Simple for Simon

DAVID CUFFLEY Practice makes perfect - that was the message from matchwinner and manager as a stoppage-time goal gave Norwich City a priceless victory at Luton on Tuesday night.


Practice makes perfect - that was the message from matchwinner and manager as a stoppage-time goal gave Norwich City a priceless victory at Luton last night.

Midfielder Simon Lappin curled in a direct free-kick three minutes into time added on to complete a 3-2 win at Kenilworth Road.

It was his first goal for the club and the Canaries' first Coca-Cola Championship double of the season.

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Those three precious points lifted Peter Grant's men two places in the table to 16th, and moved them six points clear of the bottom three with a game in hand.

For 24-year-old Lappin, it was reward for additional hours of dead-ball practice on the training ground with team-mates such as Youssef Safri and fellow Scot Mark Fotheringham.

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He said: “When I saw where it was, I quite fancied it. Stepping up to it, I said that to Saf, and he was quite happy for me to hit it and it was great to see it in the back of the net.

“I like to practise them and it was great to see it fly in the net. It makes all the practice worthwhile. I'll keep practising even more now.”

But Lappin was keen to deflect the credit as City twice came from behind to secure their first away win in the league since November.

He said: “It's not about me. It's about getting three points at a very difficult place to come to. I was delighted with the points.

“I think it shows you what we've got in the dressing room - great character, after going behind twice and then coming back into the game.

“I don't think many teams come here and get it easy but we're absolutely delighted.”

Luton led twice through Bjorn Runstrom and Drew Talbot, but each time City levelled, thanks to Chris Martin's third senior goal then Jason Shackell's second in three matches.

The Canaries thought they had snatched a winner moments before Lappin struck when Luton defender Lewis Emanuel headed off the line from ex-Hatter Gary Doherty.

Said Lappin: “A few of the boys said it had crossed the line, but it was kind of difficult for me to tell, standing at the edge of the box.”

Grant backed that claim when he said: “I thought we'd scored prior to the winner. I thought the ball was a yard over the line. The referee's not given it and I thought there goes that little bit of luck that you need.

“And then we got another chance. It was one of those where you were shouting to Lee Croft to run it in the corner, but he's driven at the back four and got pulled down and got a free-kick. And Simon Lappin got his just rewards because he's out on the training pitch maybe an hour and a half after everybody else, maybe with Safri and Fotheringham, practising their free-kicks. They got their rewards tonight.

“The biggest thing in set plays is delivery. Safri's delivery was excellent, Lappin's delivery from the other side was excellent. It wasn't just by luck, more by good practice.”

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