Chris Lakey Canaries boss Bryan Gunn pointed an accusing finger at referee Mark Haywood after arguably the biggest challenge of his short managerial career was blighted by controversy.

Chris Lakey

Canaries boss Bryan Gunn pointed an accusing finger at referee Mark Haywood after arguably the biggest challenge of his short managerial career was blighted by controversy.

The Canaries left St Andrew's frustrated not just at the scant reward for a fine performance but that the goal they conceded should have so many questions marks about it.

On any given Saturday, claimed Gunn, the challenge by big striker Cameron Jerome on keeper David Marshall as they went up for Hameur Bouazza's cross would have been deemed illegal. But when Jerome prodded home after Marshall failed to claim the ball cleanly, there was no whistle, only anger.

“99.9 times out of 100 that would have been a free kick,” said Gunn. “I thought he was poor.

“He told us before the game that he would try and get the major decisions right and I felt he got the one major decision wrong. David Marshall had blood coming out of his nose at half time so I believe that Cameron Jerome jumped into him. I'm not saying he elbowed him or anything like that, but he obviously jumped into him.

“Contact was made and I think you see those week in and week out and I bet you any money, if it had been at the other end of the pitch it would have been a free-kick.”

The controversy was the only black mark on a day when City - thanks to Sammy Clingan's second-half equaliser - continued their recent revival in fortunes, which has seen them lose once in the last five games.

“I'm disappointed on that but obviously proud of the way the lads fought back, the character they showed in the second half,” Gunn added.

“They kept believing in what we have been telling them right from the beginning when I took over and they stuck by it and they got their rewards with a great free kick.

“We possibly could have nicked it on a couple of other occasions as well. I'm delighted for the travelling fans that were here as well today. They certainly got behind the players and with that togetherness, the spirit that they see on the pitch, the spirit behind the scenes as well, we are really looking forward to the final six games now.

“There were probably 2,500 there, they certainly got behind the players and the players were commenting on that before the game that there was a great support there and let's make sure that we put on a performance. That inspiration from the supporters helped us.

“We have a tough job ahead. We have six games and it is going to be crucial that we approach each and every one of those six games with the same application and attitude that we had today.

“We are by no means out of it, we have some crucial games coming up and we need to make sure that we focus on each one, one by one.”

City have a two-week international break now - and will be given extra time off as a reward for recent efforts.

“There is a lot of hard work to be done, and the players will deserve some time off now,” said Gunn. “They have obviously worked very hard today and a few of them will be away with international teams next week so we promised them some time off on the back of two good results.

“It is good to see the reaction from the players and the staff as well. We have been through a tough period mentally and we have got to get ourselves recharged and refocused for the final six games.

“We have got confidence, we have got a good team spirit. We have managed to build the confidence back. There are good players in the squad, good individuals but more importantly when they play as a team they are a good team.

“We have seen in recent weeks their commitment to each other, their commitment to me as a manager, the commitment to the club. It is a great opportunity for players today to come to a top team like Birmingham and show everybody what a good team we are.”