Norwich relish their chance

Norwich 1 (Adams (pen) 21) Wolves 0 Attendance:14,456
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The Independent Online
Satisfaction is comparative for Norwich. Compared with the disillusion of last season, the new spirit inspired by the returning manager, Mike Walker, was sufficient to justify a controversial penalty win at Carrow Road yesterday. Wolves, though, may compare their patient building with last term's directness and wonder if they're ever going to settle on a system.

Mark McGhee has the theory that Wolves have been kicking the ball up- field and hoping for the best for a wasted decade. The best has too often been left to the club's old servant and new captain, Steve Bull, to make better. He is not inclined to take into account that it was the accurate long-ball game allied to smart wingmanship which made Wolves internationally famous.

Both clubs think they are going to be challenging for promotion this season. Perhaps. The question is whether they are good enough to stay in the Premiership should they get there. Over-zealous interventions by the referee did nothing to help them prove the point. He took five names in the first half and awarded the avoidable penalty.

Norwich had been reduced in strength by a couple of absentees on international duty. They concealed the fact well enough and were beginning to question Wolves' defensive security even without the benefit of the 20th-minute penalty, awarded when a tackle by Mark Venus on Daryl Sutch looked considerably less than venomous. Of course, Neil Adams accepted the chance.

Bull attempted to remedy the situation after half an hour. Unleashing an intimidating shot inside the penalty area, the only thing Bryan Gunn could do to stop it was to put up two fists. The ball rebounded to safety but Wolves were encouraged to push Steve Corica slightly further forward and look for openings. But as McGhee admitted: "We were always too cluttered in midfield - that was my fault."

Yet McGhee's tactics could have worked. Wolves certainly had the better second-half possession without giving Bull a meaningful opening. At least they survived Ian Crook's 22-yard free kick that Mike Stowell pushed away and gave themselves the opportunity to recover, which they failed to take. Walker said that was the difference. "We had lost our Under-21 internationals and ought to have had our game called off but we had a go and got the points."

Norwich fans deserve that, although McGhee was right to complain that a penalty appeal when Gunn seemed to bring down Iwan Roberts was justified.

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