Thursday, April 25, 2024

Norwich fail to cut gap on top six following Blackburn stalemate

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 24 Feb 2024

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Norwich missed the chance to cut the gap on the top six after drawing 1-1 at Blackburn.

The Canaries started well and their early possession was rewarded in superb style when Marcelino Nunez curled his first goal of the season into the top corner midway through the first half.

Both sides had chances, though, with Sam Gallagher denied three times in the first half by Angus Gunn, and they were eventually rewarded through Dominic Hyam’s towering header after the break.

A point was a fair outcome for both sides as neither managed to create a clear-cut chance after the equaliser which means Norwich remain three points outside the play-offs after extending their unbeaten run to five.

Blackburn are still looking for their first win under John Eustace but even though they are winless in four, they have not lost in their last three.

The Canaries certainly enjoyed the lion’s share of possession in the early exchanges, but it was Blackburn who had the first real opening when Harry Pickering’s 19th-minute corner found Gallagher, whose downward header was parried away brilliantly by Gunn.

That save proved crucial as Norwich hit the front in spectacular fashion three minutes later when Nunez bent a 20-yard free-kick into the top-left corner.

David Wagner’s men almost doubled their lead two minutes later when Gabriel Sara slipped Josh Sargent in on goal but goalkeeper Aynsley Pears was out quickly to smother his low effort.

Gallagher had another chance on the half hour when he latched onto a ball down the left but he took one touch too many and Gunn was able to spread himself to block from a tight angle.

Gunn made it a hat-trick of saves from Gallagher when he palmed his far-post header away after the striker met John Buckley’s searching cross.

The interval came at a good time for the visitors and they almost regrouped to devastating effect when Christian Fassnacht sprung Blackburn’s offside trap but Pears’ outstretched leg diverted the ball to safety just as the Swiss winger was set to take the ball around him.

For the second time in the game, superb goalkeeping proved crucial as Rovers levelled in the 56th minute. Pickering’s deep corner was met by Hyam who rose above three Norwich players to head home from six yards.

At that stage a grandstand finish felt like it was on the cards but surprisingly it failed to materialise.

Canaries substitute Onel Hernandez looked the most likely provider as he first sent in a cross that Ashley Barnes directed well wide, before more trickery saw him centre for Sargent who was just ahead of the pass.

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