FA Cup 5th Round: Norwich City 1:2 Leicester City
A magnificent performance from City saw them defy the odds to hurdle Premier League Norwich at Carrow Road and reach a place in the last eight of the FA Cup…
Nigel Pearson made four changes to his side with Morgan and Marshall making their full debuts and Danns and Kennedy recalled.
It seemed that Norwich only giving Leicester half their entitlement of tickets had given us a rallying point, aided by a few comments from Nigel Pearson. City got off to a determined start, while the travelling 2,400 sang: “Your ground’s too small for us.” and “You stole all our seats.”
They were soon celebrating the opening goal when a spell of early pressure brought four corners, the last of which was delivered by Marshall from the left and nodded home by St Ledger.
The sense of injustice in the away end was added to when Norwich were awarded a penlty in the 22nd minute. Schmeichel came out to gather a ball, and Bennett backed into him, going down under a slight bit of contact. Referee Mike Dean pointed to the spot and insult was added to injury when the City keeper produced a fantastic save from Hoolahan’s spot-kick only for the Irishman to be presented with an unmissable rebound.
City pressed on, taking the game to their high-flying opponents, but were subject to a further outrage on the half hour. Another well-flighted flag kick from Marshall caused condusion in the Canaries’ defence and Morgan’s back heel crossed the goal line by a couple of feet until blocked by the chest of Ward. City’s appeals were waved away and the sense of injustice festered in the away section at the break.
City continued to be the better side after the break and any expected onslaught from the home side never materialised. Their best chance fell to Barnett but Wellens stuck out a leg to block his effort on the line from point blank range.
Justice was finally done in the 71st minute when a sixty yard ball out of defence from St Ledger was put into Nugent’s path with a perfect cushioned header from Beckford. Nugent ran through the centre of Norwich’s defence before sending a low shot low to Steer’s right and into the net.
Following the raucous celebrations City had a while to hang on. A goalbound Martin effort was blocked by a yellow shirt and Hoolahan could only fire the loose ball into Schmeichel’s arms. From his long drop-kick Drury got into a tangle allowing Beckford in down the left but his fierce shot hit the angle of post and bar.
There was just one heart-in-mouth moment for City in the closing stages when Wilbraham’s low shot was saved at full stretch by Schmeichel and Konchesky dived in to clear the rebound.
But City were never greatly stretched and the final whistle heralded their progression to the quarter finals for the first time in seven years.
Nigel Pearson echoed the sentiments of his team’s delighted supporters:
“This is still a very prestigious competition. When you get to the latter stages you start dreaming you can be successful.”
Norwich: Steer, Martin, Barnett, Ward, Drury, Bennett, Fox (Johnson 78), Hoolahan, Pilkington, Jackson (Vaughan 62), Morison (Wilbraham 62). Unused Subs: Ruddy, Crofts, Surman, Lappin.
Leicester: Schmeichel, Peltier, Morgan, St Ledger, Kennedy (Konchesky 66), Marshall (Delfouneso 66), Danns, Wellens, Dyer, Nugent, Beckford. Unused Subs: Smith, Mills, Howard, Moussa, Hopper.
Referee: Mike Dean (Wirral). Attendance: 26,658.