Croft believes battling spirit is key

PUBLISHED: 10:52 25 August 2008 | UPDATED: 15:43 10 September 2010

Lee Croft congratulates fellow substitute Arturo Lupoli after the star pair combined to earn the Canaries a draw at Cardiff on Saturday. Picture: Paul Hollands/Focus Images

Lee Croft congratulates fellow substitute Arturo Lupoli after the star pair combined to earn the Canaries a draw at Cardiff on Saturday. Picture: Paul Hollands/Focus Images

David Cuffley

Winger Lee Croft hailed Norwich City's staying power after playing a key part in the recovery that brought their first away point of the season. Croft had a hand in both goals scored by Arturo Lupoli as the Canaries fought back to earn a 2-2 draw against Cardiff City at Ninian Park.

Winger Lee Croft hailed Norwich City's staying power after playing a key part in the recovery that brought their first away point of the season.

Croft, a half-time replacement for off-colour summer signing Wes Hoolahan, had a hand in both goals scored by fellow substitute Arturo Lupoli as the Canaries fought back to earn a 2-2 draw in the Championship match against Cardiff City at Ninian Park.

And he said the result was a perfect illustration of the need to keep going for 90-plus minutes.

“You always have to remain optimistic in games,” said Croft. “You never think that it's over until the final whistle and we know we've got players like Loops and creative players who can score and make goals. We haven't been doing that recently but luckily in the last 15 minutes it's come good today.”

Lupoli's first goal, after 76 minutes, came when he diverted a shot from Croft past 'keeper Tom Heaton, then the Italian scored again five minutes later with a diving header from the winger's cross.

“It was a great header. I just put the ball in the danger area and I think it was a bit behind him but Loops did brilliantly. He scores goals like that in training, brilliant goals, all week long and I'm glad he's off the mark and I'm sure there will be plenty more,” said Croft.

“We haven't been scoring goals and I think it could have been a point where we could have got our heads down but we haven't. Even today we've gone 2-0 down and people thought we were dead and buried but we've got great character and we've come back and got a great point in the end.”

The result will give City a timely lift as they prepare to face Championship leaders Birmingham, the only side with a 100 per cent record, at Carrow Road next Saturday

Manager Glenn Roeder said: “It was a very strong finish. If there was going to be another goal scored I would have fancied us to score it. But with 15 minutes to go and not being a greedy person today, we have to settle for a point.

“I didn't think we deserved to be 2-0 down on the balance of play but we were and we needed to do something about it - and thankfully Arturo Lupoli did something about it. The second goal especially pleased me. I think heading's become a lost art in the modern game. He angled that ball away really, really well.

“I think the boys need a pat on the back for the way they kept going. We kept chasing, we kept putting guys under pressure and one thing this year is that we are super fit. We're lasting the 90 minutes quite easily. We've changed the fitness regime at the club, we've got new fitness coaches in and that's paying off and allowing us to get through the whole 90 or 95 minutes very strongly.

“It's definitely a point gained. The dressing room was both happy and subdued because the standards they've set themselves, or we set them, are so high, they shouldn't be 2-0 down in the first place. So we're grateful to get the point but hugely disappointed that we've not taken all three, and we've certainly got to stop giving penalties away - that's three in three games.”

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