November kicked off with a new manager in the form of Glenn Roeder. A lot of people, including me, were rather uninspired by the board’s choice of new manager, and had been holding out for Paul Jewell. If only we knew then what we knew now.
The first act of the Roeder regime was to try and plug the gap at the back by bringing in Martin Taylor on loan from Birmingham, and his first game could not have been more important – the East Anglian Derby against Ipswich at Carrow Road.
Despite dominating much of the play the hosts found themselves 2-0 down at half-time following goals from Alan Lee and Pablo Counago.
Most City fans feared the worst, but a second-half fightback sealed by Jamie Cureton’s cool finish evened the spoils before Darren Huckerby was sent off for a foul on Walters.
Two days later Watford came to Carrow Road and dominated almost from first minute to last to run out worthy 3-1 winners. Roeder demanded more from his players, and what followed was Plymouth (A).
Wolves was supposed to be the low-point and then we had QPR. That was supposed to be the low-point, and then we had Home Park – arguably the real low-point of the season.
It’s quite hard to put into words how bad things were at Plymouth. The 3-0 defeat was bad enough, but it will be remembered more for the subsequent coining of the phrase “Home Park Six” (Brellier, Murray, Lappin, Martin, Brown and Strihavka) – four of which have since left (praise the Lord).
Moving swiftly on to Coventry at Carrow Road, and the first signs of revival. Luke Chadwick’s first half goal and Jamie Cureton’s second half strike gave the Canaries a 2-0 win, and all of a sudden we were “only” one win away from second-bottom!
Three days later and City were level on points with Preston after a 3-1 win at Blackpool – an actual away win! With ten minutes to play and the Canaries leading 2-1, Wes Hoolahan’s penalty was saved by David Marshall and when Dion Dublin scored in injury-time the points were secured.
Games played – 5
Won – 2
Lost – 2
Drawn – 1
Goals Scored – 8
Goals Conceded – 9
Win % – 40%.
Position after last league game – 24th. Just.
Still a lot of work to do, but we seemed to find something that had previously been missing all season – spirit.
Check back tomorrow for the review of December, featuring Stoke, Plymouth, Sheffield United, Colchester, Scunthorpe, Charlton and Wolves…