Swindon Town 1, Norwich City 1
David Cuffley SLIDESHOW: A goal two minutes into stoppage time by Swindon skipper Gordon Greer denied League One leaders Norwich City another away success. Greer headed home from a corner to give the Robins a point after a late rally by the home side. But skipper Grant Holt’s 28th goal of the season was still enough to put the Canaries eight points clear at the top.
A goal two minutes into stoppage time by Swindon skipper Gordon Greer denied League One leaders Norwich City another away success.
Greer headed home from a corner to give the Robins a point after a late rally by the home side.
But skipper Grant Holt's 28th goal of the season was still enough to put the Canaries eight points clear at the top.
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Nearly 3,000 travelling supporters were at the County Ground to see City take the lead, Holt heading home from a cross by full-back Michael Rose seven minutes after half-time.
There were a few moments of alarm in the opening half, when Swindon had one penalty claim denied, but once the Canaries went ahead, they seemed to have the upper hand and looked set to record a fourth successive away win.
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Goalkeeper Fraser Forster made brilliant saves from Alan Sheehan and Jonathan Douglas in stoppage time, but was finally beaten when Greer headed home Alan Sheehan's corner.
City boss Lambert named the same starting eleven and seven substitutes from the 3-1 win at Huddersfield.
It meant loan signing Stephen Elliott had to be content with a place on the bench despite his two goals after coming on at the Galpharm Stadium, with full-back Adam Drury also kept waiting for a recall.
Winger Anthony McNamee was also on the bench against his former club.
Swindon included loan signing Frank Nouble, from West Ham, in their attack alongside 15-goal Charlie Austin, who made his Football League debut as a substitute in the game at Carrow Road in November.
Most of City's travelling fans were at the uncovered end of the stadium on a wet afternoon, but they were in good voice when the two sides took the field.
The Canaries, wearing their all white away kit, kicked off and Hoolahan let fly from long range in the opening seconds but fired into the crowd.
Forster was brought into action for the first time as he gathered a cross from Sheehan under pressure.
Russell Martin cut out a cross from Austin and Korey Smith blocked a shot from Easton as the hosts pressed again.
With 16 minutes gone, Swindon's appeals for a penalty were turned down as Nouble got away from Nelson on the left and appeared to be brought down by the centre-half. It was debatable whether the challenge was in the area, but referee Mathieson waved play on, to the anger of the home crowd.
In the 20th minute, Nelson was involved in the other penalty area, heading Lappin's free-kick goalwards but keeper Smith was right behind it.
Russell just fired wide from the edge of the area a minute later.
Russell was rather further off target when Lappin's corner reached him on the edge of the area in the 24th minute.
There was an escape for the home side when a cross from Rose swept dangerously across the six-yard box with no one able to get a touch.
Korey Smith was in trouble after half an hour when he jarred his ankle as Jean-Francois attempted to block his clearance, but the midfielder was able to carry on without treatment.
A splendid crossfield ball from Hoolahan gave Chris Martin the chance to cut inside and shoot, left-footed, but he was a yard wide of the target.
There was a double scare for City six minutes before the break. First Ward struck a tremendous long-range effort just over the top, Forster just getting a touch. Then, from the resulting corner by McGovern, Russell blocked Greer's goalbound header just a couple of yards from the line.
Ward fired wide again in the final minute of the half.
t Half-time: Swindon Town 0, Norwich City 0
Two minutes after the break, Ward threatened again as he wriggled through and forced Forster into action with a right-foot shot, though the challenge from Rose took some of the force out of his effort.
In the 52nd minute, City broke the deadlock with skipper Grant Holt scoring his 28th goal of the season. Hoolahan and Korey Smith worked the ball to Rose wide on the left and his cross into the six-yard box was met with a firm header by Holt, getting ahead of defender Jean-Francois.
A foul by Nelson gave Swindon a free-kick six yards outside the area but Sheehan struck the dead-ball kick straight into the crowd.
Chris Martin came very close to making it 2-0 on the hour when his free-kick from just outside the area struck the angle of post and crossbar.
Two minutes later, Hoolahan found Holt and the skipper let fly from 30 yards but was just off target.
The first yellow card of the afternoon was shown to Swindon's Easton in the 64th minute when Hoolahan was just too quick for him and was chopped down.
Good work by Ward set up Austin, who turned and struck a low shot from 20 yards, but Forster was right behind it.
Nouble then went past several white shirts before finding McGovern on the right, but the winger's cross whistled across the face of the goal without a final touch.
Swindon then made a double change by introducing Timlin and Marshall for Easton and Nouble.
Elliott replaced Chris Martin with 17 minutes left as City made their first change, then Swindon boss Wilson replaced his other striker, Pericard coming on for Austin.
Forster saved from Ward, Swindon's best performer, diving at his left-hand post to smother the shot.
There was another change for Norwich with 12 minutes to go when Hughes replaced Lappin.
Nelson made a vital clearance to deny Douglas the chance of a header in the six-yard box as Swindon tried to find a way back into the game.
Forster kept out a curling free-kick from Alan Sheehan in stoppage time at the end of the game to preserve their lead, then saved brilliantly from Douglas.
But he was finally beaten as Greer headed home from Sheehan's corner.
t Result: Swindon Town 1, Norwich City 1
t Swindon Town: Phil Smith; Darby, Greer, Jean-Francois, Sheehan; McGovern, Easton, Douglas, Ward; Nouble, Austin.
Subs: Jesionkowski, Thompson, Timlin (for Easton, 67), Ritchie, Bodin, Marshall (for Nouble, 67), Perciard (for Austin, 75).
t Norwich City: Forster; Russell Martin, Doherty, Nelson, Rose; Russell; Smith, Lappin; Hoolahan; Holt, Chris Martin.
Subs: Rudd, Drury, McVeigh, Hughes (for Lappin, 78), McNamee, Johnson, Elliott (for Chris Martin, 73).
t Referee: Scott Mathieson (Cheshire)
t Attendance: 11,972
t Goals: Swindon: Greer (90). Norwich: Holt (52)
t Bookings: Swindon: Easton (64)