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As part of a regular feature, Andy Greeves talks to a former or current Norwich City player about a notable match in the club’s history. Today, ex-Canadian international Simeon Jackson reflects on a 3-2 home victory over Derby County in April 2011.
In the run-up to Norwich City’s penultimate home match of 2010/11 Championship season against Derby County on 25 April 2011, Simeon Jackson was very much a striker in form. The Jamaica-born, Canadian international front-man had scored five goals in as many matches that month, with a hat-trick in a 6-0 win over Scunthorpe United (2 April 2011) and a strike in a 5-1 Canaries victory at Ipswich Town (21 April 2011), while he was also on target in 2-2 draw at Watford (12 April 2011).
“That month (April 2011) was the best month of my career so far as I’m sure you can understand!” smiles Jackson, who arrived at Carrow Road from Gillingham at the start of the 2010/11 campaign. “It was just a great time for me, playing in a wonderful team. Everything just clicked and the run-in to that season (2010/11) in particular was amazing.”
Jackson’s red-hot goal scoring form in April 2011 continued on the stroke of half-time in the match against Derby County as he headed in from Marc Tierney’s cross. The Rams levelled in similar circumstances nine minutes into the second-half as Steve Davies nodded Alberto Bueno’s flighted ball past John Ruddy in the Canaries’ goal. But Jackson was on hand to restore the home side’s lead on the hour mark as he spotted Derby stopper Brad Jones off his line and managed to lob him from the edge of the penalty area.
“It was one of those goals that just seemed to happen!” reflects Jackson on his audacious effort. “Andrew Surman played the ball into Holty (Grant Holt) who held off his marker and laid it off to me on the edge of the ‘D’. As players came to close down the space, I just took a swing and managed to put the ball where I wanted to.”
Just three minutes after Jackson’s second goal of the afternoon, Derby County equalised once again. The lively Bueno picked the ball up around 30 yards from the Norwich goal and proceeded forward before striking a low shot into the bottom corner of the net from the edge of the area.
With Cardiff City winning 1-0 at Preston North End that afternoon, the Canaries knew they needed to win to maintain their place in the Championship’s automatic promotion spots with just two matches remaining after Derby’s visit to Carrow Road. After the Rams’ leveller, Paul Lambert’s team pressed for the winner with Jones making excellent saves from substitutes Rob Edwards and Henri Lansbury.
As the game – seemingly destined for a 2-2 draw - entered the sixth minute of stoppage time, Lansbury swung in a corner which was sent in the direction of the Derby goal by Wes Hoolahan. The ball came across to Russell Martin, whose shot was blocked on the line by a Rams defender but Jackson was in the right place to deflect the clearance home and complete his hat-trick.
“I was euphoric,” adds Jackson, on his match-winner. “I can still picture the scene after the ball came off my torso, running towards the corner to celebrate. The noise, the feeling… it was just incredible. The importance of that goal made it even more special… to get the win as we were chasing down a promotion spot.”
A 1-0 victory in Norwich City’s next Championship match at Portsmouth on 2 May 2011 saw Lambert’s team seal their promotion to the Premier League while they ended the campaign with a 2-2 draw at home to Coventry City five days later, as the Canaries ended the season as the division’s runners-up.
Jackson’s debut campaign at Carrow Road saw him net 13 times in 21 starts and 20 substitute appearances in all competitions, while he went on to score a total of 21 times in 85 matches prior to a transfer to then-Bundesliga outfit Eintracht Braunschweig in the summer of 2013.
“I look back on my whole time as Norwich very fondly,” adds Jackson. “I still have a place in my heart for the club and I look out for their results. I keep in touch with some of my former teammates and I’ve been back to Carrow Road to watch a number of games since I’ve left.”
Having returned to the United Kingdom in 2014, Jackson has since played for Millwall, Coventry City, Barnsley, Blackburn Rovers, Walsall, Grimsby Town (loan), St Mirren and Kilmarnock, while he has been out of contract since leaving Stevenage at the end of last season.
Norwich City 3 Derby County 2
Carrow Road – 25 April 2011
Football League Championship
Canaries: Ruddy, R. Martin, Whitbread (Edwards 57), Ward, Tierney, Crofts, Surman (Pacheco 71), Hoolahan, Fox (Lansbury 67), Holt, Jackson
Derby County: Jones, Brayford, Roberts (Anderson 90+1), Barker, Ayala, Savage (Hendrick 87), Pearson, Bailey, Davies (Ball 79) Robinson, Bueno