Norwich City 0, Southampton 0
PUBLISHED: 17:05 09 March 2013 | UPDATED: 13:23 11 March 2013
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Skipper Grant Holt had a stoppage-time penalty saved as Norwich City had to settle for another Premier League goalless draw at Carrow Road.
Southampton keeper Artur Boric dived to his right to keep out Holt’s spot-kick after referee Mark Clattenburg controversially decided the Canaries’ captain had been shoved over by Luke Shaw.
It was a wasted opportunity for an additional two points for Chris Hughton’s men but in truth it would have been a victory they barely deserved with the visitors keeping them on the back foot for much of a snowy afternoon.
City keeper Mark Bunn was the busier of the two until that late, late drama, called into action four times, while Saints skipper Adam Lallana missed a golden chance early in the second half when he fired over an empty net.
Boruc had kept out a Robert Snodgrass free-kick in the first half, and Snodgrass was denied in the second period by Maya Yoshida’s timely challenge, while the Canaries also lost winger Anthony Pilkington 10 minutes before the break with injury.
The penalty was City’s first in the Premier League all season - and the first since Holt scored from the spot in the 2-1 home win over Wolves 12 months ago, when Clattenburg was also referee and sent Holt off for two yellow cards.
City showed one change from the team that started the 4-0 defeat at Manchester United with on-loan striker Kei Kamara given his first start at the expense of Wes Hoolahan, who stepped down to the bench.
Southampton made three changes after the 2-1 home defeat by Queens Park Rangers, with recalls for Jos Hooiveld, Luke Shaw and Jay Rodriguez.
Nathaniel Clyne and Jason Puncheon dropped to the bench, while Danny Fox was ruled out by injury, but skipper Adam Lallana recovered from the neck injury he suffered at Loftus Road to keep his place.
Nearly 24 hours of rain before kick-off made for miserable conditions, with snow mixing in with the downpour as the teams took the field.
Kamara made his first contribution after four minutes when he harried the ball away from Fonte as he chased Bassong’s lob forward, but when it was played to Pilkington, the cross was a poor one.
Lambert left the field briefly for attention to his mouth and when he returned, Yoshida fired in the first Southampton shot, but way over the top.
City skipper Holt was shown the yellow card after 16 minutes for a foul on Schneiderlin, though it may have been his efforts to get the Saints midfielder back on his feet to which referee Clattenburg took exception.
Bunn saved from Lallana after good work from Rodriguez and the Saints produced their best effort yet after 18 minutes when Bunn tipped over a more powerful effort from the skipper from 20 yards out.
Snodgrass spoiled a promising break by giving the ball away, a feature of the opening 20 minutes for City.
The Saints were having the better of things and Fonte’s ball into the area almost set up Lallana before Lambert let fly with a wild effort into the crowd.
Bassong blocked a shot by Ramirez before Norwich finally gave Boruc something to do as he claimed Russell Martin’s cross under pressure from Kamara.
There was a clear chance when Bunn made a fine save from Ramirez to deny the Saints the lead after 28 minutes when he was put through one-on-one, and Garrido tidied up by nodding the ball back to the keeper.
Just a minute later, it was Boruc’s turn to keep his side on terms when he managed to claw away Snodgrass free-kick from 25 yards after initially looking wrong-footed. Then Lambert had to be alert to head clear from Garrido’s free-kick as Turner attempted to connect.
Bunn was in action again as Shaw made progress down the left before sttriking a powerful effort that the keeper had to parry.
There was a blow for City on 35 minutes when Pilkington, struggling from an earlier tumble, was forced off with what looked like hamstring trouble.
Substitute Hoolahan’s first task was to clear for a corner as Ramirez headed goalwards.
Hoolahan’s determination then won a corner on the left, but the kick from Snodgrass was headed away by Rodriguez.
There was an escape for Southampton one minute before the break when City counter-attacked and a Snodgrass cross whistled across the six-yard box just out of reach of Holt, who may have been the victim of a tug of the shirt as he slid in, but penalty claims were ignored.
City won a free-kick by the right corner flag when Lallana handled a cross and referee Clattenburg booked him.
The kick was squandered, though, when Snodgrass rolled it back to Howson and his shot was blocked.
Another free-kick from Snodgrass in first-half stoppage time proved fruitless when Turner was flagged offside.
• Half-time: Norwich City 0, Southampton 0
Five minutes after the break, Lallana missed a golden chance to give his side the lead. Rodriguez produced some great footwork before crossing into the six-yard box, where Garrido’s weak clearance went straight to Lallana 12 yards out, but he skied his shot over an empty net.
At the other end, the determined Kamara and Hoolahan combined to set up Holt, who failed to make contact with the cross but the flag was already up.
Snodgrass needed attention after a solid challenge on Shaw at the expense of a corner left him nursing his left ankle, but he was soon able to resume.
It was end-to-end and Kamara was just unable to connect with Holt’s powerful cross before Schneiderlin denied Holt with a timely challenge as he looked to get on the end of a Snodgrass centre.
City were carved open again as Bunn had to parry a powerful shot from Ramirez, Lambert blazing over the top from the rebound.
Boruc claimed a cross from Hoolahan as Kamara moved in, but City were spending more time defending than they would have liked.
A foul by Snodgrass on Shaw gave the Saints a free-kick on the left-hand corner of the penalty area, but Lambert’s shot struck Howson in the wall and went out for a corner.
With 20 minutes left, the Saints made their first change with Do Prado replacing Ramirez.
With 75 minutes gone, City at last carved a gap in the middle of the defence when Hoolahan put Snodgrass through against Boruc, but as he tried to take the ball round the keeper, Yoshida’s challenge stopped him applying the finishing touch.
There was a double change when Do Prado replaced Lallana, and Hughton sent on Becchio for Kamara with 11 minutes left.
Lambert headed wide from a free-kick and then Johnson was booked for a trip on Rodriguez.
Holt turned back a cross from Snodgrass as City pressed with three minutes left but Boruc was out to claim it, and then Fonte was shown the yellow card for a foul on Holt.
As the Saints broke, Bunn saved from Rodriguez but his effort lacked power.
Puncheon replaced Rodriguez just before the announcement of three additional minutes.
The real drama of the afternoon came in stoppage time when City were awarded a penalty - but Holt’s spot-kick was saved.
Referee Clattenburg decided Holt had been pushed to the ground by Shaw and pointed to the spot amid almighty protests.
When the official had consulted his assistant and confirmed the decision, booking Puncheon for protesting, Holt stepped up and struck the ball hard but keeper Boruc dived to his right to make a fine save.
• Norwich City: Bunn; Russell Martin, Turner, Bassong, Garrido; Snodgrass, Howson, Johnson, Pilkington (Hoolahan, 35); Kamara (Becchio, 79), Holt. Subs (not used): Camp, Whittaker, Ryan Bennett, Fox, Elliott Bennett.
• Southampton: Boruc; Yoshida, Fonte, Hooiveld, Shaw; Cork, Schneiderlin, Lallana (Ward-Prowse, 79), Ramirez (Do Prado, 70), Rodriguez (Puncheon, 90); Lambert. Subs: Davis, Clyne, Forren, Chaplow.
• Referee: Mark Clattenburg (Durham)
• Attendance: 26,783
• Bookings: City: Holt (16), Johnson (81). Saints: Lallana (44), Fonte (88), Puncheon (90)