A DIRE first-half performance which saw City slump to 3-0 down inside half-an-hour was enough to condemn the Canaries to League One football next season in a devastating afternoon at The Valley. Backed by more than 3,000 passionate and hopeful fans who travelled to Charlton and 1,700 more watching the beam-back at Carrow Road, City ultimately let them down as they slumped to a 4-2 final scoreline.
Deon Burton’s hat-trick for already-relegated Charlton and a goal from Nicky Bailey were the killer blows which rendered replies from Alan Lee and Sammy Clingan largely redundant. With Barnsley battling to a 2-1 win at Plymouth, this afternoon’s painful drama confirmed Norwich will be playing in the third tier of English football for the first time since they were promoted from the old Third Division (South) in 1960.
City kicked off the first half, with the Norwich defence and ‘keeper called into action from the start as Charlton applied good pressure to the visitors’ goal. The Addicks’ efforts paid off after nine minutes when Nicky Bailey opened the scoring for the home side – a cross from Lloyd Sam on the right found the head of Bailey, and his close-range effort proved too much for the helpless David Marshall.
Phil Parkinson’s side took the score to 2-0, 26 minutes into the half, with a simple tap-in from Deon Burton after Racon’s cross-shot was palmed into his path by the diving Marshall. Four minutes later another hammer blow for the Canaries came in the form of a cross from Bailey on the left, which was confidently touched home by Burton.
As half-time approached the Canaries pushed into the Charlton final third, with Clingan’s cross to Darel Russell seeing the midfielder fire an on-target shot towards Rob Elliot – but the Addicks’ stopper scooped the ball up to safety. Lappin’s corner swung to Jon Otsemobor in the Charlton box, who was able to head across goal – with just seconds to go before the whistle blew, Alan Lee was on hand to head home past Elliot and take the score to 3-1.
Half-time: Charlton 3 Norwich 1
The second half couldn’t have got off to a worse start for Norwich as news filtered through that Barnsley had taken a 2-1 lead at Plymouth – and after Simon Lappin was unable to stop him, Charlton’s Sam put a low cross into the six-yard box enabling Burton to fire the ball past Marshall and complete his hat-trick. Cody McDonald forced a corner 57 minutes into the game, Lappin took the kick and Lee’s on-target header was unfortunately sent straight at ‘keeper Elliot.
A foul on McDonald saw Clingan step up to take the resulting free-kick on the hour mark – from 25-yards the Northern Irishman fired a curling effort inches inside the post and past the diving Addicks’ ‘keeper to make the score 4-2. City thought they had reduced the arrears further when Bailey sent Korey Smith crashing to the ground and Lappin stepped up to take the free-kick and swept it straight past Elliot.
But referee Russell Booth ruled he had not signalled the go-ahead, disallowing the goal and showing the yellow card to the Scotsman. Clingan’s retake found Lee’s boot and spun towards the far post. As the ball fell to Mooney, the Reading striker slid towards goal but was unable to connect. A slick pass from Smith found Russell in the box, but the midfielder’s elaborate twists and turns to try and make space simply saw the ball roll away and out.
Lee’s headed effort on the end of a Russell cross was sent goalwards, forcing the Charlton stopper to palm the ball away. But despite the closing minutes of the match seeing Norwich piling forward desperately, it wasn’t enough to keep the Canaries from being relegated to League One next season.
Source: Norwich City
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