Late equaliser for Canaries

RICK WAGHORN HULL CITY 1, NORWICH CITY 1: A Stuart Elliott own goal three minutes from the end of normal time gave City’s long-suffering supporters the first glimmer of hope that something solid may finally emerge from amid the wreckage of Norwich’s summer promotion hopes.


HULL 1, NORWICH 1: A Stuart Elliott own goal three minutes from the end of normal time gave City's long-suffering supporters the first glimmer of hope that something solid may finally emerge from amid the wreckage of Norwich's summer promotion hopes.

Because while today's 1-1 draw at Hull City hardly set the pulses racing as chances at either end proved few and far between, Norwich at least emerged with a deserved point to their name and a new battle plan to work from.

That all looked a distant hope midway through the second period with the Tigers already a goal up thanks to Leon Cort's first half opener and looking all set to cling on to their hard-earned lead.

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With the arrival of Leon McKenzie and Paul McVeigh adding fresh impetus and ideas to the contest - and, in fairness, Norwich's spirits never wavering - so Earnshaw spared under-pressure boss Nigel Worthington yet another bitter inquest when he inadvertently turned Keith Andrews' attempted clearance into the goal so players and supporters alike celebrated with wild abandon.

Whether it means anything in the greater and grander scheme of things only Tuesday night's game against Brighton will tell. But it's a start - albeit a tentative and tiny one.

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As the Canaries ran out for this afternoon's tricky away trip to Hull City as expected a whole new shape and a whole new look emerged on Humberside.

Out went 4-3-3 and in came 4-4-2 as the Canaries reunited the former Cardiff City front pairing of Peter Thorne and new-boy Rob Earnshaw together with Darren Huckerby reverting to the traditional left-wing role with Jonatan Johansson adding the width on the right.

As for that much troubled central midfield so it was Andy Hughes who got the nod for the fetch-and-carry role alongside Youssef Safri.

On the bench City had two more options in the shape of Carl Robinson and Dickson Etuhu - though the warmest welcome was reserved for Leon McKenzie following his latest round of injury blues.

With the home side kicking off, the effect of partnering Thorne with Earnshaw - as Worthington had apparently planned for last Sunday's derby clash only for illness to intervene - was swiftly apparent as Thorne, with his first touch, flicked a neat little header into Earnshaw's feet with the newly arrived City striker drilling a first time shot into a covering defender.

Huckerby gave his first hint as to his mood in the seventh minute when he went on a mazy run down the left-flank only for his final cross to just elude a green shirt.

Hull registered their first shot of note in the ninth minute when new-boy Darryl Duffy picked up a loose ball some 22-yards out and drilled it five-yards wide of Green's left-hand post.

With City's shape working well it was an encouraging opening spell from the visitors albeit one lacking in clear-cut chances for either side.

The game's first booking arrived in the 18th minute with Tigers skipper Sam Collins upended Johansson as he looked to break through.

Four minutes later and Norwich appeared to have a reasonable claim for a penalty turned down as Johansson - attempting a spectacular overhead kick, from a deep Huckerby cross, appeared to have his shirt pulled away from behind him as he looked to make his connection.

With the appeals swiftly waved away further frustration was about to follow for the Canaries as Leon Cort repeated his Carrow Road feat earlier in the season by thumping a Keith Andrews corner home in the 26th minute.

The big centre-half threw himself lock, stock and barrel at the ball and indeed crumpled into an injured heap as he did so but by then the damage was done as his big header bounced up and into the roof of the net.

Despite the goal, the game continued in a similar vein towards the half-time mark with the Canaries enjoying by far the greater share of the possession only for Hull to prove a stubborn side to break down.

Huckerby was enjoying himself on the left and almost persuaded Ryan France to join Collins in the book with a rash challenge that prompted another City free-kick.

As ever this season City simply needed something to drop for them in the penalty area. As ever it didn't as Hull continued to limit Norwich's sights on goal.

A 38th minute corner from Andy Hughes found Gary Doherty rising highest at the far post only for his header to sail well over.

At the other end Keith Andrews provided a rare moment of note for the home side with a fine sweeping shot that dipped little more than a yard wide of Green's right-hand post.

Before the half-time whistle Andrews would drill a further shot just wide but the pattern of the game remained largely unchanged.

Norwich had enjoyed huge sways of territory and possession but the one decisive moment had gone Hull's way and City knew that they had, somehow, to find a way beyond that great amber and black wall if they were to ever turn that possession to at least a point.

Half-time: Hull City 1, Norwich City 0.

As the second half opened so it swiftly became clear that the game was likely to follow a similar pattern with Norwich passing the ball all afternoon long without ever gaining a clear sight of the Hull goal.

Likewise Hull appeared reasonably content to camp themselves in their own half and let Norwich try and work out just how they might try and break them down and in the meantime looked to hit their visitors on the break.

The game finally burst into a bit of life in the 50th minute when Jon Parkin gave Zesh Rehman the slip and from the corner of the Canary box bore down on Green's goal.

The City keeper saved well to his left but the ball merely rolled out to Parkin's strike partner Duffy who fortunately as far as the Canaries were concerned could only lift his shot horribly over.

Seconds later and the Canaries, by rights, should have levelled as Huckerby fed a teasing ball into the inside-left channel where Johansson waited with a first-time effort which rolled tamely into Myhill's hands.

In the 53rd minute Gary Doherty became the first City player to be booked when he clattered into Stuart Elliott away on the right-hand touchline - a challenge that prompted both referee and player alike to see yellow.

With the away following starting to show their frustration in the form of a swift chorus of “Worthy out! Worthy out!” Norwich began to step up a gear with Earnshaw in particular looking bright and busy.

Drury found himself hard on the Hull by-line only for his tight, pullback to just elude a lurking Johansson while Hull's growing anxiety was evident in the 64th minute booking of France as he wasted time following a free-kick.

Hull made the first change of the afternoon when Duffy was replaced by Craig Fagan in the 65th minute.

Fagan almost made an immediate impact with an excellent 30-yard lob that found Green momentarily wrong-footed until he plucked the ball out of the air.

With Norwich now in desperate need of a lift so Worthington opted to give McKenzie and McVeigh a chance to add their spark to the proceedings.

As the pair waited to come on so Safri joined Doherty in the book for a 73rd minute challenge on Ellison.

McVeigh and McKenzie eventually made it onto the pitch in the 74th minute when they replaced Thorne and Johansson respectively.

With the chances continuing to elude the Canaries despite continuing to enjoy the greater share of the possession the 2000 travelling City fans began to exit early.

As the game entered its final 10 minutes Hull found themselves entrenched on the edge of their own penalty area as Norwich continued to press forward.

Three corners in the space of little more than 90 seconds found Huckerby's final effort just curling away beyond the far post as Tigers' keeper Myhill horribly misjudged the ball's flight.

The Canaries were certainly doing their utmost to try and prise at least a point from their first visit to the KC Stadium but luck simply wasn't on their side as the minutes ticked away.

That all changed in the 87th minute when McVeigh was handed space deep in the Hull penalty area and his hooked cross found a Hull clearance somehow finding its way into the net via Stuart Elliott.

Not that anyone of a Norwich persuasion was complaining as City's dominance of the game was finally rewarded.

The celebrations masked one possible worry as limping Safri was replaced by Robinson - one injury that the Canaries could well do without.

Result: Hull City 1, Norwich City 1

Hull City - 1 Bo Myhill, 5 Leon Cort, 16 Damien Delaney, 29 Ryan France, 23 Sam Collins, 17 Keith Andrews, 24 Kevin Ellison, 7 Stuart Elliott, 6 Jon Parkin, 18 John Welsh, 22 Darryl Duffy. Subs: 12 Matt Duke, 25 Billy Paynter, 14 Stuart Green, 2 Mark Lynch, 27 Craig Fagan.

Norwich City - 1 Robert Green, 5 Craig Fleming, 3 Adam Drury, 19 Zesh Rehman, 27 Gary Doherty, 11 Jonatan Johansson, 15 Youssef Safri, 17 Andy Hughes, 6 Darren Huckerby, 10 Robert Earnshaw, 8 Peter Thorne. Subs: 21 Paul Gallacher, 18 Paul McVeigh, 20 Dickson Etuhu, 33 Carl Robinson, 14 Leon McKenzie,

Referee - Jonathan Moss (West Yorkshire)

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