Endsleigh League Division 1, 27/4/96
Norwich City 1(1)
Team: Miller, Bazeley, Barnes, Hessenthaler, Page, White, Porter, Palmer, Ramage, Mooney, Connolly
Subs: Payne, Ludden (for Barnes), Moralee
Scorers:: Connolly (pen), Porter
Report by Simon Devon
This season will be remembered for many things: Glenn Roeder going, the
return of GT, Luther and the promoting of Kenny Jackett from youth team
duties. Oh, and we got relegated, but we almost pulled off an amazing
survival with a blistering last few games.
The game against Norwich was a day I will never forget, it'll be one of
those games that sticks in the memory for a while. We arrived in Norwich
(my one and only time on a supporters coach!!), the sun was out and there
were Hornets everywhere, not just a few hundred, a good couple of thousand.
Carrow Road is a very nice ground, but for some reason they decided to
build it in the middle of a rubbish tip. Oh well, at least it meant we
could walk right the way around the ground, in the club shop, and talk to
some Norwich fans who were quite friendly. I didn't really know much
about Robert Chase, but from what they were saying he sounded like our
own beloved Jack Petchey (WAY worse than Petchey, I think - Ed), but at least Petchey wants out, this guy sounds
like he just wants to hang on forever! (He's gone now, which is why they're doing well again - Ed)
So, into the ground, and again I must say that Carrow road is very nice.
Bet they had to sell a few players to pay for it though. The away end was
almost full and it was still a good 40 minutes until kickoff. We had seats
at the back, but we saw some people we new near the front (Kate Holmes
and some guy called Ian) so we went down to have a chat just as the
golden boys (OK, green and purple boys on that day) ran out to warm up.
Much to our amazement, they ran straight over to the fans and began to
chat to us, sign autographs etc. They were obviously as up for it as the
fans were. Luther came over and got a hero's reception.
Kick off. Not much happened, but after two minutes David Connolly made a
good run into the box, only to be bought down. Penalty. Bugger. Watford
had a habit of missing these. This was a bit strange though. Connolly
grabbed the ball off Mooney, our regular taker, and placed it on the spot
and wouldn't let Tommy near it. Connolly was on a run of great form, six
goals in three matches, so no one argued. The run up took forever. It went
in. YES!!!!!! What a celebration. Watford fans jumping everywhere,
Connolly and the rest of the team jumping into the crowd to join in. The
rest of the first half took forever. Kevin Miller pulled off some
outstanding saves, including one incredible double save. We rode our luck
when they hit the post, but we went in one up at half time. Phew!
This is when the Norwich fans began the 'CHASE OUT!' chants. (They'd
probably been doing them all half, but I was concentrating on the match)
The Watford fans joined in, and soon the whole ground was joining in! Two
guys unveiled a banner saying 'Chase the dictator out' and promptly got
nicked. Us Watford fans have had to put up with a dodgy chairman for some
time now, so I guess we felt sorry for the Norwich lot!
The second half began with relentless Norwich pressure, but Miller again
kept them out. Then dirty old Fleck got in a bit of bother with Devon
White and got Norwich a free kick. Ian Crook curled in a beauty and it
was one all. Rather than sit there and feel sorry for ourselves, we got
behind the team with a passion that is very rarely seen. But the goal we
needed just wouldn't come.
Connolly had a goal disallowed, it just wasn't going to be our day. Gary
Porter had done well in midfield all day, but had done nothing special.
He had the ball and was about 30 yards out with no one to pass to. So he
shot. The ball seemed to fly in slow motion. Bryan Gunn, dived full
stretch, and the ball went passed his hands into the top left corner. YES
YES YES YES! The celebrations were, well, er.... fab? No, that's the wrong
word. Good? A bit dull. Orgasmic? A bit strong, but you get the idea. I
love a good goal celebration. 67 minutes gone, only 23 to go. It's amazing
how long 23 minutes can last. The rest of the game is a blur, but we held
The final whistle got as big a cheer as the goals. Plus, all the other
results went our way. We WERE staying up, and did we let the Norwich fans
know it! The most amazing thing was, they began to applaud us! So, we
joined in with the Chase Out thing, and we applauded each other a bit
more. Who says football fans need to fight? This was amazing. On the walk
back to the coach they were congratulating us and hoping that we would
We left the ground with a lot of optimism, but that came crashing down
around us a week later. But, for that week after Norwich away the belief
among everyone connected with Watford was amazing.
A truly memorable match.
See also: BSaD match report