Norwich 1-3 Blackburn: Sammie Szmodics’s brace and Thrhys Dolan’s goal lead Rovers to comfortable win at the Canaries

  • Sammie Szmodics scored twice in Blackburn’s 3-1 win over Norwich City
  • Thrhys Dolan got the first for Rovers, while Gabriel Sara got a consolation goal
  • Big debates on Man United, Chelsea and Arsenal on It’s All Kicking Off podcast 

The mood at a popular Norwich City fans’ drinking hole was subdued before their Blackburn clash today, and that wasn’t simply because it was 10 o’clock on a cold and overcast Sunday morning.

Some early morning pints to ‘numb the pain’, as one Norwich fan told Mail Sport, seemed to be the order of the day for those wearing yellow and green at the local Wetherspoon pub, The Queen of Iceni, a stone’s throw away from Carrow Road.

The Canaries went into the clash against Blackburn with just one win in their last eight league matches; nine if you include getting knocked out of the EFL Cup in the third round by Fulham in September. They hold the record for the most goals against in the Championship and haven’t won at home in over a month.

For a team that were one of the favourites for promotion last season – having been relegated from the Premier League just over a year ago and still enjoying the financial benefits of that spell – this was far from ideal for those in and around the club.

David Wagner, the German-American manager who came in to try and turn around the fortunes of the Norfolk outfit in January this year following the unpopular tenure of Dean Smith, finished the 2022-23 season with Norwich 13th in the table.

Sammie Szmodics scored twice for Blackburn Rovers as they beat Norwich City 3-1 away

And this season isn’t looking any better – the Canaries went into the match 17th, two spots behind their Lancashire opponents, and ended the day 18th. Blackburn meanwhile moved up to 10th.

The match against Rovers seemed to compound everything Norwich City fans have become fed up with: off the pace defensively, ponderous in attack and numerous individual errors.

While there were a couple of glimmers of hope through the attacking duo of Gabriel Sara and Jonathan Rowe, when Blackburn counter-attacked the home team’s defence was easier to slice through than a hot knife in butter.

Rovers’ first goal came in the 8th minute when 21-year-old Tyrhys Dolan picked up the ball and ran unopposed into the penalty area before passing it into the back of the net.

When Rovers’ second goal went in less than ten minutes later, ‘You’re getting sacked in the morning’ erupted from the Barclays stand and Wagner looked beaten on the sideline.

Norwich were 3-0 down when Blackburn defender Scott Wharton was shown a red card for a late tackle on last man Onel Hernandez but any lifting of spirits quickly dissipated when Norwich failed to capitalise on their one-man advantage.

As seats emptied and boos rung around the ground, all Wagner could do was put his head in his hands.

While this defeat may be the final hammer blow for his employment at the Norfolk club, there is a sense amongst the fans that change is needed more widely if they have any chances of reaching the lofty heights of the Premier League once again. 

Whether that will come when sporting director Stuart Webber is replaced by Ben Knapper at the end of the month remains to be seen, and they will hope to hang on to players like Gabriel Sara while they wait.