Norwich City 2, Charlton Athletic 2
SLIDESHOW: Norwich City skipper Grant Holt scored a dramatic injury-time equaliser to give his side a thoroughly merited point from a stirring fightback against League One morning leaders Charlton at Carrow Road. Holt headed home from substitute Chris Martin’s cross two minutes into stoppage time in a dramatic finish to a full-blooded encounter.
Norwich City skipper Grant Holt scored a dramatic injury-time equaliser to give his side a thoroughly merited point from a stirring fightback against League One morning leaders Charlton at Carrow Road.
Holt headed home from substitute Chris Martin's cross two minutes into stoppage time in a dramatic finish to a full-blooded encounter.
First-half goals from Deon Burton and Jonjo Shelvey gave City a mountain to climb, but Wes Hoolahan, recalled by manager Paul Lambert, gave them a lifeline when he pulled a goal back a minute before the break.
The Canaries' second-half onslaught looked set to go unrewarded, however, with Korey Smith denied by a brilliant save from Charlton keeper Rob Elliot before Holt delivered that grand finale.
Lambert made three changes to the side that started the 2-1 defeat at MK Dons on Monday, with defender Michael Nelson and midfielder Stephen Hughes ruled out by injury and goalscorer Martin surprisingly relegated to the substitutes' bench.
There were recalls for Hoolahan and Darel Russell, who missed Monday's game with a calf injury, and Michael Spillane replaced Nelson in defence.
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Leaders Charlton were able to name an unchanged eleven for the eighth league game in a row, their attack led by Deon Burton, whose hat-trick at The Valley on the final day of last season helped confirm the Canaries' relegation from the Championship.
City almost opened the scoring from their first corner after nine minutes. Lappin's kick was met by a powerful header by Otsemobor that goalkeeper Elliot pushed away at the far post, but Spillane followed up with a close-range effort that was blocked just yards from the line.
There was a lengthy delay after 14 minutes when Drury needed treatment for a bang in the face after a challenge on Sam, but the full-back was able to continue.
Charlton took the lead after 18 minutes from their second corner, conceded under pressure by Lappin. Shelvey took an outswinging kick from the right and Burton, who had already changed his boots early in the match, didn't need them as he arrived to send a diving header past Forster.
City should have been level after 24 minutes when Smith did superbly to rob Semedo and put Holt through with a slide rule pass, but the striker blazed his right-foot shot wide of Elliot's left-hand post.
Askou was shown the first yellow card of the afternoon for a foul on Shelvey after 26 minutes.
Forster made an important save on the half-hour when Racon created enough space to let fly with a powerful effort from more than 25 yards, the 'keeper beating it away with his outstretched right arm.
Forster kept out Bailey's shot from a tight angle two minutes later as Charlton continued to press.
The visitors went two goals up five minutes from the break when they counter-attacked swiftly after a free-kick by Drury was cleared. Sam squeezed in a cross from close to the right corner flag and Shelvey scored with a simple header.
Daley headed over at the near post from Lappin's cross as City tried to respond.
But they did respond in style in the 44th minute thanks to Hoolahan's third goal of the season. He latched on to a quick throw-in from Holt and advanced ahead of Llera before beating Elliot with a rising left-foot shot.
Charlton skipper Bailey was extremely lucky to escape without even a yellow card in the final minute of the half when he kicked Holt in the calf from behind but referee Tanner settled for a lecture.
t Half-time: Norwich City 1, Charlton Athletic 2
Sam wasted some good approach work two minutes after the break when he let fly with a powerful right-foot shot that flew well wide.
A swift City break almost produced a spectacular goal after 49 minutes when Forster's throw found Lappin, who picked out Hoolahan, and his pass was met by Smith whose powerful right-foot from 25 yards only just cleared the bar.
A poor kick by Forster posed problems for City but the keeper redeemed himself by diving to save Shelvey's long-range effort.
There were ironic cheers when referee Tanner finally showed Llera the yellow card for a foul on Holt.
Holt headed over from a tight angle from Lappin's cross on the hour as City continued to look for an equaliser.
Excellent work by Holt almost provided the breakthrough after 65 minutes when he managed to cross from the left, Elliot palming the ball away towards Smith on the edge of the six-yard box, but it dropped unkindly for the midfielder and he was unable to get in a shot.
The Canaries had enjoyed a dominant spell, but were almost undone 20 minutes from time by a swift counter-attack, Forster tipping Shelvey's shot past the post.
City broke again and a last-ditch tackle by Semedo denied Hoolahan as he moved on to a pass from Smith.
Both sides made changes as Martin replaced Daley for City after 71 minutes, followed by a double change for Charlton with Wagstaff and McLeod on for Sam and Shelvey.
The persistence of Holt and Smith earned another City corner but Spillane's header from Lappin's kick was high over the top.
A brilliant one-handed save by Elliot denied Smith an equaliser in the 83rd minute when Holt nodded Hoolahan's cross into the midfielder's path. He did well to keep his shot down after an awkward bounce but Elliot clawed Smith's effort away one-handed.
McLeod missed a chance to wrap up the points five minutes from time when an error by Otsemobor enabled Youga to put the substitute clear, but he poked his right-foot shot past the post as Forster came out.
Lambert made a second change with a minute left as McDonald replaced Smith.
Two minutes into stoppage time, Holt scored a dramatic equaliser from a cross by substitute Martin.
The goal sparked angry scenes between rival fans in the Jarrold Stand.
McDonald almost scored the winner when his overhead kick flew wide, and Otsemobor almost broke through but just failed to get in a shot.
t Result: Norwich City 2, Charlton Athletic 2
t Norwich City: Forster; Otsemobor, Spillane, Askou, Drury; Daley, Smith, Russell, Lappin; Hoolahan; Holt.
Subs: Rudd, Stephens, Adeyemi, Martin (for Daley, 71), McVeigh (for Drury, 90), McDonald (for Smith, 89), Cureton.
t Charlton Athletic: Elliot; Richardson, Dailly, Llera, Youga; Sam, Racon, Semedo, Bailey; Shelvey; Burton.
Subs: Randolph, Spring, Sodje, Solly, Wagstaff (for Sam, 72), McLeod (for Shelvey, 72), Tuna.
t Referee: Steve Tanner (Somerset)
t Attendance: 24,018.
t Goals: Norwich: Hoolahan (44), Holt (90). Charlton: Burton (18), Shelvey (40)
t Bookings: Norwich: Askou (26). Charlton: Elliot (45), Semedo (52), Llera (56), McLeod (90), Wagstaff (90).