Norwich City welcomed Michael Carrick’s Middlesbrough side to Carrow Road for their final match before the World Cup break.
Middlesborough came to Carrow Road off the back of a very good team performance mid week against Blackpool. They came also wanting to be expecting to leave with all 3 points to help boost their play off hopes. Michael Carrick made no changes from that midweek game. One player he talked about was Chuba Akpom and how influential he has been in the Middlesbrough team since he became gaffer.
Norwich City went into this game needing every point available in the chase for the automatic promotion chase. They came off a good win last weekend against Rotherham but there were plenty of glaring issues which needed to be addressed. Dean Smith named an unchanged starting 11 with the only exception being that Marcelino Nunez returned to the bench which saw Kieran Dowell out of the match day squad.
Middlesborough started off enjoying a lot of the procession in the opening exchanges with Norwich really struggling to get any kind of possessions or string together any meaningful passes. Middlesborough went close after just a few minutes after Tommy Cross put a perfect ball into the box which found Akpom head and it went over the bar.
Norwich then slowly came into the game and started to see glimpses of what the fans know the players are capable of and they moved the ball down the middle of the park. Aaron Ramsey found himself with the ball in the middle of the Boro half when he was able to turn his marker sprint past and then found Pukki whose shot was saved by Zack Steffan, a chance that should have really been put away.
Norwich then not long after this went on to score after some good work from Kenny Mclean who found Josh Sargent who was able to slot it past Zack Steffan to put the Canaries 1-0 up in a very nervy opening exchange of the ball.
Norwich then went on the rest of the 1st half enjoying a lot more of the ball and saw a number of efforts go close but some very good saves from Zack Steffan ensured that Norwich went into the half time break with only a 1 goal lead.
Norwich City came out in the 2nd half and enjoyed a lot of the ball which had been completely opposite to the beginning of the 1st half. The first effort saw Josh Sargent shoot from about 20 yards out, which again made a decent save to deny Sargent his 2nd goal of the game.
However, Boro then made sure that they would equalise after an attempted clearance found McGree who hit on the volley and sailed into the top corner giving a diving Angus Gunn absolutely no chance to try and save it.
Norwich heads dropped almost immediately after this and it has happened after the opposition equalises something that the fans are starting to get fed up of.
Norwich then got their own double opportunity to score again to give them back the lead after playing very badly. The first chance went to Sara who had a shot but yet again Steffan was equal to it and then just minutes after Aarons had a shot but went just narrowly wide of the post.
Then after quite boring football from both teams lacking any quality passes but then in heart breaking fashion Crooks came off the Boro bench and made sure he sent the away end into bedlam after it saw them nick all 3 points in the 92nd minute of the match.
Norwich City: Gunn, Aarons, Hanley, Gibson, McCallum (Giannoulis 70), Hayden, Sara (Núñez 83), Ramsey (Cantwell 70), Pukki (Hernández 62), McLean, Sargent (Hugill 83)
Middlesbrough: Steffen, Jones (Dijksteel), Giles, Fry, McGree (Crooks 88), Smith, Howson, Forss (Hoppe 74), Lenihan, Akpom (Muniz 90), Hackney