CHRIS Hughton believes his side stood a good chance of coming away from Sunderland with all three points on Sunday afternoon… until the game changed when City were reduced to ten men.
The Canaries had taken a merited lead when Wes Hoolahan nodded in Kei Kamara’s header from a corner, but they were forced to pull the reins in after goalkeeper Mark Bunn was sent-off and Craig Gardner had equalised from the penalty spot.
Although Hughton admits they had what he felt to be the best chance to win the match through Grant Holt in the second period, he’s sure victory would have been more likely if both teams would have stayed equal in numbers.
“I thought we started the game well, and probably the disappointing thing is that with eleven men on the park I felt it was an opportunity for us to win the game,” he said after the match.
“I think it’s normal at a club like Sunderland that when things are not going so well in the game, the crowd become a little bit edgy and I thought we could capitalise on that.
“Of course, with ten men it makes it more difficult, but we probably had the best chance of the game was when Grant was through at the end, but then his touch was a little bit heavy.
“You have to look at the other side though, and it was a real battling performance that all the players put on. I couldn’t have asked for any more.”
Despite admitting that City were on the wrong end of some decision-making by the officials, Hughton was keen to further emphasise the positives from such a determined display.
“I think we’ve been on the poor side of some decisions, but we have to dust ourselves down and recognise what was a really good performance,” he added.
“I can’t fault any of the players – to not only come away with a draw, but it’s a penalty that gives them a goal, otherwise we get a clean sheet.
“To put in the performance that we did, and to restrict them to just long shots and crosses, was great.”