As Anglian Home Improvements endorsed the coach travel to Swansea, I thought it was a good idea to get a taste of what an away game is like and being a massive Norwich supporter I could not wait to experience this, so much so I even dragged my girlfriend along!
It was a very long journey, taking around 7 hours to get there, which when sat on a coach is very boring, but on the way there the excitement of the game kept spirits high.
We arrived at about 4 o’clock and were eager for the highly anticipated match to kick off, especially my girlfriend. Although she doesn’t really follow football, the fact we had travelled so far, she had her own Norwich City shirt and we were sat near the home fans filled her with excitement.
After watching the Grand National and having a drink to celebrate winning that, we made our way to our seats, situated to the left of the goal on the second row making these perfect seats to enjoy the game. Although, Sarah (girlfriend) disagreed, she was more worried about getting hit in the face by the ball!
With 2000 Norwich fans making the cross country trip, we all had high hopes for the game ahead, but it wasn’t long after kick-off that these hopes were dashed when Swansea went 1-0 up.
Norwich started well, creating a couple of chances before sitting back, passing the ball between the back four, but not progressing to far up-field. The team sat on the edge of their own penalty box for pretty much the rest of the first half and looked nervous on the ball. This lead to Norwich conceding, after a sloppy challenge on the edge of the box gave Borini a chance to score from 25 yards, which he did brilliantly, giving John Ruddy no chance.
The crowd were still in high spirits singing loudly to spur on the team they travelled hundreds of miles to see. Norwich desperately tried to fight back, but were left stunned when Swansea doubled their advantage. Angel Rangel had a shot parried by Ruddy and Zak Whitbread’s poor clearance fell straight to Gower, who skilfully hammered the ball in from distance.
Ruddy then proved why he has been a key asset to Paul Lambert’s squad this season with a series of saves as corners and shots came in, but none bared any success.
Half time soon came and the morale amongst the fans was low, this was one of the most frustrating first halves I have ever watched. As we were sat close to the home fans we were subject to quite a lot of football banter, further frustrating us. The first half had given Sarah and I a sore throat after a lot of singing and shouting, following every pass, shot and tackle.
I would love to have been a fly on the wall in Norwich’s dressing room at half time to hear what Paul Lambert had to say, but the team needed a good kick up the bum to get them ready for the next 45.
Andrew Surman was replaced by Jackson at half time to give Norwich a 3 pronged attack in an attempt to pull the game back, but this was not enough.
Despite creating a lot of chances Norwich just couldn’t find the net, Grant Holt especially, missing a header he would normally have finished. Crofts’ volley from the edge of the box went narrowly wide much to the disappointment of the City fans.
The second half gave the home fans lots to sing about, with them being 2-0 ahead, but the Norwich fans gave as good as they got as we sung ‘On the ball City’ to boost our team and out sing the home support.
Moments later, Swansea had to thank their goalkeeper De Vries, who made two outstanding saves to keep them in the lead proving why his team have only conceded 9 goals at home all season!
The minutes left were disintegrating fast and it was disappointing to see Norwich go 3-0 down in the 90th minute, and from an Ipswich loanee it really rubbed salt into the wound, as Tamás Priskin won a 50/50 against Ruddy leaving him to tap the ball into an empty goal.
This was too much to watch, so Sarah and I left the stadium, but as we got out of the door stewards ran into the stadium as some of the home support were trying to invade the Norwich fans stand! It all turned a bit nasty afterwards, but thanks to an 8 foot fence and the stewards doing their job well, any problems were quickly defused. However, a stray coin did smash a coach window to put a bit of a downer on the whole day.
Sarah and I went home disappointed with the result after travelling so far, but the experience itself was incredible! The atmosphere, the singing and the banter created an amazing day out, despite the result. It was that enjoyable, Sarah has now said she wants to go to more matches and would love a season ticket!