A season distanced from a dominating conquest of the Championship, Norwich City returned to their old hunting grounds this season after being sternly denied another season in the Premier League. The season was full of disappointments, but a silver lining allowed the Canaries to hold on to most of their key players in their return – along with them Teemu Pukki, who scored 11 goals in the Prem and 29 the last time they were down a tier.
Pukki had suffered from a dry spell in competitive football for some 8 months before Norwich faced Preston at home on Saturday, in their second game of the Championship season 2020/2021. Even with the corona-induced forced break, the goalless streak reached 16 games and a tad more than 1000 minutes of football. But the spell was broken in a timely fashion, 30 minutes into the fixture against Preston.
The visitors had taken the early lead by Scott Sinclair’s penalty, conceded by Oliver Skipp pushing a Preston forward from the back on the build-up for a corner kick, on the 14th minute and looked comfortable on top. Norwich threatened the goal from the set-pieces already earlier but it was Pukki who nodded in a cross from a new arrival from Villarreal, Xavier Quintilla to tie it up 1-1. Pukki looked dangerous throughout the game and former Norwich keeper Declan Rudd had to work for his money in order to stop the Finn.
The visitors struck again before the half as Darnell Fisher arrived in the right place at a right time and finished the rebound left in the box by Norwich defense to take his team back up 1-2, only three minutes before the half. Norwich didn’t go down easy, though. The home team took control in the second half, but failed to create clear cut chances as Preston defended admirably. It was another Eurostar to deliver Norwich from their agony, as the Polish midfielder Przemyslaw Placheta blasted the ball in the net on the 85th minute, after missing a sitter earlier in the game. Both teams seemed relatively happy with the result and shared the points with a 2-2 draw.