drove to the game from Leicester. It's a long journey but once leaving the M1 is relatively straight forward and in a straight line. Bumped into coach loads of Stokies at the cambridge services and had a little bit of a chat with them. Finding designated parking once in Norwich was problematic with nothing sign-posted. I parked on a nearby street and returned to my car to find a parking ticket affixed to my windscreen which dulled the experience massively: rating (due to lack of sign posted parking) 5/10
Carrow road is very intimate and, whilst Molineux's custard seating is off-putting, Carrow road was not. With all of the corners being closed off (there's a hotel next to the away fans section) it made for a very intimate atmosphere and I generally took to the ground which was rustic but by no means ugly. It had character, was clean and the pitch in good condition. rating 7/10
The Norwich fans met my expectations for any team playing their first home game after promotion to the top flight. The first half was noisy and they were passionate. However this noise came seemingly only from one end of the stadium, nearest the away fans. Their banter was poor though but there was little ill-feeling or malice between the two sets of fans. The home fans were somewhat subdued during the second half and were 'muted' as soon as Stoke began to fight back. Their only directive for noise was support for their goalkeeper who kept their side safe for the majority of the game. Stoke fans had a good go and made plenty of noise for the opening 25 minutes. All became relatively quiet until we began to fight back from the 65th minute onwards when we regained our voice.
rating 8/10 at the start dipping to 5/10 towards the end.
Pies and Pints:
Didn't have any food but had a pint of piss-water carling before the game. Prices weren't bad. The staff were pleasant and friendly. The bar layout was nice, looking like a Marks & Spencers chilled shelving and there was a good range of beverages on offer, although all were bottled/canned. Much better than the concrete shelters in the boothen end and the miserable spotty teenagers dripping forehead grease into my tetleys every home game.
Performance and Result:
Stoke opened positively and made a lot of good passing moves. Etherington fired off a good shot and Jones looked 'sharper' than usual. However we rarely troubled them and they looked more likely to open the scoring which, sadly, they did. Great glancing header from De Laet, Just a shame to concede that when we had all of our giant squad in the area to defend it. The goal resulted from a free kick given away by Woodgate which I felt was clumsy and rash. The second half remained subdued with us being contained. Begovic was rarely troubled and we threatened a lot more towards the end. The penalty, whilst it should have been a free-kick, was a life-line we never should have squandered. But hey-ho. these things happen. Shotton invigorated our performance and he looks like a great player in the making. VERY pleased Kenwyne got to that header, he needed a goal as much as the team did. Norwich's goalkeeper gets special mention as he staved off plenty of opportunities. Whelan clearly can no longer hit a barn door with a banjo and Jones should have buried a 5 yard sitter. We were worth the 3 points but it wasn't to be. I spent most of the match VERY agitated and frustrated. Relief was total after the equaliser.
rating 4/10 for the first 65 minutes rising to 7/10 towards the end. We look stretched and our away form is a pale reflection of our home capabilities.