Injury worry completes a bad day

Michael Bailey Lee Croft bemoaned another Norwich City hard luck story as their season hangs on the edge of a Championship relegation cliff following yesterday's defeat in the East Anglian derby.

Michael Bailey

Lee Croft bemoaned another Norwich City hard luck story as their season hangs on the edge of a Championship relegation cliff following yesterday's defeat in the East Anglian derby.

From going in level at the break at Portman Road after a first period Norwich just about edged on possession and chances, the Canaries failed to match that level of performance in the second half, as Giovani dos Santos' penalty and a late Jon Stead strike condemned City to a third successive Portman Road defeat. But Croft could not help but feel Norwich were dealt an unfair blow when referee Neil Swarbrick awarded Town's 62nd minute spot kick after Kevin Lisbie hurdled City keeper David Marshall on the edge of the penalty area - after a long pause many took for a moment of indecision on the official's part.

"I think Marshy turned his back. He wasn't looking to take the guy down, he just couldn't get out of the way," said Croft. "The guy ran into him, so I didn't think the ref was going to come to that decision. Then I think the lads said the third goal was offside as well, so we're not getting the rub of the green. First half, at least we got the ball and passed the ball around. Second half we seemed to stop playing and we didn't really create anything at all. What that was due to I don't know, but that was the case."


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The result means City's next and penultimate fixture of the season, at home to promotion chasers Reading a week today, becomes do or die.

"As you'd expect, the lads are feeling down," said Croft. "But we've got to pick ourselves up again and make sure we win our last two games."

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On a personal note, Croft was happy to get back into the starting line-up after two games on the bench, although he had to be replaced midway through the second half after picking up a calf injury that could yet keep him out of the Reading clash.

"Unfortunately my calf seized up, so hopefully it isn't too bad," he said. "We think it might be a strain so we just have to monitor it over the next week.

"I've not played much football really and to come back into a game, maybe it's just put a bit strain on it. I've not started a game for a long time."

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