Norwich City 0, Charlton Athletic 1

Chris Lakey It was perhaps fitting that Norwich City's FA Cup campaign should be ended by a player who once wore the colours of their closest rivals. When the yellow and green sea that was City's defence parted after just six minutes to allow Darren Ambrose the time to pick his spot, it was as if the cup's script writers once again had it in for the Canaries.

Chris Lakey

It was perhaps fitting that Norwich City's FA Cup campaign should be ended by a player who once wore the colours of their closest rivals.

When the yellow and green sea that was City's defence parted after just six minutes to allow Darren Ambrose the time to pick his spot, it was as if the cup's script writers once again had it in for the Canaries.

Going out so early has become the norm - that a former Ipswich player was the executioner just made it hurt that much more.


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The crowd of just under 14,000 - which could become a familiar sight if there's much more of this - made their feelings known in the latter stages, and it would appear that major reconstructive work is required if this mess of a season is not to end in relegation.

Ten minutes in the early stages of the second half was as good as it got for City - but the fact that it took almost an hour for City to have their first effort on goal perhaps best illustrates this Norwich City performance.

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Roeder made four changes to the team which lost 1-0 at Sheffield United on Saturday, with Carl Cort making a surprise full debut in attack, despite an apparent lack of match fitness, replacing the injured Antoine Sibierski alongside Arturo Lupoli.

It was Cort's first start in English football since December 8, 2007 when he played for Leicester in a 2-1 home defeat by West Brom.

With Middlesbrough loanee Jonathan Grounds ineligible, Elliott Omozusi was recalled to partner Gary Doherty in central defence, with Adam Drury returning to the side at left back, with Ryan Bertrand dropped to the bench. David Bell was reinstated on the left flank, with Wes Hoolahan on a bench which included rookie Korey Smith.

Charlton boss Phil Parkinson left teenager Jonjo Shelvey, who scored in the first cup tie between the teams at The Valley 10 days earlier, on the bench, with Yassin Moutaouakil coming in at right back in place of Graeme Murty and Grant Basey at left back in place of the injured Jay McEveley, now back at Derby. With Jose Semedo also injured, Parkinson started with Josh Wright and Nick Bailey in the middle, with Scott Wagstaff in a wide right role supporting Deon Burton, with Lloyd Sam on the left.

Darren Ambrose took a pot-shot at David Marshall's goal within the first minute, with a speculative effort from distance which the keeper saw by his right post.

City right-back Jon Otsemobor showed his terrific turn of pace in the fourth minute, cutting out a stray forward pass by Mark Hudson and powering down the right before he was crowded out by two defenders.

And then, with six minutes on the clock, City's old defensive weaknesses came back to haunt them. Bailey picked up a loose ball just inside the City half, slipped it down the right channel where it dissected the sliding legs of Omozusi and Drury, coming in on opposite sides, and found Ambrose, who calmly slotted it past Marshall.

It could hardly have been a worse start for the Canaries, now playing catch-up against a side who have been more used to the receiving end themselves this season.

They did manage to settle, but once again were struggling to find a decisive ball through to the front men - Charlton's tactics of leaving Deon Burton fairly isolated up front crowded the midfield in the visitors' favour.

The home fans were on their feet on 16 minuets when Cort managed to nod a ball forward to Lupoli, who headed for the area, but then tripped over his own feet - referee Clive Oliver was not impressed.

Bailey was looking lively and moments later almost got on the end of Sam's cross from the right, but Marshall nipped off his line to deny him a touch.

City enjoyed a spell of pressure, but it was frustrating for fans watching most forward movements ended by a sloppy pass. Cort got his first attempt at a header in the penalty area until the 20th minute, when he rose to meet Clingan's powerful cross from deep, but failed to get a clean connection.

City won their first corner on 24 minutes, and while Cort was beaten to it at the near post, it was a good spell for the Canaries.

Charlton's early forward exertions were waning as they spread five across the middle, but City weren't creating much in front of goal either.

It was pretty dire stuff, enlivened on 38 minutes when Charlton earned their first corner, Wagstaff's cross hoofed over by the back-tracking Doherty - and then heading away Ambrose's flag kick.

With half-time five minutes away, City finally started buzzing around the Charlton area, but the excitement was short-lived. A one-two between Lupoli and Croft almost came off, before Croft nodded an Omozusi cross just too far in front of Mark Fotheringham, who was making strides into the area. It was probably the highlight of City's half, in an attacking sense - which just about sums it up.

Croft's tireless run down the right earned City a corner with time added on in the first half, but nothing came of it - the story of their night so far.

The half-time whistle was greeted by boos - and deservedly so.

t Half-time: Norwich City 0, Charlton Athletic 1

Roeder made one change at the interval, with Bertrand on for Drury, while Parkinson kept faith with his starting line-up.

The City boss had moved to the dug-out, having spent the first half in the directors' box - presumably hoping his presence would lift his team.

Burton almost quashed that within a few moments, but couldn't quite reach the loose ball after Omozusi's wayward header. Sam then claimed a penalty after getting past Otsemobor and into the area, where his progress was halted, but referee Oliver quite rightly waved play on.

Bell had an opportunity to get in a dangerous cross from a free-kick, but hit it too hard and keeper Darren Randolph punched clear.

Lupoli saw a shot from the edge of the area on 54 minutes - City's first attempt - deflected for a corner, with Cort following up with a header that Randolph tipped over the bar, having taken a touch from Fortune on the way.

Parkinson made his first change on 56 minutes, replacing Wagstaff with Shelvey, while Doherty became the first player in the book two minutes later for a foul on Burton.

Charlton almost made it 2-0 on 61 minutes, when Grant Basey swung in a free-kick from the right and skipper Mark Hudson met it perfectly from five yards - but saw Marshall beat it away for a corner. Had that gone in it could well have been game over.

Moments later Fotheringham found Lupoli with a good cross, but the striker's header from the edge of the area went a foot past the right-hand post.

Roeder made his second change on 67 minutes, Cort departing for Hoolahan, who headed for the hole behind Lupoli.

It appeared to liven City up, with the little midfield getting in a short which was deflected before ending safely in Randolph's hands.

Matt Holland came on for Ambrose on 74 minutes - provoking a traditional reaction for former Ipswich players from the City fans, but it was a sign that Charlton were ready to see the game out.

Roeder responded by making his final change, Darel Russell replacing Fotheringham and going straight into the front line.

"Roeder, Roeder sort it out", urged the crowd - swiftly followed by chants of "We want Roeder out".

Frustration that had been just below the surface for most of the match was now bubbling over as the "experts" in the crowd had their say - and each groan from the crowd was met by a misplaced pass, indecision, confidence sapping each and every one.

When City did get forward the crowd responded - Russell had a shot blocked on the turn after Doherty, now in attack, won a back post header. Lupoli should have done better than head Croft's cross against Russell while Clingan's long ball brushed Doherty's head in time added on - when even the efforts of the loyal City fans couldn't save their team.

The result sparked a protest outside Carrow Road with a small but vociferous crowd calling for the heads of Roeder and the board.

t Result: Norwich City 0, Charlton Athletic 1

t Norwich City: Marshall, Otsemobor, Omozusi, Doherty, Drury, Croft, Fotheringham, Clingan, Bell, Cort, Lupoli.

Subs: Nelson, Bertrand, Hoolahan, Russell, Pattison, Lappin, Smith.

t Charlton Athletic: Randolph, Moutaouakil, Hudson, Fortune, Basey, Wagstaff, Bailey, Ambrose, Wright, Sam, Burton.

Subs: Elliot, Youga, Shelvey, Holland, Todorov, Dickson, Yussuff.

t Referee: Clive Oliver (Northumberland)

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