Warner abuse is all in a day’s work

DAVID CUFFLEY Goalkeeper Tony Warner rode out a rough reception at his former home ground - then earned praise from Norwich City boss Peter Grant for a “fantastic” save he admits he didn't make.


Goalkeeper Tony Warner rode out a rough reception at his former home ground - then earned praise from Norwich City boss Peter Grant for a “fantastic” save he admits he didn't make.

A 1-0 defeat by Cardiff City left the Canaries in 17th place in the Coca-Cola Championship table, still only eight points clear of the bottom three, after Warner was beaten by Paul Parry's deflected effort in only the third minute at Ninian Park.

The 32-year-old 'keeper was not unduly worried about being the target of some fairly lively barracking by Bluebirds fans, but was pleasantly surprised to be credited with a first-half block from Peter Whittingham which he admitted was the work of defender Jason Shackell.

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Grant, dismayed by City's weary first-half showing, said: “We were so far off the pace and it took Tony Warner to make a fantastic save that people will probably forget about in the first half, to keep it at 1-0.”

From the low elevation of the dug-out - and indeed the Press box - it did appear Warner had diverted Whittingham's effort over the top, but he looked puzzled when asked about his “wonder” save.

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He said: “I think it was Shacks, but thanks very much. I've always been told when somebody gives you compliments you've got to take them. It was Shacks who got across. From what I could see, I wasn't even close.”

Warner, on loan from Fulham until the end of the season, hailed his opposite number, birthday boy Neil Alexander, for two great saves but admitted that City were far less impressive on his third appearance than in his first two.

His verdict on the performance?

“Poor. We conceded a bit of a sloppy goal, they were a bit fortunate with the deflection. We were up against it from four minutes on. I think Cardiff were quite poor as well, but unfortunately we were worse. It was a dour game, really, to be involved in and probably to watch as well.”

However, he said: “I'm enjoying my time here. The squad has very good ability. Barnsley speaks for itself, and against Derby some of the passing was fantastic. We went 1-0 up and should have sealed the game but it's probably a sign of a team that is on the up that they play badly and still win games. That was what Derby did to us. There were just some sloppy things which cost us the goals. Today was poor, really. But if you ask me what I think of the team, I think it's a good side.”

City face leaders Birmingham at Carrow Road tomorrow night and Warner admitted: “Birmingham will be a very difficult game. Hopefully if we can get a result it will put us in good stead against Stoke on Saturday.”

As for his hostile welcome from Welsh fans, Warner said: “I was expecting that. It's just the way it goes. It's the way it always has been with ex-players. That's the way they are down here. I knew it was going to come, so it wasn't a surprise.”

Grant said of his latest goalkeeping recruit: “He has done terrific for us. He made a great save today. He's a big presence for us. This something we're looking at. I know he's still got a year and a bit to go at Fulahm, so there's obviously a long way to go.

“We've had four goalkeepers in since I came here, so it keeps changing all the time. “I'm disappointed he's ended up on the losing side again.”

Scotland international Paul Gallacher was back on the bench on Saturday after being dropped to make way for Warner, but Grant said he was definitely in the market for a goalkeeper.

He said: “Everybody knows that. I brought David Marshall in and David got the injury against Chelsea. Tony's come in and taken the number one spot. Young Joe Lewis wasn't on the bench because he injured his arm in training yesterday. I've got good quality but I just feel we need that bit of experience and Tony's got vast experience.”

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