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Saturday, October 29, 2011
Norwich City produced one of their famous comebacks to earn an unlikely point with a 3-3 draw against struggling Blackburn Rovers at Carrow Road.
The Canaries found themselves 3-1 down with just eight minutes left when Bradley Johnson’s long-range effort looped up off Jason Lowe and over a rooted Paul Robinson.
Then remarkably, in the fourth of five added minutes and with City getting increasing desperate, impressive Rovers midfielder Steve Nzonzi inexplicably handled under heavy pressure from Grant Holt and Steve Morison in the area.
Referee Anthony Taylor pointed to the spot, and Holt stepped up to bury the ball into the side of Robinson’s net and earn City a draw from the brink of defeat.
In truth, City had got out of jail with Rovers never being behind during an excellent clash.
A frenetic start saw both sides have their chances. Rovers striker Mauro Formica hit a dipping effort narrowly over inside two minutes and City winger Elliott Bennett side-footed wide with the goal at his mercy – representing the best of the opportunities.
But while the home side had the better of the possession and sights of goal, it was the top flight’s basement boys who took the lead through a wonderful effort from Junior Hoilett in the third and final minute of first-half injury time.
The winger cut inside and despite being shepherded along the edge of the box by Kyle Naughton, the Canadian managed to let fly with a sizzling right-footer that gave John Ruddy little chance.
The second half started more sedately – but exploded into life with a fantastic equaliser from Steve Morison on 53 minutes.
Wes Hoolahan’s ball in was headed back by a combination of Leon Barnett and Gael Givet, and with the ball arriving at Morison on the edge of the area he took one touch to control and his second to ping a wonderful volley off the underside of the crossbar to send City level.
From there City – with one Premier League defeat in five – were supposed to kick on, but it was Rovers who took command with a devastating two-minute spell just after the hour.
Formica wriggled into some space and played a lovely ball into Yakubu, whose low drive was well hit but disappointingly beat Ruddy at his near post.
Then it was the turn of giant centre-back Christopher Samba, who stole in unmarked at the far post and efficiently dispatched Morten Gamst Pedersen’s swirling free-kick.
That looked to be more than enough for Rovers – until City’s trademark late heroics.
• Norwich: (4-2-3-1) Ruddy; Naughton, Barnett, Russell Martin, Tierney; Fox (Crofts 75), Johnson; Bennett (Holt 68), Hoolahan, Pilkington (Jackson 75); Morison. Subs (not used): Rudd, Surman, Wilbraham, De Laet.
Goals: Morison 53, Johnson 82, Holt pen 90+3; Bookings: Bennett, Barnett
• Blackburn: (4-4-1-1) Robinson; Lowe, Samba, Givet, Olsson; Rochina (Dunn 70), Nzonzi, Pedersen, Hoilett (Petrovic 82); Formica; Yakubu (Goodwillie 70). Subs (not used): Bunn, Vukcevic, Roberts, Hanley.
Goals: Hoilett 45+3, Yakubu 62, Samba 64; Booking: Lowe
• Referee: Anthony Taylor (Greater Manchester)
• Attendance: 26,440