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Norwich Focus - Painful FA Cup defeat adds to the January misery

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By Simon Wright

Monday 28 January 2013

When people mention greatest FA Cup upsets in history, there will be talk of Hereford United’s famous win over Newcastle in 1973, Arsenal’s embarrassing loss at Wrexham in 1992, and Sutton United defeating Coventry City in 1989.

Luton players celebrate at Carrow Road

Not since that famous day at Sutton had a non-league side taken the scalp of a member of the top flight, until Saturday. But Norwich City’s crop of 2013 will be added onto the list of greatest scalps, and this defeat will be a painful one to take for the fans.

Not only was it at home at Carrow Road - a ground that only Liverpool, Chelsea and Manchester City had triumphed on this season - but it was to local rivals Luton Town.

The Blue Square Bet Premier side are normally under pressure in their division. They are a big team to play against for the likes of Southport, Barrow and Nuneaton Town, but they relished the underdog tag on Saturday.

They deservedly won the game 1-0. Striker Scott Rendell came off the bench to score the decisive goal with 10 minutes to go. It was a major surprise, and an embarrassing performance from a bunch of mid-table Premier League players.

The Norwich City response on Twitter on Saturday evening was full of anger and humiliation, many fans tweeting their anger at the lack of depth in the squad, with some players receiving criticism for their lack of passion in their performance, including Andrew Surman, and on-loan Spurs striker Harry Kane.

Manager Chris Hughton made many changes, leaving the likes of Wes Hoolahan, Michael Turner, Grant Holt and Anthony Pilkington on the bench - in favour of Kane, Simeon Jackson, Danny Fox and Leon Barnett.

The players did not put in the passion and the commitment that was expected, and that would have been bitterly disappointing for the manager. Luton had a great gameplan and worked it to perfection, but at times it was they who looked like the Premier League side.

Hughton should take some criticism too. Although form is dreadful, the club are still in no immediate danger of being dragged into a relegation fight. This was the chance to have a decent cup run, so why were so many changes made? It is sad to see some managers take absolutely no regard for the FA Cup. Ultimately Norwich got what they deserved.

With just one win in seven games in all competitions, and a clear lack of activity in the transfer window, these are very tough times to be a Canaries supporter. It does not get any easier on Wednesday, with high-flying Tottenham Hotspur visiting.

Although Norwich did knock Andre Villas-Boas’ side out of the Capital One Cup on Halloween evening in 2012, their league record at home to the north Londoners is absolutely shocking. Tottenham have won on each of their last four Premier League visits to East Anglia, only conceding one goal in the process.

That 10 match unbeaten run between late October and pre-Christmas must feel like a distant memory to everyone connected with Norwich City.

See what the expert tipsters at OLBG are tipping on Norwich v Tottenham

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