With Preston North End the visitors at Carrow Road this weekend, we’ve taken a look back at the final home game of the 2003-04 season.
A late Darren Huckerby winner saw City continue their march towards the League Division One title during an outstanding campaign for the club.
Norwich City 3-2 Preston North End
May 1, 2004
League Division One
What was on the line?
With promotion already secured and considering Norwich City looked like they’d had the title wrapped up for months (the Canaries had been top of the table for the entirety of the second half of the season), there wasn’t too much to worry about at this late stage of the season.
Preston’s season hadn’t been anywhere near as fruitful, but they certainly weren’t looking over their shoulders, despite a nasty run of form that saw them win just two of their final 17 games in 2003-04.
How the game unfolded
With a festival atmosphere at Carrow Road, it didn’t take long for the favourites to go in front, Leon McKenzie heading in from a deflected Huckerby shot to give City the lead in the second minute, before Paul McKenna equalised for the visitors in the fifth.
A high-octane opening period settled down until the 28th minute, when Damien Francis gave City the lead again with a remarkable solo goal that the Preston defence could do little about.
But again Preston equalised, this time David Healy making it 2-2 in the 48th minute. The away side gave themselves a mountain to climb, however, when Marlon Broomes got himself sent off in the 69th minute.
Preston continued to go close, McKenna hitting the woodwork and the ever-present Rob Green being forced to make a string of smart saves, but normality was restored in the game’s final knockings.
Huckerby, who emerged as the top scorer in 2003-04 with 14 goals, stepped up in the 84th minute to make it 3-2 to City and keep all three points at Norfolk.
Norwich City XI: Green, Edworthy, Fleming, Mackay, Drury, Cooper (Mulryne 70’), Francis, Gary Holt, Huckerby, McKenzie (McVeigh 74’), Svensson (Roberts 79’)
Unused substitutes: Crichton, Brennan
What happened next?
City were able to celebrate promotion in front of their own fans after the final whistle was blown, with the final two games of the season away to Sunderland and Crewe Alexandra.
Despite following this game with one of their eight league defeats that season, Norwich ended the season emphatically, winning the league with 94 points, eight more than runners up West Brom, to get promoted to the Premier League.
Preston, on the other hand, had a season of mid-table mediocrity, finishing 15th with 15 wins, 14 draws and 17 defeats.