNING IN THE PREMIER LEAGUE (Sunderland 1-3 Norwich City, 15 August 2015)

Following an opening day Barclays Premier League defeat at home to Crystal Palace, the Canaries headed to the Stadium of Light looking to get off the mark for the 2015/16 season.

City produced a sublime performance to return to Norfolk with all three points, as goals from Russell Martin, Steven Whittaker and Nathan Redmond secured a deserved win.

While Martin's opener was somewhat fortuitous, the same couldn't be said of City's second and third as they turned on the style against The Black Cats.



Smart combination play from Wes Hoolahan and Whittaker allowed the latter to make it 2-0 with a rifled finish, giving the visitors a comfortable lead at the interval.

In the second half, Redmond put the result beyond doubt when he collected a one-two from the instrumental Hoolahan to stroke home.

Although Sunderland substitute Duncan Watmore pulled one back, the Canaries cruised to a comfortable win which kick-started their campaign.



#8 - LOZA! (Huddersfield Town 2-2 Norwich City, 18 March 2015) 

When former City striker James Vaughan struck deep into injury-time to put Huddersfield Town 2-1 up at the John Smith's Stadium in March, the visitors looked destined for a certain defeat.

Vaughan's over-enthusiastic celebration drew a second yellow card, and the forward was dismissed before play was restarted.

With barely seconds left on the clock, the Canaries surged forward and remarkably rescued a point as Jamar Loza netted his first senior goal for the Club with a swiveled finish. 


That sent the travelling fans wild, ensuring a mammoth journey home on a Tuesday evening was far less daunting than it had been just moments earlier.




#7 - A DERBY DOUBLE (Norwich City 2-0 Ipswich Town, 1 March 2015)

Having triumphed 1-0 at Portman Road earlier in the season, the Canaries went into the East Anglian derby looking to secure another league double over their closest rivals.

Ipswich began the day above City, but an impressive run of form from Alex Neil's men had cut the gap to just a single point ahead of kick-off. 

Bradley Johnson emphatically fired the hosts in front after 24 minutes, meeting Lewis Grabban's cut-back to thump beyond Town goalkeeper Bartosz Bialkowski.


Victory was confirmed shortly after the hour-mark, with Grabban on hand to divert Cameron Jerome's effort into the net to make it 2-0.

City closed out the game to leapfrog The Tractor Boys in the league standings, although it wouldn't be the final time the two teams met that season... 

 



#6 - ON THE ROAD TO PROMOTION (Bolton Wanderers 1-2 Norwich City, 11 April 2015 & Leeds United 0-2 Norwich City, 14 April 2015)

With the Canaries nearing full-flight in their charge towards promotion, successive away trips to Bolton and Leeds looked likely to be decisive in the final outcome.

As teams around them relentlessly continued to pick up points, there was no margin for error if City were to maintain their challenge.


Their first match involved one of the most dramatic moments of the 2014/15 campaign, as Gary Hooper netted superbly in the final seconds to steal an improbable victory against The Trotters.


Buoyed by that success, City headed to Leeds three days later, in what was to prove a special homecoming for former United skipper Jonny Howson.

After Graham Dorrans missed a penalty in the first half, Howson eventually broke the deadlock just shy of the hour-mark with a composed finish.

The popular midfielder then displayed the obvious affection he holds for his hometown Club; apologetically refusing to celebrate as he was mobbed by teammates. 


Dorrans atoned for his earlier miss in the final minute by confidently stroking home from inside the box, lifting the Canaries into the automatic promotion positions.

Although they would ultimately fall short of a place in the top two, back-to-back away wins offered insight into the steely and relentless determination within the City camp to get the job done - one way or another.




#5 - ALEX ARRIVES...AND MAKES AN INSTANT IMPACT (Bournemouth 1-2 Norwich City, 9-10 January, 2015) 

Arguably the trickiest to place in this list is the arrival of Alex Neil as City manager, given his appointment was the catalyst for many 'Top Moments'. 

The former Hamilton Academical boss was officially unveiled on 9 January, 2015, just 24 hours before the Canaries were due to visit Sky Bet Championship leaders Bournemouth.

 

After introducing himself to the squad, Neil flew down to the south coast for what looked set to be one of the trickiest fixtures of the 2014/15 season.

Things didn't get off to a great start as Matt Ritchie put the Cherries in front early on, but Gary Hooper restored parity from close-range as half-time loomed. 

From there, it looked to have all gone wrong as the visitors lost two players to injury before Jonny Howson was sent off, prompting City's new boss to march down from the stands and take his place on the touchline. 

Against all odds, ten-man City continued to battle, and Cameron Jerome's stunning winner ten minutes from time got Neil's reign underway in perfect fashion as he instructed.


Late goals would go on to become a hallmark for the remainder of the season, with the impressive victory at Bournemouth an early indication of what was to come. 

 



#4 - RUSS MARTIN'S EVENTFUL DAY (Liverpool 1-1 Norwich City, 20 September 2015) 

It's unlikely City captain Russell Martin will ever forget Sunday, September 20, 2015, and understandably so.

Having received news late the evening before that his wife had gone into labour, Martin left the team hotel in Liverpool and drove back to Norwich.

He was present at the birth of his son in the early hours of Sunday morning, before boarding the Directors' plane back to Merseyside in order to play at Anfield.

Arriving at the stadium after team news had been confirmed, the 29-year-old was deputised in the captain's briefing by Alexander Tettey. 

Simply taking his place on the pitch was impressive in itself, but Martin went one better as he cancelled out Danny Ings' opener with a stylishly improvised finish.


Naturally, he proceeded to celebrate in fitting style in front of the travelling fans, with his goal seeing the Canaries secure a highly-respectable 1-1 draw with Brendan Rodgers' side.

Martin's story made headlines around the world, with media outlets from Borneo to Berlin eagerly promoting his remarkable day. 




#3 - CONQUERING OLD TRAFFORD (Manchester United 1-2 Norwich City, 19 December 2015) 

One of the finest moments from City's 2015/16 Barclays Premier League season so far was undoubtedly their historic win away to Manchester United in December.

The Canaries put in a fine performance to take all three points against Louis van Gaal's Red Devils, earning their first success at Old Trafford since 1989 in the process.

After soaking up early United pressure, the visitors broke at pace seven minutes before the interval; Cameron Jerome's energetic burst providing the spark to fire them in front.


Alex Neil's men continued to get on the front foot as they threatened to extend their lead, deservedly doing so on 54 minutes when Alex Tettey cantered from midfield to thump low beyond David De Gea.

Anthony Martial's scrambled effort reduced the arrears, but a determined collective effort from City saw them close out the game to claim a hugely impressive three points.






#2 - MORE THAN A DERBY (Ipswich Town 1-1 Norwich City, 9 May 2015 & Norwich City 3-1 Ipswich Town, 16 May 2015)

Almost inevitably, the Sky Bet Championship play-offs saw Norwich and Ipswich drawn to face off in the semi-finals, while Middlesbrough and Brentford contested the other. 

From the moment the fixture was first confirmed, there was a noticeable buzz around the city for what would be the most significant pair of East Anglian derbies since 1985, if not ever. 

Set to visit Portman Road in the first leg, the away side went in front through Jonny Howson, only for Paul Anderson's strike to ensure the tie remained deadlocked at 1-1 after the first leg.


After 45 minutes of the return game, and with the score on the day 0-0, things remained finely poised; then City stepped things up to a level their opponents couldn't match.

Early in the second half, Nathan Redmond's goal-bound shot was blocked by the hands of Christophe Berra on the line.

The Town defender was sent off, before Wes Hoolahan stepped up to confidently dispatch the resultant penalty. 

While the visitors rallied to equalise through Tommy Smith, it felt like the eventual outcome was merely being delayed as was demonstrated when Redmond struck superbly four minutes later.


Cameron Jerome then rounded things off by poking under Bartosz Bialkowski, confirming a 4-2 aggregate victory for the Canaries.

That sent City to Wembley for the first time in 30 years against the backdrop of a historic derby win; truly recapturing the spirit of 1985.





#1 - OUR FINAL STEP AT WEMBLEY STADIUM (Middlesbrough 0-2 Norwich City, 25 May 2015) 

After being beaten 1-0 by Middlesbrough at Carrow Road just weeks earlier, midfielder Alex Tettey insisted things would be 'different' at Wembley Stadium.

Alex Neil was equally adamant his side would start well at England's showpiece stadium, as the Canaries looked complete an immediate return to the top-flight.

Both statements would prove to be correct, almost down to the finest detail. 

From the moment young mascot Kieran Smith joined Russell Martin in leading City out in front of a bumper 40,000 yellow following, there was only going to be one winner.

The two sides exchanged rasping efforts off the woodwork in a frenetic opening, before Cameron Jerome robbed Daniel Ayala and calmly slipped under Dimi Konstantopolous with 12 minutes played.


The full-back found Nathan Redmond in space, with the winger turning sharply before emphatically firing across goal into the corner to make it 2-0 after just quarter of an hour.

 won the ball on halfway, triggering an outstanding team move which saw Boro chasing shadows ahead of Steven Whittaker collecting the ball on the right.  Martin Olsson

Just three minutes later, things got even better as the Canaries registered their undisputed 'Goal of the Season' with ultimate swagger.


Although 75 minutes remained, the outcome rarely seemed in doubt as City eased their way to a deserved victory which secured their place among the nation's elite once more.

Following extended celebrations, Martin took his side up the famous Wembley steps, completing a remarkable journey under the stewardship of their supposed rookie manager. 





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