Carrow Road - Norwich City FC
Saturday August 21st 2010
Vs Swansea City, Championship League, 3pm
By Lee Jones
As a Swansea fan one of the longest trips for us is Norwich away, the thought of literally crossing the UK for a football match is daunting. Having done Portman Road last year and already attended the KC stadium I decided to bite the bullet and add Carrow Road to my list of grounds visited.
I have for the last year used the Swansea City travel club to make most of my away journeys, having previously driven to most games in my own car but the cost of fuel has made this way too expensive. So I presented myself for collection at my normal pick up spot at the god awful time of 6am. Whilst waiting for the bus it started to rain the bus eventually arrived at 6.45am. I was wet and fed up and we hadn’t even left South Wales.
The day was to get even better, the toilet on the bus was not working correctly and a god awful smell was filling the bus, joy of joys, my seat was broken so my back was in half when we caught up with the other bus’s at Reading services, a short break of 10 mins then on with the journey to East Anglia.
We were promised a pub stop at 12 which had been used on numerous times and a nice lunch was promised, something to look forward to at least…… M25 was a nightmare then we had to take a detour to avoid something or another time was getting on and we were no nearer Norwich. Eventually it was decided we could not make the pub stop as we were so delayed.
We arrived outside Carrow Road at 2.15pm. Parking seemed plentiful in the area and we were parked next to a car park between the railway lines and the Royal Mail sorting office. With time against us, It didn’t seem sensible to make for the designated pub the Compleat Angler so we just went into the ground. There was quite a fair crowd of Norwich fans as we made our way to the ground but the atmosphere was very friendly and no hassle.
Once in the ground we made straight for the bar area. They had an offer on of 4 pints for £12.00 and the famous Delia pies were on display I tried the chicken leek and something pie which was about £2.50 but very tasty. The bar area was not very big but quite well organised. A word of warning for those not quite 18 they will require ID and refused to serve quite a few “students”.
The ground looked quite impressive as you arrive and drive around three of the four sides in a nice looking rather than a blooming huge carbuncle stuck in the middle of nowhere. As we had arrived quite late the ground was filling up when we arrived and by the time we got into the away stand the ground was virtually full with a crowd of about 22 thousand. The away end was a partitioned section of a stand running parallel to the field the detached Barclay end stand behind the goal to our right seemed to hold the “singing” section. We had a clear view of the pitch and the leg room was ok but nothing great. It was a good ground and there was a fair old atmosphere brewing. The ground felt like a proper ground and was designed to watch the game rather than maximising profit.
The game got underway and immediately the Norwich fans in the Barclay end began making a good noise and it seemed to spur on Norwich who were putting in lots of crosses with Chris Martin in particular causing our makeshift fullbacks lots of problems.
We had beaten Preston 4 -0 at the Liberty in our last game and I was sure we could get some goals but the loss of Rangel Angel to injury and Fede Bessonne to Leeds during the summer left our defence looking a bit dodgy with 4 centre halves across the back. After about 20 minutes we began to take control with some neat passing and a few shots on target but all to no avail.
The home fans had gone deathly quiet and the home stewards were ensuring that we didn’t make too much noise by being very strict with no standing whatsoever. This was starting to rankle some of the Swans supporters who pointed out to the stewards that virtually everyone in the Barclay end stand were on their feet.
The majority of the stewards were ok however one or two seemed to be relishing the confrontation and raising the temperature a few degrees. There was one “official” a bald guy in a green coloured suit jacket who was particularly obnoxious and was mouthing obscenities to Swans fans from the safety of the pitch side and giving the “come on” to a few of our hot heads. It was a poor image and spoiled the atmosphere as well as the reputation of a “family” club.
The second half started as the first had finished with the Swans dominating and Norwich having to hold on to keep the game at 0-0. Then all the pressure seemed to break Norwich, when on 81 mins Scott Sinclair was put through one on one on the Norwich goalie John Rudd, and as he went past, the goalie brought Sinclair down.
Penalty given, but the ref gives only a yellow card. The Swans fans all thought a red card would be shown.
Still we were all confident as David Cotterril walked up to take the pen, he had scored on every occasion he had taken them for us, however he had not played well and I was a little nervous. He shoots he saves!
As is always the case with this type of game they come down to our end having been defending for the best part of an hour we fail to clear our lines they put a speculative cross into the box and Ash Williams one of our best players knocks it past Devries for an own goal. The home crowd came alive and started making some noise but they could not believe their luck. We pressed forward throwing the kitchen sink at Norwich and they then scored on the break with a well taken goal. Talk about Dirk Turpin. I was gutted.
We left the ground and as you can imagine we were pretty down and to be fair to Norwich fans they agreed they were lucky and most would have been happy with a point. The atmosphere was ok leaving the ground with no hassle or fans rubbing it in.
So overall a bit of a day but would recommend Norwich if it was minus the stewards.