Hucks dazed and confused
DAVID CUFFLEY Darren Huckerby summed up the sense of confusion in the Norwich City dressing room over two key decisions that went against his side in last night's 2-1 home defeat by Derby County.
Darren Huckerby summed up the sense of confusion in the Norwich City dressing room over two key decisions that went against his side in last night's 2-1 home defeat by Derby County.
Huckerby, captain for the night after Adam Drury was struck down with a bout of sickness, chose his words very carefully when he said: “The ref didn't have one of his better games today.”
Chris Martin's fifth senior goal - and his fourth in successive games - gave the Canaries the lead six minutes into the second half of a compelling Coca-Cola Championship battle before David Jones struck twice in the space of nine minutes to fire the Rams to the top of the table.
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But Gloucestershire official Lee Probert disallowed a goal from Martin that would have given City a 2-1 lead. Huckerby also felt he should have had a penalty three minutes before half-time after a challenge from giant defender Darren Moore, an incident that led to a dispute involving the two players and Derby's ex-Canary full-back Marc Edworthy.
Said Huckerby: “With the incident in the first half, the big man came across and he got nowhere near the ball and he clattered straight into me. The ref's got to make a decision either way.
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“Eddy wasn't anywhere near me. It was Darren Moore who came across and clumsily slid in. I said 'Well, what is it ref?' and he said 'I don't know' so we'll have to leave it at that then!”
Huckerby was also involved in the disallowed goal when he was challenged by defender Dean Leacock and the ball rebounded into the path of Martin, who produced a superb finish but then appeared to be ruled offside.
Huckerby argued: “I thought the geezer had whacked me and the ball seemed to roll to Chris, and it's a strange one because the advantage should be to us really. If there was no advantage, it's got to come back to a free-kick for us.
“But the referee's said he let it go too far to bring it back. They got the free-kick and we didn't get any advantage, it's a strange one. I don't know if it was offside, I'm not sure.
“You can't really have a go at the ref but I thought he had a strange game today."
Nevertheless, Huckerby was encouraged by City's performance ahead of Saturday's trip to Cardiff, in spite of their sixth home defeat of the season.
He said: “I thought in the first half we were much the better team. We didn't create loads of chances but neither did they. We controlled the game until they scored their first goal.
"It was a bit sloppy from us. It was something we worked on in training but really it was an easy goal for them. And the second one seemed to be very simple. We're very disappointed but overall, even though we lost, I thought we were the better team. We've said that a lot, haven't we?
“I thought a draw would have been fair. Derby are near the top of the league, they've won a lot of games and they're resolute. But they weren't that, that good.
“They came here, they knew what they had to do and they got away with it, so good luck to them.
“We can take a lot of hope from this. We're looking forward to the next game. It's been a tough few weeks and we've got another two weeks that are very hard. I'm feeling very tired with a game every three days. When I was 21 it was easier, but it's more difficult the older you get. We'll have to rest up, but we'll be ready for Saturday.”