Canaries held to draw by Cardiff at Carrow RoadNORWICH City's domination against Cardiff City wasn't rewarded as they were held to a 0-0 draw in their Premier League meeting at Carrow Road.
Former Canaries goalkeeper David Marshall produced a string of outstanding saves throughout to deny a host of City players, including Leroy Fer from point-blank range in the final minute.
Chris Hughton's side managed 25 shots in the match but just couldn't find the net and we left frustrated despite walking away with a point.
Cardiff had their moments, and went closest in the first half when Jordan Mutch was denied by a superb John Ruddy stop.
Hughton had kept faith with the same starting eleven that lost 4-1 at Arsenal last weekend, with Gary Hooper making his first Premier League start at Carrow Road.
Ricky van Wolfswinkel was named among the substitutes as he continues recovery from a toe injury, while Johan Elmander also returned to the squad. Carlo Nash deputised for the injured Mark Bunn on the bench.
Former Canary favourite Malky Mackay made a single change to his Cardiff City team, with Fraizer Campbell returning to the team at the expense of Don Cowie.
Martin Olsson almost put the Canaries into the lead in sensational fashion on seven minutes when he fired Robert Snodgrass’ short corner first-time towards goal from 25 yards, but it whistled past Marshall’s post.
Steven Caulker, Cardiff’s captain, wasted a good opportunity on 14 when he met Peter Whittingham’s corner but didn’t connect well with his header despite being in considerable space.
A slick City move on 22 minutes saw Snodgrass fire a half-volley wide, before Ruddy kept City from going behind, somehow turning Mutch’s effort over his bar after a speedy run from Fraizer Campbell.
Jonny Howson and Leroy Fer then went close as the game’s first goal appeared to be edging ever near, with Kim Bo-Kyung testing Ruddy up the other end with a low shot.
Former City goalkeeper Marshall was managing to keep everything out, even when his own player Mutch deflected a cross onto the post – a move that eventually ended with the Scottish stopper gratefully clutching the ball to his chest.
HALF-TIME: Norwich City 0-0 Cardiff City
City will have gone in at half-time both pleased with their attacking potency but disappointed not to be leading – Cardiff themselves made a double change at the break, with Don Cowie and Aron Gunnarsson replacing Peter Odemwingie and Kim Bo-Kyung.
City had a handball shout from Caulker turned down before Hooper flicked Snodgrass’ corner wide with his head on 57 minutes and Anthony Pilkington stretched to meet Hooper’s square ball on 65 but nudged it wide.
Snodgrass then won a free-kick after being tripped by Mutch, with City having an opportunity to test Marshall, but the set-piece plan didn’t come – Hughton responded by bringing on Nathan Redmond and Johan Elmander.
Redmond’s dipping volley on 76 almost caught Marshall out, before the exciting young winger forced the goalkeeper to beat away a shot at his near post moments later.
City’s tempo wasn’t quick enough as the game entered its final ten minutes, and Norwich’s manager recognised that by replacing the exhausted Howson with van Wolfswinkel.
It was van Wolfswinkel's Dutch international team-mate Fer who had the final chance in stoppage time, his header forcing yet another pinpoint save from Marshall.
There was still time for some controversy as Fer passed the ball into the Cardiff net when ostensibly playing it back to Marshall, but the referee ruled the 'goal' out.
FULL-TIME: Norwich City 0-0 Cardiff City
NORWICH CITY (4-3-3): Ruddy; Martin, Turner, Bassong (c), Olsson; Tettey, Fer, Howson (van Wolfswinkel 87); Pilkington (Redmond 72), Snodgrass, Hooper (Elmander 72). Subs not used: Nash (GK), Whittaker, Johnson, R Bennett.
CARDIFF CITY (4-2-3-1): Marshall; Theophile-Catherine, Caulker (c), Turner, Taylor; Medel (Bellamy 72), Kim Bo-Kyung (Gunnarsson 45); Odemwingie (Cowie 45), Mutch, Whittingham; Campbell. Subs not used: Lewis (GK), Hudson, Mason, Maynard.