Norwich City 1-3 Blackburn Rovers: Szmodics nets twice as 10-man Rovers defeat hapless Canaries

A huge clash between two off-colour sides awaited at Carrow Road on Sunday afternoon. Norwich boss David Wagner was in a fight to save his job, and was in desperate need of all three points. However, Jon Dahl Tomasson’s Blackburn side arrived in Norfolk looking for their fourth win in six games in all competitions. 

NOR: Long; Stacey, Duffy, Warner, Giannoulis; McLean, Rowe; Nunez, Hernandez, Sara; Hwang

BLA: Wahlstedt; Rankin-Costello, Hill, S. Wharton, Pickering; Britain; Moran, Szmodics, Tronstad, A. Wharton, Dolan

As this was the Canaries’ last home game before Remembrance Day, Carrow Road paused before kick-off to remember those who gave their lives in past and present conflicts.

Once the game did get underway, it was a fairly even start for both sides, although Marcelino Nunez did fire a contemplative effort over the bar with just two minutes gone after Adam Wharton gave the ball away. 

However, Blackburn started to take control of the game and they took the lead with a wonderful goal. Joe Rankin-Costello received the ball from Callum Brittain, and then the Rovers right back played the ball beautifully to Tyrhys Dolan, who got into the box and fired home past George Long at the near post, immediately setting off discontent among the Norwich faithful. 

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It got even better for Jon Dahl Tomasson’s side just inside 15 minutes, as Blackburn tore Norwich apart again. Andrew Moran received the ball from Harry Pickering in the central area of the pitch, before looking up and finding Sammie Szmodics through on goal, and the Irish international made no mistake as he slotted the ball home past Long, igniting more jeers from the home support. 

Szmodics could have had a second to his name just moments after, but his finish was tame and Long collected comfortably in the Norwich goal.

Norwich’s first attempts on goal finally arrived on the half hour mark as Hwang Ui-Jo took the ball down well and smashed the ball towards the far corner, but Leopold Wahlstedt got down well to collect the ball. Nunez then won the header from Jack Stacey’s wonderful cross in, but once again, the Blackburn goalkeeper was alert and caught the ball. Onel Hernandez then tried his luck from long range, but the ball flew well wide of the far post.

The second half kicked off exactly how Blackburn would have wanted it to, as they got their third of the afternoon. Tyrhys Dolan kept possession of the ball in the centre of the pitch, and then turned and found Andrew Moran down the right hand side. Moran then looked up and squared the ball across to Sammie Szmodics, who directed the ball home from the most acute of angles – a goal that effectively sealed all three points for Jon Dahl Tomasson’s side.

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Moments after Rovers found their third goal, they were reduced to ten men, as Scott Wharton was shown a straight red card after denying Onel Hernandez a clear goal-scoring opportunity. From the resulting free kick, Marcelino Nunez whipped the ball straight into the gloves of Leopold Wahlstedt – an effort that summed up Norwich City’s afternoon. 

Norwich almost got a goal back as substitute Przemyslaw Placheta curled in a beautiful ball for fellow newcomer Christian Fassnacht, whose header was kept out brilliantly by Wahlstedt. 

Following the red card for Wharton, however, Norwich did begin to look better, with the closest chance coming the way of Jonathan Rowe, whose overhead kick from a corner was mistimed, but only just, as the ball whiskered just over the England U21 international. 

As the game entered six minutes of added time, Norwich did grab a consolation goal, as Kenny McLean’s pass forward found Przemyslaw Placheta down the left hand side, whose cross in found Gabriel Sara, who smashed the ball home past Wahlstedt. However, as the full-time whistle went, Canaries boss David Wagner was the man in the spotlight, as he was left to ponder his future at the club as Norwich looked dismal once again.

In terms of what’s next for both sides, Blackburn head back to Ewood Park for a local derby against Preston North End on Friday night, while Norwich City make the long trip to Wales to take on Cardiff City the following day at 3pm.