Norwich City 0, Walsall 0

SLIDESHOW: Norwich City's hopes of a third successive League One victory under new manager Paul Lambert were dashed by determined Walsall in an uninspiring goalless draw at Carrow Road.

Norwich City's hopes of a third successive League One victory under new manager Paul Lambert were dashed by determined Walsall in an uninspiring goalless draw at Carrow Road.

The Canaries thought they had bagged three points when defender Michael Nelson headed home from Paul McVeigh's corner after 62 minutes, but referee Russell Booth appeared to spot an infringement and disallowed the effort.

It was a frustrating afternoon for City, who had been hoping to chalk up three league wins in a row for the first time in more than 18 months but seldom got out of second gear.

Lambert relied on the same eleven who started last week's 2-0 win at Hartlepool with on-loan goalkeeper Fraser Forster making his home debut after Ben Alnwick's return to Tottenham with a hip injury.

Midfielder Darel Russell was included among the substitutes and made his first league appearance of the season when he replaced Korey Smith in the second half.

City began on the offensive and, in the first five minutes, Askou fired wide from a McVeigh corner, before Lappin's free-kick reached McVeigh, who swivelled to fire narrowly over the top.

Most Read

Walsall looked neat and tidy on the ball and, with 13 minutes gone, Mattis headed over from a cross by Vincent.

Lappin fired over the top in the 20th minute but it there was little in the way of goalmouth action in the opening quarter of the match.

Deeney showed good control to flick the ball over Nelson and hit it on the half-volley but his effort was well over the top.

Walsall threatened after 34 minutes when Mattis crossed towards Byfield, who should have done better than plant a free header well wide.

Six minutes before the break, Cureton flicked on a cross by Nelson but Holt failed to control it, then Cureton fired wide after McVeigh knocked back a cross by Drury.

Drury needed lengthy treatment for a nasty bang on the left cheekbone as he jumped for a header in the Walsall penalty area, but returned to the field before the interval.

McVeigh shot wide in first-half stoppage time as the opening period finished without a single shot on target by either side.

t Half-time: Norwich City 0, Walsall 0

City could have broken the deadlock in the first minute of the second half when Cureton crossed from the right but Holt scuffed his attempt to send a backflick

goalwards. Holt then headed straight at goalkeeper Gilmartin from Otsemobor's free-kick.

Byfield wasted a clear opening for Walsall five minutes after the break when he shot wildly across the face of the goal after some slack defending.

An awful pass by Richards set the Canaries on the attack in the 56th minute and when Holt headed back McVeigh's cross, Cureton appeared to be impeded, leaving Lappin to poke a shot wide with his less favoured right foot.

City had the ball in the net in the 62nd minute when Nelson headed home from McVeigh's inswinging corner, but referee Booth quickly disallowed it after he ,appeared to have spotted an infringement, though Nelson was certainly not the guilty man.

There was a double change by Lambert with 25 minutes left when McDonald replaced Cureton and Daley was sent on instead of McVeigh.

The Canaries appeared to have a penalty claim waved away with 20 minutes left when Smith had a grip on McDonald's shirt as the substitute tried to tee up a shot in the penalty area. In the end, McDonald did not connect cleanly and his left-foot shot was blocked.

There was an escape at the other end when Forster, hardly overworked, managed to claw away a cross by Byfield at full stretch and Askou had to scramble the ball away.

City made their final change after 74 minutes when Smith was replaced by Russell.

With 12 minutes to go, Parkin replaced Deeney for Walsall.

Hughes left fly from long range with just over eight minutes left, but his right-foot shot was well off target.

Nicholls was sent on for Byfield as Walsall made their second change with four minutes left.

t Result: Norwich City 0, Walsall 0

t Norwich City: Forster; Otsemobor, Nelson, Askou, Drury; McVeigh (Daley, 65), Hughes, Smith (Russell, 74), Lappin; Holt, Cureton (McDonald, 65).

Subs (not used) Rudd, Spillane, Martin, Adeyemi.

t Walsall: Gilmartin; Westlake, Smith, Clayton McDonald, Vincent; Till, Mattis, Taundry, Richards; Byfield (Nicholls, 86), Deeney (Parkin, 78).

Subs (not used) Cooney, Weston, Sansara, Jones, O'Keefe.

t Referee: Russell Booth (Nottinghamshire).

t Attendance: 23,041