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MATCH REPORT

PUBLISHED
18:46 29th October 2011

HOLT MAKES ROVERS PAY PENALTY

CLUB Captain Grant Holt rammed home an injury time penalty to salvage a point for Paul Lambert's battling Canaries against Blackburn Rovers.

City were trailing 3-1 to Rovers with eight minutes to go but treated the 26,440 crowd at Carrow Road to a last-gasp comeback which rekindled memories of their Championship promotion-winning late, late shows.

Although City more than matched their visitors in the first half, they were stunned when Junior Hoilett fired home a spectacular goal in first-half injury time to give Steve Kean's side the lead.

Steve Morison replied for City with a sumptious half-volley after the break but further goals from Yakubu and skipper Christopher Samba appeared to have put Rovers firmly in the driving seat.

But Bradley Johnson reduced the arrears in the 82nd minute with a long-range effort which took a wicked deflection on its way past Paul Robinson - and then referee Anthony Taylor awarded City a penalty deep into injury time when Nzonzi handled in the box.

Up stepped second-half substitute Grant Holt to fire a well-struck spot kick just inside the post to grab his second goal in consecutive Barclay Premier League games and give City a share of the spoils.

After the game, City boss Paul Lambert told Canaries Player: "When you look at it it's a mammoth point after what had happened.

"I don't think we deserved to go down 1-0 at half time, I thought we were playing very well but went down deep into stoppage time. But that's what happens at this level, but we've got ourselves right back into the game with a wonder goal from Steve Morison, but then go and lose two really bad goals from our point of view.

"But there's one thing about this team and that is that they've got an incredible desire to try and achieve a result. I think we got our just rewards for the lads desire not to get beat."

Lambert had earlier named an unchanged starting City line-up for the sixth consecutive game as the Canaries prepared to face a Blackburn side which started play at the foot of the Premier League table.

The visitors made a bright start, with Formica firing a speculative effort over the bar after only two minutes and Yakubu's overhead kick in the six-yard box striking Kyle Naughton in the face before being cleared away.

There was a lengthy stoppage inside the first ten minutes when Rovers Gael Givet collided with Morten Gamst Pedersen, both players requiring treatment for cuts.

In the 16th minute some slick build-up play from City ended with Anthony Pilkington's effort being deflected behind and a minute later only a fine one-handed save from Robinson stopped David Fox's shot from flying inside the upright.

City winger Elliott Bennett was booked for a foul on Yakubu while in the 29th minute Johnson hit a good long-range effort which curled narrowly high and wide. Bennett then had a great chance on 36 minutes as Pilkington's low ball right across the box saw him running in to meet it, but his effort from an angle flew into the side-netting.

Five minutes before the break the Rovers fans thought they had scored courtesy of a freak goal, as John Ruddy caught Pedersen's free-kick and then stepped back on to his goal-line, but the referee's assistant was well-placed and waved away the appeals.

But as several minutes of first-half injury time were played due to the earlier stoppage, Rovers did take the lead when the lively Hoilett was given too much time to cut across the edge of the area before blasting a superb goal into the top corner to make it 1-0.

Half-time:
Norwich City 0, Blackburn Rovers 1

The Canary fans did not have to wait long for their side to get back into the match however, as in the 53rd minute Barnett's nod down was met by Morison, who chested the ball and volleyed home a great equaliser.

Celebrations did not last too long however as the giant striker Yakubu lashed in a low shot which seemed to deceive Ruddy in its flight as it flew past low to his left.

Worse was to come in the 64th minute as a deep free-kick towards City's far post saw Samba arrive unchallenged to find the net with a diving header.

In the 68th minute Grant Holt entered the fray to replace Elliott Bennett as City looked for some way to try and claw their way back into the game.

Naughton drilled a shot over the bar in the 71st minute as the Canaries pushed forwards and then with quarter of an hour to go, Lambert made his final throw of the dice in bringing on substitutes Andrew Crofts and Simeon Jackson to replace Fox and Pilkington.

City did get their lifeline in the 83rd minute, though it came in slightly fortuitous fashion as Johnson tried his luck from 25 yards out and his low effort took a wicked deflection off a Rovers defender before looping up and over the helpless Robinson.

The Carrow Road crowd now sensed another famous Canary comeback and they were not disappointed. In the second minute of injury time a deep free-kick into the box from Marc Tierney appeared to drop on to Steve Nzonzi's arm - and after a slight pause the referee pointed to the spot.

Up stepped who else but Grant Holt to hold his nerve and fire home a perfect penalty low and to Robinson's right to bag a very useful point for the Canary cause.

Final score:
Norwich City 3, Blackburn Rovers 3

Norwich City:
Ruddy, R.Martin, Johnson, Morison, Pilkington (Jackson 75), Hoolahan (c), Fox (Crofts 75), Bennett (Holt 68), Barnett, Tierney, Naughton. Subs not used: Rudd, Surman, Wilbraham, De Laet.
Blackburn Rovers
: Robinson, Olsson, Samba, Givet, Formica, Pedersen, Nzonzi, Rochina (Dunn 69), Hoilett (Petrovic 81), Yakubu (Goodwillie 69), Lowe. Subs not used: Bunn, Vukcevic, Roberts, Hanley.

Attendance: 26,440

Referee: Mr Anthony Taylor

    Data provided by Press Association

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