Worthington fury over horror tackle

DAVID CUFFLEY Nigel Worthington was livid over the tackle that led to Ian Henderson being stretchered off with a knee injury in the Carling Cup victory at Rotherham, declaring: “There's no place for it in football.


City boss Nigel Worthington was livid over the tackle that led to Ian Henderson being stretchered off with a knee injury in last night's Carling Cup victory at Rotherham, declaring: “There's no place for it in football.”

The 21-year-old forward departed midway through the second half of the Canaries' 4-2 second round win at Millmoor. The extent of his injury was being assessed today.

It was quickly apparent that Henderson was in trouble following a challenge by Rotherham midfielder Michael Keane. He immediately signalled for attention and, after play was held up for nearly five minutes, he was carried away on a stretcher, adding another name to City's lengthy casualty list.

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Cheshire referee Scott Mathieson did not award a free-kick, but Keane was shown the yellow card as tempers flared after the incident.

Said Worthington: “With the challenge on Henderson, there was a situation there where man, ball and everything was taken. It was under the fourth official's nose, the linesman's nose and the referee had a very good view of it. It certainly should have been a free-kick, but I'm not bothered about that. I'm more bothered about Hendo's situation.

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“He's got a nasty one. We'll assess him again in the morning and then hopefully be a little bit clearer about exactly what it is.

“You saw a challenge the other week on Pedro Mendes of Portsmouth, a horrible challenge, and that challenge tonight, there's no place for it in football. There are ways of tackling, challenging and to take everything out, I'm not happy with the challenge.”

Club captain Craig Fleming, who skippered the side with Adam Drury sidelined by injury and Gary Doherty rested - and scored City's third goal - admitted it had been a rough battle against the League One side.

“I thought it was a bit naughty at times, to be honest. I'd like to see the video, but I thought the challenge on Hendo was pretty poor. That was my initial reaction. Again if I see it and I'm wrong, so be it,” said Fleming.

Ryan Jarvis struck twice and first-half striking partner Peter Thorne opened the scoring as City booked their place in round three, but it was far from plain sailing after Worthington fielded just four of the starting line-up from Saturday's home defeat by Crystal Palace.

Said Fleming: “We got a dream start and were really cruising, I thought. We started ever so well and then we just capitulated, went to pieces. We sat back, made a lot of mistakes, rushed, didn't pass it. Everything that you don't want to do in a game of football we did for half an hour.

“And they punished us. They got an iffy penalty - the actual challenge, and the fact I thought it was outside the box. I could be wrong on both but it looked a good three yards outside the box to me.

“But we came back. It was a young side, but we showed a lot of character. It was a difficult game to play in, very physical. I thought the young guys did really well. It's fantastic for them. They come in there, get a bit of battering and bruising and they come through and win the game as well and we're in the next round. That's what we came here for.

“I was absolutely delighted, it was good to score. We showed great character, we kept on pushing. In times gone by we might have capitulated, lost the game and gone out of the Cup, but we dug in, showed a lot of character and to come through like we did I thought it was tremendous, especially with the young side that we had.”

Fleming said the competition was still one that mattered a great deal to City.

“It's very important for the lads, definitely, and for the club as well, financially and just confidence wise,” he said.

“It was a different side to the one that's playing in the league, so it's great for the lads who are playing, like myself, Peter Thorne, Andy Hughes, we haven't had a game. It's great for us to be playing. If you win a couple more games, it starts getting a bit serious then. You start talking about quarter-final and semi-final stages.

“It's been shown before with teams in this league. Teams like Sheffield United have gone a long way. Anything can happen.

“Our record has been dreadful in this competition since I've been at Norwich, so that's one thing I'd like to put right, definitely. It can help with your league form as well.”

Worthington, who also rested internationals Youssef Safri and Robert Earnshaw, said: “I was very pleased with the first 15 minutes of the game. I thought we passed the ball well, scored a great goal, well worked and well finished, and then the fancy dan stuff came out again. We lost the ball in midfield, we were flimsy and all of a sudden they were back in the game.

“In the second half, I thought we passed the ball much better for long periods and when we did that, we created three very good goals.

“But we've got to keep passing the ball. I would like to have made the game easier for ourselves than we did. Even at 3-2 up, I thought we could have killed the game off by keeping the ball, seeing time out.”

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