Dream start for Lambert

You are allowed to confer, although even Tom 'Straight A's' Adeyemi would struggle to find an answer to that, such is the mad, mad, mad, mad world of Norwich City Football Club.

You are allowed to confer, although even Tom 'Straight A's' Adeyemi would struggle to find an answer to that, such is the mad, mad, mad, mad world of Norwich City Football Club.

Two home games, two managers, 21 different players and 15 goals.

And two very, very different results.

Paul Lambert engineered the first as manager of Colchester and, in a Victor Kiam “I liked it so much I bought the company” moment, City acquired him as their second boss of the season.

He was introduced to the crowd before kick-off on Saturday, but within seconds of giving a brief wave was back in the technical area, waiting for the whistle.

His eagerness was matched by everyone else in the ground, although by now some people can be forgiven for getting a little blase about the sight of a new face in the dug-out. The effect of the so-called “new manager syndrome” tends to wear a bit thin when you have such a high turnover.

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Lambert's first job was to apply a few sticking plasters to the wounds which he himself inflicted a fortnight earlier when, as Colchester manager, he came away from Carrow Road with a 7-1 win in his back pocket.

Norwich, he emphasised this week, was a club that had been hurt. Near fatally wounded, some would say.

In keeping with the theme, Lambert hurt a few more Norwich players on Saturday, this time by pulling the comfortable rug from under their feet and putting their backsides on a seat in the stands. Skipper Gary Doherty, Cody McDonald and Wes Hoolahan were all dropped to the bench, midfielders Owain Tudur Jones, Matt Gill - albeit carrying an injury - and Simon Whaley didn't even get that far.

In came Jon Otsemobor at right- back, with Michael Spillane shifting across to centre-half, Jamie Cureton up front, Simon Lappin on the left, Stephen Hughes and Korey Smith in the middle and Paul McVeigh on the right. The bench also included Luke Daley and teenage keeper Declan Rudd, which left Michael Theoklitos - of 7-1 infamy - up in the stands as well.

That City won in such emphatic style suggests one of three scenarios:

� Lambert can pick out a team after just 40 minutes' working with them

� He was lucky

� He is a genius.

Or a bit of all three.

It's too early to declare him a genius - we've had our fingers burned on that one before - but word is that he will get the best out of a player. Half of it is in the mind, apparently - which makes his team selection all the more interesting. To say he's already got a few on their toes would be an understatement - another word says he won't suffer any slackers and that the life under Lambert will be a lot tougher than it was under his predecessor.

Dropping Hoolahan was interesting, bearing in mind the speculation linking him with a move to Swansea, and while the playmaker watched from the bench for 70-odd minutes, there were plenty of volunteers willing to take on the responsibility he has so often been left to shoulder alone. Instead of one avenue of creativity there were three or four.

With Stephen Hughes showing some smooth touches in midfield alongside the battling Korey Smith, the two wide men took centre stage, as it were. McVeigh, starting his first City match since January 13, 2007, revelled in the adulation of a loving crowd and until he understandably tired towards the latter stages showed more than a few glimpses of his old self.

On the other flank Simon Lappin was the perfect complement: the Scot has a sweet left foot and put it to good use, although he lost his personal battle with Wycombe keeper Scott Shearer, who twice denied him from free-kicks and then stretched every sinew to keep out a sweet lob in the second half.

It was Lappin who set up the opener, although referee Jon Moss played a part by trying to allow an advantage and then calling play back for a free-kick. Lappin put the ball into the box and Grant Holt stabbed home.

McVeigh got in on the act on 25 minutes when his corner was half cleared by Chris Westwood and Smith fired it back through a crowd of players for his first City goal on his full home debut. Smith finished last season on something of a high amongst a bunch of lows and then missed all of the senior pre-season because of injury, joining the under-18s on a tour to Holland. The smile on his face as he celebrated his goal said it all.

Ten minutes later it should have been all over, McVeigh's corner this time was lofted for Holt to nod back to Otsemobor, who headed in off the far post.

“We want seven!” sang the City fans. “We want one!” came the response from Wycombe followers.

But six minutes before half-time Jens Berthel Askou failed to deal with a ball into the area, it bounced over his head and Jon-Paul Pittman made short work of picking up the pieces.

If that prompted a few nerves, then 28 seconds into the second half came a “not again” moment, when Matt Harrold pulled another back. Yet again, it was a goal of City's making - even though Harrold's left-foot finish was excellent: Adam Drury was beaten in the air by Chris Zebroski, the ball headed towards the edge of the area and Spillane, instead of dealing with his, hesitated, maybe put off by Hughes' presence in the equation. Harrold needed no second invitation.

It really shouldn't have been that close: Wycombe were a poor old side, but City had noticeably wobbled between the two goals and a quick response was imperative. It took just two minutes and 47 seconds and, surprise, surprise, it was Lappin who provided it, referee Moss once again trying to allow play to continue before blowing up. One swing of the left foot and Askou made amends for his earlier error by running in to head home from 10 yards.

It took the wind out of Wycombe's sails and it started to get embarrassing. Lappin deserved to see his chipped effort go over Shearer, before Holt and McDonald strode through a heavy-legged defence after sub Tom Adeyemi's block had won City possession in their own half. Holt curled the ball home and while he would see Shearer twice deny him in the latter stages, it was just what he and City deserved.

Lambert had given the captain's armband to Holt - swayed, perhaps, by the obvious lack of leadership at Brentford last Tuesday - and the striker responded. Instead of playing every position he could get his boots into, he led from the front. Even Jamie Cureton, whose career appeared to be ebbing away from him, seemed rejuvenated - a first half lob deserved better.

It was the same throughout most departments, although Lambert will be aware that he needs to quickly get his back four working on the same wavelength.

Perhaps Lambert has played with a few minds already - although you can bet even he doesn't know what will happen next at the Crazy Carra'.