In what was a glorious day on the south coast, it should have been wrapped up with glitter on top when Saints found themselves up 3-0 with 5 minutes to go.
Schneiderlin opened the score on 5 minutes after a neat pass into the box and empty space was latched onto by the Frenchman to lift over Ruddy. Its interesting to note that the continued form of Schneiderlin being continually overlooked by France, due to residency rules he could potentially have the option to play for England! There were a few more chances in the first half but Norwich struggled to get even a few minutes possession with the away fans shouting “Olay” every time their team strung a few passes together. Ramirez curled a shot just past the upright with Ruddy rooted to the spot. Ramirez also lifted the ball into the area again for Davies to snatch the shot just past the post.
Saints continued the possession control into the second half but the team looked casual and there were more than a few nervy moments with Boruc passing from the back for the defenders to be closed down rapidly by the Norwich strike force. The game wasn’t a spectacular affair and you would have been forgiven for wondering off to get a coffee! Something needed to happen, and on 56 minutes Lallana was replaced by Lambert and a minute later after a header on from Ramirez, Lambert brought the ball down and around Yobo and passed Ruddy at the near post with the aplomb of a seasoned England striker! It was pleasing to note the Season Ticket at Saints was being used again by Hodgson!
Chris Hughton then made a triple substitution for the visitors by bringing on strikers, Ricky van Wolfswinkel and Johan Elmander, as well as Nathan Redmond, with Gary Hooper amongst those to make way, to a chorus of “You don’t know what your doing” by the away fans to be joined by “Your getting sacked in the morning” from the Saints fans.
The third goal came on 72 minutes as a shot from Guly da Prado was blocked by Ruddy and Lambert’s subsequent shot blocked as well but the rebound falling to Rodriguez who chipped in from 15 yards.
That should have been it, wrapped up! Saints continued to press and on 81 minutes a beautiful shot from Rodriguez curling to clip the top right corner of the crossbar.
Then on 85 minutes, a sloppy pass by Schneiderlin was grasped by Elmander to make it 3-1.
Two minutes later, a sloppy pass from Fonte was seized and the subsequent shot parried by Boruc into the path of Snodgrass who made no mistake in claiming Norwich’s second goal in two minutes.
The stadium was stunned with reminiscent of going down 4-3 to Leeds after being 3-0 up in 2005.
The next 5 minutes ended up with Norwich fans lifted for the first time in 87 minutes and the Saints 18 yard box being continually bombarded by long balls and crosses. Five minutes injury time then drew gasps from the crowd and an increasingly decibel barrage from the away fans. Saints tried to slow the barrage down by making a late substitution with Gallagher coming on for Rodriguez. Saints were rooted to defending their now slender lead. further delays were had when Lovren had an unfortunate injury making him leave the field and Saints down to 10 men.
It all looked like Saints digging out what should have been an easy win but instead hanging on a knife edge to a barrage from the Canaries. Fortunately a ball rebounded out of the box for a Norwich defender slipping to cross it back in, Steven Davies latching on to the loose ball and making a full pitch sprint towards Ruddy’s goal with Sam Gallagher in support. With the crowd on their feet they both calmly worked the ball into the net to be cleared by a Norwich defender, only for the goal technology system showing the ball had crossed the line and announcing G O A L 4 – 2 on the screens to a delightful and much relieved stadium.