Norwich City welcome Manchester City to Carrow Road for the return of Premier League football this Saturday (5.30pm KO), and it was in this fixture 18 years ago that the Canaries secured a memorable three points.
Norwich’s best results against Man City in recent years have come at the Etihad Stadium, where the former managed a 3-2 win in 2013 and a 1-1 draw in 2004. But it was in 2001 in the second tier of English football when Norwich last beat this weekend’s visitors at Carrow Road.
Norwich City 2-0 Manchester City
August 18, 2001
Nationwide Division 1
It was the first home game of the season, and Norwich had been drawn against the team that would go on to become the eventual winners of the Nationwide Division 1. The Canaries had got their 2001-02 campaign off to a dreadful start, convincingly beaten 4-0 by Millwall at The ‘New’ Den on the opening day. Man City had put three past Watford. Talk about David vs Goliath.
But this game didn’t follow the script. With just over 15 minutes remaining and the scores still level, Norwich boss Nigel Worthington introduced Marc Libbra to the field in place of Iwan Roberts. As impact substitutions go, scoring one minute after coming on isn’t bad, and that’s exactly what Libbra did.
Flicking the ball over a Man City defender with his first touch, and volleying home with his second, it was a moment of magic to put the Canaries in front and give them their first goal of the season.
The slim lead setup a nervy finale in Norfolk, but Paul McVeigh, who had also come on as a substitute (albeit in the 10th minute), put those fears to rest. With 89 minutes played, McVeigh controlled a cross from the right wing, turned, and nestled a shot into the far corner. 2-0. Game over, and the first three points of the season on the board, kick-starting a six-game unbeaten run.
Norwich went on to finish just inside the play-off places that year, ultimately losing out to Birmingham City (who had finished one point above them in fifth) in the final at Cardiff’s Millenium Stadium. Two years later, the Canaries won promotion back to the Premier League for the first time since 1992.
Norwich City: Green; Fleming, Mackay, Kenton, Drury; Holt, Mulryne, Russell (Nedergaard 82’), Llewellyn (McVeigh 10’); Abbey, Roberts (Libbra 73’)
Subs not used: Crichton, McGovern