Those footballing gods have a funny way of working – if you care to believe in them in the first place.
Punishing Wolves for profligacy against Spurs in our last fixture, and doing likewise to Norwich City in this, when the game should have been buried at half-time.
But boy, doesn’t it feel good when they’re smiling our way?! This was a smash and grab; a sucker punch; a brazen daylight robbery which had us on the other side of the fence for once, to remind us of an agonising past.
In years gone by (or days if you count Tottenham) we would often dominate Premier League games but leave with nothing, rueing missed opportunities against sides ‘you can’t afford to miss opportunities against.’
We are now one of those sides.
Raúl Jiménez is a case in point. After a wretched first hour where his touch was missing in action – as epitomised when squandering possession to allow Norwich to break for the opener – the Mexican came good.
A brilliant little cameo from Pedro Neto for the anonymous Jota helped do the damage, bursting behind the Norwich backline and squaring for Doherty whose shot was parried. The rebound, however, landed on the lap of our £30 million-man and an ominous hush fell around the ground. Raul calmly picked his spot and hammered home the winner with everyone inside Carrow Road knowing the outcome before he’d even made contact.
Compare and contrast to the luckless Teemu Pukki, who never looked like scoring when frequently presented with clear openings on goal. It’s ultimately why there’s a £28 million difference in price tags and why Norwich City are surely doomed. It’s presumably why Nuno embraced our number nine for a lot longer than everyone else at full-time, too. A marksman like he is worth his weight in gold.
And what price Patricio too, who again underlined the point made by Jez Moxey all those years ago, who had it right all along. Wage bills do indeed correlate with league positions.
Before kick-off, the locals told us they won’t be spending in January, their injury list is extensive and they were a significantly stronger proposition in the division below. It was as if Jez was back in the room, reading from the script which alienated both sets of supporters.
They also said they can’t perform for two halves, so if they were to be winning after the first 45mins, then we shouldn’t read too much into it. My fellow Cannock Wolves comrade Rob was excitably telling all who’d listen to bear it in mind, as if he’d cracked an East Anglian Enigma Code.
It turns out he had, as we did more in the first five minutes of the second half than we’d mustered in the entirety of the first. This improved attitude and application combined with an increasingly brittle home side who conceded from a set play, engineered by a dazzling counter-attack by Adama Traore whose ability to induce audible gasps from opposing fans is almost as impressive as his ability on the ball itself. It was he who won the corner and Moutinho who worked it to the back post for Saiss to head home.
From this moment on, there would only be one winner. ‘F**king useless’ sang the away fans with the scoreline still at 1-1.
Even the most cautious knew the outcome at that stage.
We’d seen it all before.