Pandemonium was evident in the terraces, indescribable joy etched on the faces of Norwich City punters and Carrow Road was left shaking to its very foundations, this was a timely reminder of why football is such a unique game, rivalled by none.
Ecstasy from the depths of despair, heart palpitations would have been felt around the ground.
Daniel Farke laid on the turf, bedlam was visible in the terraces and Alex Tettey breaking out the dance moves, the scenes were evocative to Simeon Jackson’s late strike against Derby County in 2011.
The cacophony that followed Teemu Pukki’s sweetly finished last-minute strike was probably not of the same level to that Jackson winner, but for those not present on that sunny afternoon in April 2011, this would have provided a window as to the height of those celebrations.
Discussions surrounding the ramifications of defensive mishaps and poor goalkeeping distribution can be placed on the to-do list for the international break. The most important thing is they overcame adversity in the most dramatic of fashions.
Considering their resilient defensive displays of late this can perhaps be considered as a one-off. Forgiveness will ultimately be given to those operators in yellow and green considering how much endeavour and heart they displayed at the death of the piece. After this one though, defensive behaviours will be a topic for revision over the international hiatus for Farke and his coaching team.
Norwich struggled with the physicality of Millwall, and with Grant Hanley close to returning from injury, you can’t help but feel as though this game was tailor made for him. Despite Timm Klose’s colossus efforts in both boxes, Norwich struggled to contain Tom Elliott’s physicality. With Hanley returning and games against Rotherham, Bolton and Hull on the horizon, you can’t help but feel Hanley may be back soon.
Must be a nice headache to have.
The result is merely the tip of a somewhat sizeable iceberg.
It shifted in pace and was the victim of circumstance for the most part, responsive to the key events which made it a compelling and emotionally draining encounter. Character will be ultimately be the buzzword, Norwich kept believing in their philosophical approach throughout.
Norwich displayed their best possession-based game in those closing moments.
Talk of possessing a ‘Plan B’ is always rife among supporters. Norwich’s approach is adapted and tweaked instead of overhauled and replaced in moments whereby the pattern of the game means an alternative set of methodology is required.
They probed with the same intent, switched to the makeshift three at the back and looked to play through the thirds and construct a connection through the phases on the pitch. Farke deserves credit to adapting to the state of play, albeit slightly too late.
Scenes that followed the goals will be recollected, but the killer passes from both Emi Buendia and Mario Vrancic must be mentioned. Pinpoint accuracy when Norwich needed it most. Millwall’s defensive shape can be debated, but the awareness, forward thinking and intelligence from both operators deserve plaudits.
The weight of pass from Vrancic in the dying embers was nothing short of sensational. Vrancic was aware of Pukki’s position prior to receiving the ball. Buendia penetrated through Millwall’s defensive shape with a precise pass to Jordan Rhodes.
Two magnificently crafted goals and considering the complexion of the game during that period, become all the more impressive upon consumption.
Buendia elected himself to be the deciding protagonist and drag the game from the clutches of defeat into the elation of victory.
His South American tenacity coupled with his technical excellence make him both aesthetically pleasing but also productive when he’s not in possession. Opinion cast on him has proved indifferent, but he is proving that after a period of initial transition, you can excel and discover a regular berth in the starting line-up.
His influence in both goals was impressive and he was the driving force with the ball, carrying Norwich forward almost single-handedly. Buendia is becoming quite the offensive cog in Norwich’s clockwork.
Somehow, we’ve managed to get into a significant chunk of this piece without mentioning penalties.
Three misses in their last three fixtures, it’s fair to say that Norwich’s relationship with spot kicks is strained. Even when the penalty was awarded, it was met with a sarcastic refusal, but they had to convert one eventually.
Sadly, Saturday wasn’t the day.
When Pukki collected the ball, most would have expected the burden weighing on Norwich’s shoulders to be released in an emphatic fashion. Particularly when you consider his ruthless finish prior to his penalty miss.
At present, Norwich are attempting to be too clever from 12 yards.
For all of their self-assurance in their approach, this seems to escape them when provided with an opportunity. The most revered penalty takers in the game, Matt Le Tissier and Alan Shearer to name but two, used to simply choose a spot and then convert with chutzpah.
It seems, given his post-match interviews, Moritz Leitner seems to be relishing the next one.
In Pukki, Norwich has a potent and ruthless striker bang in form. He’s influencing games and both of his goals arrived due to his predatory nature. Reflection on this game leaves his penalty miss as a mere footnote. His spatial awareness and pace over five yards alongside his clinical streak in front of goal make him a priceless entity for Norwich at present.
As he departs for international duty, supporters and Farke alike will be watching with bated breath.
Last time, he returned from international duty with a hamstring injury that saw him kept out from the side for a matter of weeks. Pukki is a man currently writing his own scripts and he may hold the keys to a serious challenge if Norwich can sustain this form.
This type of game possessed the potential to dismantle the positivity and momentum constructed by Norwich in recent weeks. For the first time this season, supporters were arriving at Carrow Road in expectation.
Another box ticked, in terms of type of opponents. It must be noted Norwich failed to beat any of the bottom four last campaign.
Good teams repeatedly find ways of winning matches, Norwich are doing that at present.
They may not be given the coverage that their positive football is worthy of, nor do they have a household name or footballing icon as their Head Coach and they may not have won a European cup 40 years ago, but this Norwich City side deserves to be taken seriously.
And whilst others get over-hyped and exposed through relentless coverage, Norwich will keep ticking along and maintaining their march of points.
That radar is beginning to bleep louder, that should be embraced and celebrated, not feared.
A game to be remembered on a day when Norwich City Football Club commemorated the ending of World War I and all those brave people who fought and lost their lives for this country.
Lest We Forget.