Norwich City skipper Holt rueing missed chance

Skipper Grant Holt believes Norwich City’s surprise 1-1 draw with the Championship’s bottom side Preston on Saturday owed more to the visitors’ game plan than any “jitters” from the hosts.

The fact most of City’s automatic promotion challengers dropped points on the same afternoon offered a silver lining to Holt, whose 16th goal of the season cancelled out former Norwich striker Chris Brown’s sweetly-struck opener within minutes – but could not ease the pain of seeing Wes Hoolahan’s late penalty miss. “Preston came with a game plan, to try and nullify us and get a draw, and they’ve got that,” said Holt. “I think anyone as a neutral who’s watching it, and we, know we should have won it.

“But they are going to sit in and try and make it hard for us and although first half they did that, I didn’t think we were at the races – not because of jitters, but because we didn’t play particularly well.

“I felt in the second half we came out and were more positive. Their goal came from a very dubious decision from the referee, they get the free-kick when Wardy (Elliott Ward) gets up with blood all over his face – that was a strange one. Then we were disappointed we didn’t mark Browny in the box. We got back into the game and kept going like we do, and we know we should have won it. Even with Wes’ chance, we had a couple more to get all three points.”

The build-up to Preston’s goal was not the only moment of contention towards South Yorkshire referee Craig Pawson, as far as Holt was concerned.

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The striker was also booked for going down too easily in the penalty area before Hoolahan’s penalty, despite what seemed a clumsy challenge by North End substitute Bailey Wright, and also questioned the six minutes of injury time added after the usual 90. “I felt there should have been more than six minutes – every time one of them got touched they went down for five,” smarted Holt.

“But that summed the referee’s afternoon up. He booked Albi (Aaron Wilbraham) for when the goalkeeper had the ball in one hand, he books me for going down too easy, then he gives a free-kick for jumping for a header. He hasn’t had the best of afternoons, I’m sure he’ll know that. I thought he was a little bit nit-picky and he didn’t really let the game flow, and that kind of killed us as well.”

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On his booking, Holt added: “I said to the referee, I don’t actually know what he sees, why he thinks I should go down. I’m six yards out and ready to pull the trigger, and I fall over? It doesn’t make sense. He said he was going to have a look at it, but I don’t know why he’s going to bother because he can’t turn my yellow card around.”

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