Marshall praises defence

Goalkeeper David Marshall was quick to spread the credit around after his last-minute heroics helped Norwich City to their first home victory - and first clean sheet - of the season.

Goalkeeper David Marshall was quick to spread the credit around after his last-minute heroics helped Norwich City to their first home victory - and first clean sheet - of the season.

The Scotland international produced a memorable save from Sheffield United substitute Danny Webber in the final minute of normal time, just seconds before Lee Croft clinched a dramatic 1-0 Championship win for the Canaries with his first goal for 10 months.

Marshall made no apology for sprinting the length of the field to join in the goal celebrations.

He said: “I think Crofty's been desperate to score so it was good to see. It was the last minute, it was a great win after the disappointment on Wednesday, so there was a bit of emotion at the end.

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“People probably looked at it and looked at the injuries and the team we were playing against, and with Beattie coming back, they probably fancied Sheffield United, but the boys stuck at it. It was a must win today in the boys' heads.”

With central defenders John Kennedy (ankle injury) and Dejan Stefanovic (bruised calf) ruled out, Marshall played behind a completely revamped back four with loan defenders Elliott Omozusi and Jonathan Grounds operating as centre-backs and Jon Otsemobor and Adam Drury recalled as full-backs.

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Said Marshall: “It's the first clean sheet and it was unexpected with the defence being all over the shop today, but they did a great job.

“We've been pretty good defensively all season but we've not had a clean sheet, and then the back four gets muddled about and you end up getting one.

“Probably the average age of the back four is about 21, so it's great against a team like that, with Beattie and Sharp, experienced players.

“I thought Groundsy and Elliott were brilliant as centre-halves all day, considering they only knew they were playing together in the morning when Dejan never made it.”

However, Marshall still had to be at his best to deny Webber in a one-on-one as the game entered time added on.

“One wee slip and they were in, but it was good to make the save and even better when Crofty went up the other end and made it 1-0,” said Marshall, whose outstretched left hand kept out Webber's shot.

“I was just trying to stay up as long as possible and that's all you can do. I sort of guessed he was going to go left. If he turns it inside you, you're pretty much beaten but I just stayed up as long as possible and made myself as big as possible and luckily it just hit my hand.”

Marshall also denied Gary Speed and David Cotterill with excellent first-half saves but said: “I think they were saves I would be unhappy if I'd not made, but it was good to make them. It gives you a wee bit of confidence.”

City now prepare for successive away games against Barnsley and Southampton in good heart, despite a growing injury list.

“We had a good win at Barnsley last season and we've just had a good away win at Plymouth,” said Marshall.

“We've got two winnable away games but we know they're going to be hard.”

Manager Glenn Roeder praised his 'keeper's display.

He said: “Marshy had to make a few saves, certainly more than he's had to do in the previous games this season, and the save he made just prior to us scoring the winning goal, for me, is the equivalent of scoring a goal.

“He kept us in the game there in the way that he did late on against Birmingham when it would have been a total injustice to have not taken anything from the game - just like today it would have been a total injustice.”

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