Football: Norwich need some Blues' steel

Norwich City 0 Birmingham City 1

IT IS something of a paradox when two opposing managers send out teams who play in complete contrast to the way they approach the game as players.

Bruce Rioch, who distinguished himself in a successful playing career with Derby County and Scotland, has fashioned a Norwich City side which does much to distance itself from the discipline and determination which earned him 24 caps for his country.

A neat passing game, a hallmark of past Norwich sides, is still in evidence, but is overshadowed by the teams lack of creativity and commitment. It says something about character when - after conceding a goal within the first 11 minutes, at Carrow Road - they were unable to carve open a shot on goal for the entire second half.

On paper, Rioch has the perfect blend. Matt Jackson, Craig Fleming and Iwan Roberts are players who possess enough physical presence to compete at this level and combined with the revered talents of Paul Dalglish, Phil Mulryne and Cedric Anselin they should blossom.

Anselin, who appeared in a Uefa Cup final as an 18-year-old for Bordeaux alongside the likes of Zinedine Zidane, was incandescent but, despite his sublime talent, he is in desperate need of a midfield minder.

Trevor Francis is finally on the way to completing the jigsaw at St Andrew's. Forced out of his previous clubs, Queen's Park Rangers and Sheffield Wednesday, the former European Cup winner has the Premiership firmly in his sight.

The semi-final defeat against Watford in the play-off last May has long been forgotten and he has added the steely resolve, which is necessary to rise to the top of the First Division.

Stan Lazardis, the maverick midfielder from West Ham, is proving a snip at pounds 750,000 and the central defender David Holdsworth, signed from Sheffield United late last season, returned from suspension to give an accomplished all-round performance.

The strength in depth of Francis's squad was illustrated by the luxury of affording last season's top scorer, Dele Adebola, a place on the substitutes' bench in order to give 18-year-old Andrew Johnson his first full League start.

Francis has been so impressed with the youngster's pre-season form that he decided to hand him a starting place against Exeter City in the midweek Worthington Cup tie - he scored - and already his playing style has been likened to his illustrious manager.

Francis said he should have added to his tally but he will be more relieved about the contribution of the winger Jon McCarthy, who scored the winner after a wonderful solo run early in the game: it was his first goal for 18 months.

Goal: McCarthy (11) 0-1

Norwich City (4-4-2) A Marshall; Sutch, Fuglestad (Diop, 35), Jackson (Mackay, 26) Fleming; De Blasiis, Anselin, Mulryne, Llewellyn (L Marshall, 71); Dalglish, Roberts. Substitutes not used: Coote, Green (gk).

Birmingham City (4-4-2) Poole; Rowett, Grainger, Holdsworth, M Johnson; Lazaridis (Hyde, 71), Hughes, McCarthy, O'Connor; Furlong (Adebola, 62), A Johnson. Substitutes not used: Forinton, Purse, Knight (gk).

Referee: A Butler (Sutton-in-Ashfield).

Bookings: Norwich: Diop. Birmingham: McCarthy, Furlong.

Man of the match: Holdsworth.

Attendance: 15,261.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
Sainsbury's could roll the lorries out across its whole fleet if they are successful
tech
Arts and Entertainment
tv
Sport
Ojo Onaolapo celebrates winning the bronze medal
commonwealth games
Arts and Entertainment
Rock band Led Zeppelin in the early 1970s
musicLed Zeppelin to release alternative Stairway To Heaven after 43 years
Arts and Entertainment
High-flyer: Chris Pratt in 'Guardians of the Galaxy'
filmHe was homeless in Hawaii when he got his big break. Now the comic actor Chris Pratt is Hollywood's new favourite action star
Arts and Entertainment
'Old Fashioned' will be a different kind of love story to '50 Shades'
film
Life and Style
fashionHealth concerns and 'pornified' perceptions have made women more conscious at the beach
Sport
Van Gaal said that his challenge in taking over Bobby Robson's Barcelona team in 1993 has been easier than the task of resurrecting the current United side
footballA colourful discussion on tactics, the merits of the English footballer and rebuilding Manchester United
Arts and Entertainment
Tracey Emin's 'My Bed' is returning to the Tate more than 15 years after it first caused shockwaves at the gallery
artTracey Emin's bed returns to the Tate after record sale
Arts and Entertainment
Smart mover: Peter Bazalgette
filmHow live cinema screenings can boost arts audiences
Environment
Neil Young performing at Hyde Park, London, earlier this month
environment
News
i100
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Project Coordinator

Competitive: The Green Recruitment Company: The Organisation: The Green Recrui...

Project Manager (HR)- Bristol - Upto £400 p/day

£350 - £400 per annum + competitive: Orgtel: Project Manager (specializing in ...

Embedded Linux Engineer

£40000 - £50000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: Embedded Sof...

Senior Hardware Design Engineer - Broadcast

£50000 - £65000 per annum + Benefits: Progressive Recruitment: Working for a m...

Day In a Page

Save the tiger: The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The big cats kept in captivity to perform for paying audiences and then, when dead, their bodies used to fortify wine
A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery all included in top 50 hidden spots in the UK

A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery

Introducing the top 50 hidden spots in Britain
Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

How a disease that has claimed fewer than 2,000 victims in its history has earned a place in the darkest corner of the public's imagination
Chris Pratt: From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

He was homeless in Hawaii when he got his big break. Now the comic actor Chris Pratt is Hollywood's new favourite action star
How live cinema screenings can boost arts audiences

How live cinema screenings can boost arts audiences

Broadcasting plays and exhibitions to cinemas is a sure-fire box office smash
Shipping container hotels: Pop-up hotels filling a niche

Pop-up hotels filling a niche

Spending the night in a shipping container doesn't sound appealing, but these mobile crash pads are popping up at the summer's biggest events
Native American headdresses are not fashion accessories

Feather dust-up

A Canadian festival has banned Native American headwear. Haven't we been here before?
Boris Johnson's war on diesel

Boris Johnson's war on diesel

11m cars here run on diesel. It's seen as a greener alternative to unleaded petrol. So why is London's mayor on a crusade against the black pump?
5 best waterproof cameras

Splash and flash: 5 best waterproof cameras

Don't let water stop you taking snaps with one of these machines that will take you from the sand to meters deep
Louis van Gaal interview: Manchester United manager discusses tactics and rebuilding after the David Moyes era

Louis van Gaal interview

Manchester United manager discusses tactics and rebuilding after the David Moyes era
The children were playing in the street with toy guns. The air strikes were tragically real

The air strikes were tragically real

The children were playing in the street with toy guns
Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite – The British, as others see us

Britain as others see us

Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite
Countries that don’t survey their tigers risk losing them altogether

Countries that don’t survey their tigers risk losing them

Jonathon Porritt sounds the alarm
How did our legends really begin?

How did our legends really begin?

Applying the theory of evolution to the world's many mythologies
Watch out: Lambrusco is back on the menu

Lambrusco is back on the menu

Naff Seventies corner-shop staple is this year's Aperol Spritz