Norwich City 0, Cardiff City 0
PUBLISHED: 17:02 26 October 2013 | UPDATED: 18:01 26 October 2013
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Norwich City endured fresh frustration in front of their own fans in a goalless Premier League draw against Cardiff City at Carrow Road.
The Canaries failed miserably to match the vibrancy of their first half showing, where former Norwich old boy David Marshall had denied the hosts on numerous occasions – albeit John Ruddy was also pressed into service to foil Jordon Mutch and Kim Bo-Kyung. Malky Mackay made two changes at the interval to bolster his midfield and Chris Hughton’s side were unable to find the same attacking rhythm despite the late arrivals of Nathan Redmond, Johan Elmander and fit-again Ricky van Wolfswinkel.
The game ended on a controversial note when Leroy Fer rolled the ball into an empty net after Cardiff had put the ball out of play with Alex Tettey grounded following a heavy challenge from Fraizer Campbell. Referee Jones ordered the throw to be re-taken once order had been restored following an angry reaction from the Bluebirds’ players.
Hughton named an unchanged starting line up from last weekend’s Premier League defeat at Arsenal. van Wolfswinkel was passed fit after missing the trip to the Emirates with a foot injury to join Swedish international Elmander on the substitutes’ bench. Redmond was also kept in reserve, but there was no place in the matchday squad for Wes Hoolahan. Cardiff chief Mackay resisted any temptation to start with ex-City trainee Craig Bellamy - the Welsh striker included on the substitutes’ roster for the visitors. Hughton’s men settled into their standard formation from recent times with the onus on Fer and Jonny Howson to support Gary Hooper from central areas. Cardiff paired Mutch alongside Gary Medel in front of the visiting defence for extra protection with Peter Odemwingie tasked with supporting Campbell.
Martin Olsson’s thunderous first time hit from Robert Snodgrass’ corner momentarily threatened to test Marshall – Cardiff’s keeper earning a predictably sour reception from the home fans on his Carrow Road return following a hasty exit in the wake of the club’s relegation to League One in 2009. Alex Tettey ranged forward before linking with Howson who fed Olsson, but Fer’s attempt to switch the play resulted in a corner the Bluebirds scrambled clear.
Hooper was almost sprung by Fer shortly afterwards only for Ben Turner to recover his ground after an initial slip from the former Coventry centre-back. The Dutch international then upended Bo-Kyung but Howson’s defensive instincts cleared at his near post from Peter Whittingham’s delivery. Ruddy’s spill allowed the visitors to test Norwich again with Steven Caulker rising unchallenged but unable to direct Whittingham’s corner on target from eight yards. Hooper’s clever movement almost fashioned a chance at the opposite end when he veered away to allow Anthony Pilkington to drop a diagonal ball in his direction that just skipped away on the lush turf.
Snodgrass lashed wide from a tight angle in the 21st minute after the energetic Olsson had latched onto Fer’s slip pass to produce a centre Marshall could only parry towards his Scottish compatriot.
Ruddy kept his side level in the 25th minute when he denied the highly-rated Mutch from barely six yards after the unmarked midfielder was picked out by Campbell following Odemwingie’s smart turn on half-way to lose Olsson. Bluebirds’ captain Caulker then tracked Hooper’s run to deflect behind another teasing ball from the all-action Fer. Marshall went full length to foil Howson before Whittingham bailed out his keeper stationed on the Cardiff goalline when Fer’s acrobatic goalbound far-post volley flew past the visiting stopper. Hooper’s instinctive half-volley from fully 30 yards forced Marshall to stick out a right-hand to parry before Ruddy made an equally impressive stop to foil Bo-Kyung on a swift counter with a vital double-handed save low to his left.
The over-worked Marshall shovelled Howson’s speculative effort behind with Norwich surging forward before the unmarked Russell Martin miscued a glancing header over the top eight yards out from Snodgrass’ lift. Marshall then earned a slice of good fortune in the midst of Norwich’s barrage when he diverted Howson’s initial glance against his left-hand post that had appeared to brush Mutch before gratefully gathering the rebound through a mass of bodies.
Mackay responded to his side’s late pummelling with a double change at the interval. Aaron Gunnarsson and Don Cowie added more ballast to the visitors’ midfielder with Bo-Kyung and Odemwingie making way. Cardiff looked far more willing to engage the hosts as a collective unit in the early stages of the second period before the game sparked into life again referee Jones waved away home penalty appeals led by Hughton when Hooper swivelled but hammered a strike that reared up from Caulker’s leg to strike his left arm. Hooper’s glancing near post flick then landed fractions beyond Marshall’s far post with the ex-Celtic man prominent in the pivotal moments around the hour mark. Norwich’s home support attempted to rouse the hosts as van Wolfswinkel emerged for a warm up. Whittingham struck a sturdy Norwich wall 25 yards out after Tettey had been adjudged to upend Mutch. Marshall’s faintest touch agonisingly denied Pilkington a simple point blank tap in in the 65th minute after Hooper’s persistence produced a driven low cross.
Medel tested Ruddy from 30 yards after a prolonged spell of midfield stalemate with Hughton and his coaching staff locked in deep discussion over who to introduce to tilt the contest in the Canaries’ favour. Elmander and Redmond were eventually introduced for Hooper and Pilkington and the duo combined instantly with Redmond stinging the palms of Marshall from a tight angle before Fer’s mis-timed header from the corner dropped wide. The wily Swede then won a corner by harassing Turner into a mistake, from which Redmond’s half-volley flew narrowly over after Elmander had provided fresh nuisance value at the near post. The menacing Redmond then dipped inside Olsson to unleash another stinging hit Marshall could only push behind. Martin and Tettey nudged Norwich down their right flank, but Elmander’s glancing header under pressure from Turner had more than a hint of desperation with both sides searching for a decisive late breakthrough. Hughton made his final change in the 87th minute with club record signing van Wolfswinkel replacing Howson. Snodgrass was cleaned out by Turner but the Scot’s driven free kick was cleared with few real alarms as the home fans voiced their frustrations. Fer re-cycled the ball for Tettey to roam forward but the Norwegian’s wayward strike typified Norwich’s laboured efforts after the interval. Ruddy gathered confidently from Kevin Theophile-Catherine to trigger a swift counter which saw Fer’s powerful header fly straight at Marshall before Martin sliced the rebound wide.
Elmander then hooked high into the terracing deep in stoppage time before a controversial finale when Fer opted to roll a throw-in past Marshall into the empty net after Cardiff had put the ball out of play with Tettey grounded following a collision with Campbell. Bluebirds’ players reacted angrily but when order was restored referee Jones instructed Norwich to re-take the initial throw-in.
• Norwich: Ruddy, Martin, Bassong, Turner, Olsson, Howson (van Wolfswinkel 87), Tettey, Fer, Pilkington (Redmond 72), Snodgrass, Hooper (Elmander 72). Subs (not used): Nash, Whittaker, Johnson, R Bennett.
• Booking: Tettey (foul on Campbell, 59)
• Cardiff City: Marshall, Taylor, Caulker, Turner, Whittingham, Medel (Bellamy 73), Campbell, Odemwingie (Cowie 45), Bo-Kyung (Gunnarsson 45), Mutch, Theophile-Catherine. Subs (not used): Lewis, Hudson, Mason, Maynard.
• Booking: Odemwingie (foul on Olsson, 23)
• Added on time: 1 minute / 4 minutes
• Referee: Mike Jones (Chester)
• Attendance: 26,846