Holt setting sights on leaders
David Cuffley City skipper Grant Holt shrugged off the calamitous nature of Norwich City's defeat at Leeds last night and warned the rest of League One: 'We're just starting to tick'
City skipper Grant Holt shrugged off the calamitous nature of Norwich City's defeat at Leeds last night and warned the rest of League One: “We're just starting to tick.”
Holt's 10th goal of the season looked as if it would be enough to earn the Canaries a well-deserved point at Elland Road until Jermaine Beckford cashed in on a badly sliced goal-kick by 'keeper Fraser Forster to score the winner in stoppage time.
Leeds' 2-1 televised success took them back to the top of the table, but Holt believes sixth-placed City are beginning to threaten the leading group in the division.
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He said: “We came here and performed really well and the result is hard to take.
“We're sitting there, not pleased, no one likes a defeat, but we're very happy with the way we played. I think we were great to watch. Some of the stuff we played at times was fantastic and I'm hoping everyone at home enjoyed the game and seeing how good we can be. But we are in the business of getting points, getting out of the division. We didn't achieve that today but if you're a neutral watching the game you will realise we should have done.
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“You'll see how determined we are. We have a great bunch of lads, we have a great team spirit and as a squad we're getting stronger and stronger.
“The manager has us playing the way he wants us to. We all know our jobs and I think we're just starting to tick. The result is disappointing but I'm delighted with the manner in which we played.
“The goal was a freakish thing and didn't help us but we'll get on with it now.”
Holt sympathised with Forster over his moment of misery, which effectively ended City's five-match unbeaten run and meant only their second defeat in 10 league matches under Paul Lambert.
He said: “Poor Fraser, he's done that, but he's made two great saves before that. He's got to pick his head up. He's obviously disappointed with himself but I thought he was different class. The two saves he made before kept us in the game. “You don't want to see your team-mates make mistakes and when you're a goalkeeper it gets highlighted a lot more. He was unfortunate, Jon Otsemobor did unbelievably well to get back and I think it got a deflection off him and went over Fraser.
“It's gone now, there's nothing we can do about it and we'll have to start the run again.”
City could have been ahead early on as Leeds 'keeper Shane Higgs denied Darel Russell and Wes Hoolahan before departing with an injury.
“In the first half we played well but didn't take our chances,” said Holt.
“Rusty and Wes had chances to make it 2-0, but we have to take the positives.”
Holt equalised seven minutes before half-time to move into double figures for the season, after Bradley Johnson had headed Leeds in front from a 15th minute corner.
Said Holt: “It's always nice to score goals and it came at a good time to get us back in the game.
“It gave us the momentum at half-time to go out and try to force the pace again. I'm happy with my own performance and as a team we played really well.”
Leeds boss Simon Grayson admitted the Canaries were the toughest opponents his side had faced this season - despite watching his team snatch a late victory and extend their unbeaten run to 12 league games.
He said: “They are the best team that have come here this season and this was definitely the most difficult game we have had.
“They will certainly be among the contenders at the end of the season.”
Grayson praised leading scorer Jermaine Beckford for his persistence in grabbing the stoppage-time winner after missing a string of chances.
He said: “Jermaine keeps going - and full credit to him for that.
“There are times when you feel as though you want to take him off but you just can't because there's always the chance that he will pop up with a crucial goal.
“You have always got to leave him on the pitch because you know, at any moment, he can be a threat.”