Things we sort of learned - Barnsley (h)

OMG, we’re only 5 points off the play-offs now! Season back on? Maybe. Richard Jeffery and Zoë Whitford jumped on the slightly spluttering top six bandwagon as Norwich beat Barnsley.

Socks appeal

There was a great deal to admire about Barnsley. But I’m just going to focus on one thing. Their workrate? No. Their organisation? No. The punch-up they organised among themselves? No. I’m focusing on their socks. I bloody loved their socks. 

You’ve got red and white to play with, mainly red with white accents like their shirts? Just Red? Just White? No, let’s be bold. Let’s go for stripes. Very simple design. I loved it. Arsenal had the same a while back, and I applaud Barnsley for doing the same.

From the knee down they were like a team of Where’s Wallys. Fortunately for us they had the same trouble finding our goal from the chances they created as you do trying to locate Wally in the books.

McGovern’s smart fingertip save early in the second half aside, they were generally like a late era Jim Morrison - high, wide and handsome.

But I digress. Loved those socks. RJ

Chopping onions at HT

Trust bloody Delia to use her half-time 15 minutes to start preparing onions for her Saturday night curry and bringing more than a tear to my eyes in the process. 

That’s my excuse for trying desperately not to look like the kind of melt that cries at a football match as the NCFC disability squads, including the down’s syndrome team, did a lap of honour round the pitch. The reception they received was wonderful, from the away fans as well, and as the Barclay sang ‘Yellows’ as they walked past I have to admit it was all too much to deal with.

Norwich City matters for more reasons than what the first team does on the pitch. It understands its place in the community and works hard to help drive change. It is something to be proud of. ZW

Stop, Hammill time.

The Barnsley winger had a fairly decent game without the end product but he deserves a special mention for his Epic Corner related #bantz with the Thorpe Corner Ultras.

They did their usual misunderstanding of the rules/lack of knowledge of the rules/wind up when he placed the ball to take a corner with the merest sliver of it being over the slightest hint of the crescent of the white line. Duly the ref waddled over to check and nodded his assent that the Curva Thorpe had got it wrong. Again. Hammill duly took the corner, they didn’t score from it, as you were people.

Shortly afterwards Barnsley won another corner, again to be taken in front of the Barra Brava of the City Stand. Hammill, his ‘famous scouse wit’ shining through, deliberately placed the ball outside the crescent of the corner to feigned outrage/much hilarity/banter/#lolz from everyone. He got a round of applause for his trouble. 

Lovely stuff. RJ

Persistent Pritch

Alex Pritchard very much needed to repay the fans who reacted quite so badly to his substitution last week with an excellent performance. He’s had a mixed season - perhaps mirroring the fortunes of the rest of the team - better at home than away, drifting in and out of games at times and certainly not being given enough of an opportunity. You feel that to get the best out of Pritchard he needs a run in the team, and the chance to run the game as the key creative player.

While he didn’t have his most eye-catching game in terms of flair, this was possibly the most impressive I have seen Pritchard - refusing to disappear, running constantly, tackling, even heading. He annoyed the hell out of the Barnsley players as he threw his little body into challenges he must have never expected to make, somehow shocking them into giving up the ball. More of that in the last few games of the season and who knows what might happen (probably nothing, don’t get too excited). 

Well played, little buddy. ZW

Ja:Mur

So far in the league this season Jacob has 9 goals and 4 assists so he’s been directly involved with 13 goals, maths fans. That makes him well on target to match Nathan Redmond’s 2014/2015 Championship season of direct involvement in 17 goals (13 assists 4 goals). That’s great company to be keeping.

He still sometimes chooses the wrong option, he’s also got to work on the defensive side of his game and needs to get stuck in a bit more on occasion, but he is still young and name me a winger that you couldn’t you say all of the above about. So it’s churlish to criticise him for this. Instead look at the positives.

His goal yesterday showed his growing maturity, while at the same time confounding the football experts in the Barclay who urged him to shoot first time. The very odd man who was sat behind me was still loudly and very swearily pointing out to Jacob why he should have shot first time as the ball flew into the net. Lovely.

I’m looking forward to seeing him develop and wonder how good he can be.  If only we had two of him. Oh! RJ

Well-drilled (not like that, filth)

The Barnsley side were a credit to their manager, to their club, and more importantly to South Yorkshire. My well-trained eye, honed from 15 years living in the California of the north, could tell this was a bunch of Yorkshire folk from a mile off. They were built like a team of rugby league players and their cool-guy haircuts looked like they’d been stuck slightly askew atop their heads. 

I have such a soft spot for Barnsley, and I was very much taken with their organised fan appreciation which took place both pre- and post-match. Their substitutes had a proper warm-up at half-time, unlike the familiar lark-around we see every week which usually involves 4 men trying desperately not to have to talk to Kyle Lafferty.

These are small things, but I presume they are all driven by young manager Paul Heckingbottom, formerly of this parish. They are things that matter, particularly the applause for the fans who have travelled a long way. While I’m not going so far as to say HECKINGBOTTOM FOR HEAD COACH, having someone who appreciates the little things would be wonderful. ZW