Underpar City denied fresh club record after being held by Blackburn
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
Blackburn Rovers denied Norwich City the chance to match a club record 10 straight league wins with a performance that left the Canaries feeling frustrated at Carrow Road.
City were frustrated for long periods and their performance wasn't as sharp as in recent weeks. Scottish midfielder Kenny McLean opened the scoring after beautifully sweeping the ball into the net after a fine passing move.
Substitute Sam Gallagher ensured Rovers left with a point after rising to nod home Lewis Holtby's free-kick 13 minutes from time. Daniel Farke's side did have chances to win it, but failed to find the winner.
The City boss' major selection headache was eased after Lukas Rupp had to consult a specialist after suffering a hamstring problem in training.
That allowed Emi Buendia a clear path to return to the side after missing Wednesday's victory over Nottingham Forest to be present at the birth of his second child.
Rovers were without top scorer Adam Armstrong, who missed the game with a hamstring problem. Tony Mowbray made three changes to his side, with former City pair Bradley Johnson and Elliott Bennett both named on the bench.
City's first chance arrived when McLean broke Blackburn's press before finding Buendia on halfway. The Argentine had space to drive into and picked out Todd Cantwell on the edge of the area. He turned but saw his shot deflect just wide after clipping the post.
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Dimitris Giannoulis was withdrawn on the half an hour mark after clashing heads twice in two minutes. The Greek international looked uncomfortable after the second incident and was replaced by Jacob Sorensen.
Rovers were stifling the Canaries efforts to play out from the back successfully.
Winger Tyrhys Dolan was preventing Max Aarons from joining attacking phases of play. Their defensive line was high, pushing players into City's half and limiting passing options.
A burst from Kieran Dowell saw the ex-Everton midfielder beat Darragh Lenihan before cutting back and teeing up Buendia. His shot was deflected and Thomas Kaminski had to push it onto the bar.
Despite Teemu Pukki being largely on the periphery of the encounter for the opening 53 minutes, an excellent through pass from Ben Gibson saw the Finn race through on goal.
He composed himself before unleashing his effort but saw it saved by the outstretched leg of Kaminski.
Less than a minute later, Norwich did snatch the lead.
City had struggled to put a slick run of passes together all afternoon, but Buendia's drive ended in a neat pass to McLean. The Scot exchanged passes with Dowell before finding the bottom corner to open the scoring at Carrow Road.
13 minutes from time, substitute Gallagher netted the equaliser for the visitors.
Cantwell was penalised for handball after blocking Bennett's cross from the right with his arm. Holtby's curling ball found Gallagher at the back post, who rose above everybody to nod into the net from close range.
There was concern for City defender Gibson late on after he landed awkwardly on his ankle as he turned the ball goalwards from a corner. The on-loan Burnley man was stretchered away from the action.
Pukki had a chance to win it late on after an intelligent give and go with Cantwell on the edge of the area. The Finn was denied after a fine block from Rovers defender Lenihan.
It wasn't to be for City in terms of matching the record set by Ken Brown's side back in the 1980s, but this was an afternoon where they were made to work. They head into the international break in a healthy position.
- Norwich City (4-2-3-1): Krul; Aarons, Hanley (C), Gibson (Zimmermann, 83), Giannoulis (Sorensen, 30); Skipp, McLean; Buendia, Dowell (Stiepermann, 67), Cantwell; Pukki. Subs not used: Nyland (GK), Tettey, Vrancic, Hernandez, Placheta, Hugill
- Bookings: None
- Goals: McLean 53
- Blackburn Rovers (4-3-3): Kaminski; Rankin-Costello (Bennett, 70), Lenihan (C), Harwood-Bellis, Douglas; Holtby (Johnson, 85), Buckley (Elliott, 64), Evans (Downing, 70), Rothwell; Brereton (Gallagher, 64), Dolan, Rothwell. Subs not used: Pears (GK), Braithwaite, Nyambe, Bell
- Bookings: None
- Goals: Gallagher 77
- Added on time: 3 mins/4 mins
- Referee: Keith Stroud (Hampshire)