Norwich City 0 Albion 0

Shane Duffy knows a fair bit about last-ditch, body-on-the line defending.

So, as seals of approval go, the hug he gave Dan Burn after a possible goal-saving tackle in this stalemate was an accolade not to be under-estimated.

Burn stretched out a long leg to nudge the ball away as Teemu Pukki took aim at the end of a counter attack.

Earlier, Duffy had been the saviour by getting back to cut out an under-hit shot by Josh Sargent which might just have crept into the unguarded net had he not intervened.

On that occasion, Burn was on the scene to give the Irish giant his congratulations and haul him back to his feet.

It was that sort of afternoon for Albion at the back.

They got themselves into some awkward scrapes and were good enough to get out of them against opponents who were less than lethal.

Equally, they worked some positions of promise at the other end and were not good enough to take full advantage.

The end result was a draw which has to be somewhat underwhelming against a side who had managed just one point and two goals going into this fixture.

But also a draw which meant the trepidation of some travelling fans was not fully justified.

One sensed a “today’s the day” feel in the Norfolk city on Saturday morning.

That seemed apparent among the home team, the support, on the front of the local newspaper, among one or two people you heard talking around the city centre ahead of the game.

As in Saturday was the time for the Canaries’ first home win in the Premier League in 596 days (they have been relegated and promoted since then).

Albion head coach Graham Potter assessed a third successive draw and said: “Norwich have earned the right to be in the Premier League.

“We haven’t really played as well as I think we can but we picked something up from the game, which is what we have to focus on.”

Albion’s attempts to construct in attack ran out of impetus and direction too often.

But, if you are keeping them out at one end, you do not need to create all that much at the other.

They certainly had enough to go ahead and turn occasional unease in the stands at misplaced passes into something altogether more uncomfortable for the home team.

A strong Neal Maupay penalty shout, a sharp save by Tim Krul when Adam Lallana’s shot flew at him through a crowd, a volley on to the bar by Leandro Trossard. All that in the first half.

And, very late on, what could have been an absolute dagger for the Canaries when Maupay poked over after making a great run to get on the end of Solly March’s low cross.

But, for all that, they still looked a little blunt in attack for a considerable period of the second half.

There is no doubt they miss Yves Bissouma’s drive in midfield, although he was on the bench here.

A quite vigorous half-time warm-up with a member of the fitness team suggested he was going to go on for the second half.

Just as his pained limp to the changing room in the Leicester game suggested there was no way he could start the second 45 that day.

Wrong both times.

But Albion got decent value from the three changes they made.

Potter identified that their attacking work had lacked width against a side who are more back five than back three.

The Argus:

March was purposeful on the left in the closing stages and his work to set up that Maupay chance came after a pass from Alexis Mac Allister, who tends to add some go-forward when sent on for later stages of games.

And then there was the welcome sight of Tariq Lamptey back on the right for the first time in ten months.

For the first time ever in front of Albion fans in the Premier League.

He is nowhere near full power yet but every step now is one in the right direction.

Here, he pushed well forward and occupied Norwich by what he might do rather what he actually delivered.

Apart from the highlight moments, there were other occasions when Albion got into good areas but did not convert it into anything of note.

But then Norwich were also forgiving at times Sargent was a bundle of activity and energy and caused some problems.


He turned Lewis Dunk early on, for example, only for the skipper to get enough on the shot to deflect it narrowly wide.

Sargent and Pukki both got in behind at times but Albion had enough to quell the danger.

On the one exception to that, Pukki clipped his finish over Sanchez’s dive but into the side-netting.


But the big let-off was that from Sargent after the Albion keeper’s air shot.

Albion have lost away to at least one of the eventual bottom two in three of their four previous Prem seasons.

We can all recall miserable results at such venues as West Brom (twice), Sheffield United and Fulham in recent years. And Norwich may well fill one of those two bottom-of-the-table spots this term.

So it could have been worse.

Duffy knew that full well as he hugged Burn.

Still, it was hard to get away from a feeling that, on this occasion, Albion fulfilled the minimum requirements in terms of performance and result. No more than that.

Norwich: Krul; Aarons, Kabak, Hanley, Gibson, Giannoulis; Lees-Melou, Normann (Rupp 83), McLean; Sargent (Rashica 76), Pukki (Idah 90). Subs Not Used: Gilmour, Dowell, Tzolis, Williams, Gunn, Omobamidele.

Booked: Kabak, Giannoulis, Pukki.

Albion: Sanchez; Duffy, Dunk, Burn; Veltman (Lamptey 59), Gross, Lallana, Moder (Mac Allister 84), Cucurella (March 66); Trossard; Maupay. Subs Not Used: Connolly, Bissouma, Mwepu, Steele, Locadia, Roberts.

Booked: Veltman, Lallana, Cucurella, Duffy, Burn.

Ref: Peter Banks.