Norwich City 1, Blackpool 1

PUBLISHED: 15:49 16 August 2008 | UPDATED: 15:41 10 September 2010

Substitute Darel Russell opens City’s account for the season by heading the point-saver against Blackpool on Saturday. Picture: Paul Hewitt

Substitute Darel Russell opens City’s account for the season by heading the point-saver against Blackpool on Saturday. Picture: Paul Hewitt

Jonathan Redhead

Darel Russell broke Norwich City's goal scoring duck but it was not enough for all three points at Carrow Road. Russell headed home from two-yards out after 74 minutes to earn the Canaries their first point of the campaign, 19 minutes after Ben Burgess had put the visitors ahead from the penalty spot.

This blast from Jamie Cureton came back from the Blackpool bar – but he later missed a chance he would normally consider routine. Picture: Paul Hewitt

Darel Russell broke Norwich City's goal scoring duck but it was not enough for all three points at Carrow Road on Saturday.

Russell headed home from two-yards out after 74 minutes to earn the Canaries their first point of the campaign, 19 minutes after Ben Burgess had put the visitors ahead from the penalty spot.

But it was a case of more missed chances for the Canaries as Jamie Cureton, Arturo Lupoli and Wes Hoolahan missed some very presentable first half chances which should have put City well clear of their opponents.

City boss Glenn Roeder made five changes to the side that toppled out of the Carling Cup at MK Dons.

Substitute Darel Russell celebrates his second half equaliser – which could earn him a starting place in an unfamilar striking role at Cardiff. Picture: Paul Hewitt

In came John Kennedy, Dejan Stefanovic, Jamie Cureton, Ryan Bertrand and Matty Pattison at the expense of Lee Croft, Jon Otsemobor, Adam Drury, Darel Russell and Omar Koroma.

Like City, Blackpool were looking for their first goal and first point of the season and manager Simon Grayson opted for a five man midfield with Ben Burgess on his own up front.

Norwich were attacking the Barclay End in the first half with Pattison on the right of a four-man midfield with Hoolahan on the left against his old team.

It was the visitors who started on the front foot and a Stefanovic slip nearly let in Burgess but Kennedy covered to save the day.

In the third minute a cute pass from Hoolahan released Cureton and he cut in from the left, Darren Huckerby-style, but curled his right foot shot wide of the far post.

City looked confident and should have taken the lead in the fifth minute as Pattison ran free down the right after some slick passing. Although his shot was blocked, Cureton was on hand to crash a shot on to the bar from six yards. The rebound fell to Hoolahan but he lashed his volley wildly over the bar when he should have scored.

Pattison almost got free again when Elliot Omozusi lifted a fine pass over the Blackpool defence but he was beaten by the bounce and the visitors were able to clear.

It was a good start by City but on 11 minutes they faced their first real danger when Kennedy failed to clear but Gary Taylor-Fletcher headed straight into the hands of David Marshall from a dozen yards out from a Burgess cross.

City were given another scare a couple of minutes later when Adam Hammill cut in from the left but fired a couple of yards wide.

At the other end a great last-ditch tackle from Ian Evatt denied Cureton as he was about to tuck in Arturo Lupoli's low cross.

Mark Fotheringham's corner from the left was cleared but City won two more in the space of a minute and from the second Kennedy headed just wide.

The home side continued to press but their lack of a target man was amplified when Fotheringham's cross from the right was perfectly placed but drifted over the head of Cureton and out for a goal kick.

Blackpool's big target man Burgess was causing problems for the City back line and after 21 minutes he out-muscled Kennedy to set up Taylor-Fletcher but the wide man was crowded out by City defenders.

City were continuing to pass the ball well without looking likely to score as Blackpool grew in confidence.

Their left back, Mo Camara who was on loan at Carrow Road last season, even tried a free-kick from 35-yards out but it only trickled through to Marshall.

After 25 minutes Lupoli won a soft free-kick near to the right edge of the Blackpool box, but after a spot of wrestling from both sets of players in the area, the visitors cleared.

Fans in the Barclay End were urging City players to shoot every time they got near to the Blackpool box, but the Canaries were not creating much.

However, out of the blue, City created a couple of gilt-edged chances to take the lead on the half hour mark.

From Pattison's through ball, Cureton found himself with a clean run on goal but he stuttered in front of keeper Paul Rachubka and completely miskicked but the ball still fell to Lupoli and he somehow managed to miss an open goal from five yards out.

It was an appalling effort and an early contender for miss of the season, although he may have been flagged offside anyway.

After their lucky escape Blackpool pressed again and on 35 minutes Taylor-Fletcher caused more problems in the City box but Marshall was on hand to collect his knockdown ahead of Claus Jorgensen.

Lupoli did not seem to be too affected by his miss and nearly went clean through but Evatt cleared again.

Next it was Cureton's turn to test the Blackpool back line on 36 minutes but another last-ditch challenge, this time from Rob Edwards, saved the Seasiders.

Fotheringham's corner was cleared but it was enough to start chants of Huckerby's name from the Barclay End 38 minutes into the game.

On 42 minutes Pattison, who was having a good game down the right, latched on to Cureton's pass but fired his left-foot half volley way over the bar.

Just before the half-time whistle, City fashioned one more good chance when Cureton's low cross reached the foot of Lupoli 12 yards out but he could only hook his left foot shot into the arms of Rachubka before the referee blew to signal the end of another goalless 45 minutes for City.

t Half-time: Norwich City 0, Blackpool 0

Neither side made a change at the break as City kicked off towards the Norwich and Peterborough Stand.

The visitors were on the front foot but it was Hammill who received the game's first booking in the 48th minute when he pulled back Sammy Clingan.

A minute later Blackpool were forced into their first substitution with former City loanee Zesh Rehman replacing injured right back Danny Coid.

City won the first corner of the second half when Pattison's cross was blocked. From Hoolahan's flag kick, Evatt cleared but went to ground with an injury that required treatment.

On 55 minutes the game sprang into life after a lull when Kennedy lost possession as he tried to dribble out of defence.

David Fox played the ball to Hammill and he went around Omozusi who tripped him in the penalty area. Referee Kevin Friend pointed to the spot and Burgess dispatched his kick left footed to Marshall's right to give the visitors the lead.

City responded with another corner given away by Camara, but when it fell to Clingan on the edge of the box, his chip went to straight into the hands of Rachubka.

Glenn Roeder made his first change after 59 minutes when Lupoli was substituted by Darel Russell who came on to huge cheers.

A couple of minutes later Russell almost got on the end of Cureton's low cross.

Russell was playing up front with Cureton as City searched for the equaliser.

On 66 minutes Blackpool keeper Rachubka earned the wrath of the crowd for taking so long to clear the ball.

And after he had a coming together with Russell there were handbags at six paces from a group of players and Russell and Evatt were both booked.

A minute later, on 67 minutes, City made their second change with Lee Croft coming on for Pattison.

City's play was becoming disjointed as the crowd became more and more irritated with the players.

On 72 minutes City almost fashioned a chance when Fotheringham got free in the box but his low cross was blocked.

A minute later a City corner was cleared out for a corner on the other side of the pitch. This time Hoolahan swung it in from the left and Stefanovic climbed high to head the ball across the six-yard area and there was Russell to head into the net from a couple of yards out.

Now City tails were up as they looked for a winner and Rachubka was at full stretch to palm away Omozusi's deflected cross.

City were in full cry and Camara was booked in the 77th minute for a block on Croft on the edge of the area, but Hoolahan over hit the free-kick from a good position.

Blackpool were desperately trying to hang on and from Bertrand's cross Russell saw his left foot effort blocked.

In the 81st minute a Hoolahan run and pass down the middle of the pitch released Cureton in space in the area but his fierce shot from a dozen yards was hit over the bar by the diving Rachubka, and his defenders stood firm to clear the corner.

After 83 minutes Blackpool made another change with David Vaughan replacing Hammill.

By now Blackpool were content to get the ball as far from their goal as possible while City looked to pass their way through the mass ranks of defenders.

And they came close five minutes from time when Cureton ran on to Fotheringham's through ball but was ruled narrowly offside.

Then the visitors had a rare attack and Jorgensen latched onto Burgess' flick but he was unable to steer the ball into the path of Vaughan and Kennedy cleared.

In the 88th minute Cureton almost released Russell with a diagonal pass but Edwards was on hand to slide the ball clear.

With only a minute left City thought they had found a winner after great interplay down the right between Hoolahan and Croft but Croft's low cross was deflected inches wide for a City corner.

From Hoolahan's kick Omozusi headed the ball high and wide.

In the final minute, Roeder made his final change as the hard-working Cureton was replaced by Omar Koroma.

After four minutes of added time was signalled, City piled forward and Camara brought down Croft. Hoolahan's free-kick into the danger area was deflected out for a goal kick.

Blackpool then made their final substitution with Steve Kabba coming on for David Fox.

The final chance of the game fell to Hoolahan but he screwed his left foot shot well wide from the edge of the box.

Taylor-Fletcher was then booked for throwing the ball away but seconds later the referee blew the final whistle to boos from some parts of the ground.

t Result: Norwich City 1, Blackpool 1

Become a supporter

This newspaper company has followed Norwich City through good times and bad. Every single contribution will help us continue to produce in depth coverage that makes a measurable difference to our community. OTBC

Norwich City Video

Norwich City Audio

Norwich City Stats

The Pink Un magazine

cover
A must-read for any Norwich City fan with in-depth, straight-talking, analysis from the best writers around.
Purchase

Latest from the Pink Un - Norwich City Football Club News