Norwich come from 2-0 down to deny Charlton the top spot!

Last updated : 21 September 2009 By Mark Burchett and John Maiden
Norwich City 2 Charlton 2
Norwich City captain Grant Holt led by example and it was only fitting
that he got the goal in second half stoppage time to earn his side a
point. Although, it was an all-round team performance that the players
can all be proud of.

First half goals from Deon Burton and Jonjo Shelvey looked as though
the Londoners would continue their reign at the top of League One. But
Wes Hoolahan’s goal just before half-time gave the Canaries hope, which
was matched by a more dominant second-half performance.

Afterwards Paul Lambert was full of praise for his team, singling out
Man of the Match, Wes Hoolahan and young Korey Smith for their part in
a memorable comeback against the early League One pacesetters.

While a disappointed Addicks' boss said: “The way we’ve been playing,
we probably came here expecting three points, but I’d have accepted the
point beforehand. Norwich had a lot of pressure, they had a lot of
corners and got a lot of crosses in and had a real go at us in the
second half.”

Adam Drury recovered from the hip injury he suffered in Monday night’s
2-1 defeat at MK Dons, but Michael Nelson and Stephen Hughes were not
as lucky, forcing Paul Lambert into more changes than he would have
liked. Their places were taken by Michael Spillane and Darel Russell

There was a surprise recall for playmaker Wes Hoolahan, who had looked
to be out of the City boss’s plans, with Chris Martin the unfortunate
player to drop to the bench. The Irishman was given a free
role in behind Grant Holt who played up front on his own.

City kicked off towards the River End and immediately put
the league leaders under pressure.

In the sixth minute a slick passing move saw the Canaries cut through
the visitors' defence, with Smith running perfectly into the inside right
channel to collect the ball,

This sparked the Addicks into life and they immediately countered,
although Thierry Racon’s push on Smith, right under the referee’s nose,
ended it abruptly.

City then won the game's first corner. Lappin’s
in-swinging delivery found Ostemobor beyond the far post. His firm
header was pushed out by Charlton keeper Rob Elliot. Spillane
reacted quickest to the loose ball, but his shot was blocked on the line.

The Canaries kept up this pressure and won another corner, which
Charlton cleared but Elliot had to be alert to grab the ball when it
was crossed back into the box.

There was a break in play in the fourteenth minute for Drury, who has
been in the wars in recent games, to receive treatment after Lloyd Sam
had clattered into him.

Lappin broke up a Charlton attack at the expense of a corner,
which was to prove very costly. Shelvey’s right wing corner was headed
straight into the back of Forster’s net by a diving Deon Burton to stun the
home crowd.

Norwich had an immediate chance to get back on level terms but were
not as clinical from a 19th minute corner.

As Charlton attacked again, Sam was penalised for going in too
hard on Forster, who took several seconds to get back on his feet.

Holt somehow failed to get his shot on target, when he seemed
certain to score after Smith had picked him out with a perfectly weighted
through ball.

Berthel Askou was then shown the yellow card in the 27th minute for a
foul on Shelvey, but City easily dealt with the resulting free kick.

Ostemobor produced a burst of speed to get ahead of Bailey
enabling him to get the ball to his keeper who cleared up field.

Racon then brought a save from Forster with his shot from outside
the penalty area.

Mr Tanner then incurred the wrath of the home support and City
players, as he did not see Christian Dailly’s challenge on Holt as a
foul, let alone a booking.

In the 34th minute City attempted to force their visitors back, with
first Lappin from the left, then Hoolahan from the right, attempting
shots that were scrambled clear. They immediately counter attacked
winning a corner, but this time City defended more resolutely.

Norwich were caught out cold in the 40th minute as Charlton broke
rapidly following a poor City free kick at the other end. Sam crossed
from the touchline into the 6yard area where the unmarked Shelvey had
time and space to direct his header past Forster’s right hand to
extend the Addicks’ lead.

City pulled a goal back just four minutes
later and it owed everything to Holt’s quick thinking as he forced
a defender into conceding a throw-in. He took it quickly, finding the
alert Hoolahan, running in behind Charlton’s defence and although he
still had a lot to do, he beat Elliot to his right with a firm left foot

Inexplicably Nicky Bailey avoided even a yellow card from the referee
when he appeared to kick out at Holt, right in front of
the dugouts! This brought the usual comments from the home crowd
on his ability, or, lack of it, to referee the game.
This was followed by boos and chants of 'cheat'
as Steve Tanner blew for half time.

HALF TIME: City 1 Charlton 2

Neither side made any changes and the second half started as the first
ended with both sides looking to play attacking football.

City and in particular Smith produce a wonderful piece of play in the
50th minute. Forster had set Lappin away down the left and the winger
found Hoolahan in the middle; the Irishman picked out Smith who was
quickly closed down.

Undeterred, City kept plugging away with Lappin’s drifting left wing
cross being headed out for a corner.

Charlton conceded an unnecessary corner and Lappin’s in swinging
delivery caused all sorts of panic in their six-yard area.

Drury’s long ball into Charlton’s box had them back-pedalling but
neither Hoolahan, nor Lappin could quite find enough space to shoot and
when Smith did, it was deflected over the goal for a corner.

City won their seventh corner in the 64th minute. Lappin again caused
panic and all the keeper could do was punch it up into the air, before
Phil Parkinson’s men did eventually clear.

Then City got at Charlton again, with Holt picking the ball up on the
left and putting in a cross which Elliot could only palm out as far as
Smith. The
keeper recovered enough to block the 18-year-old’s shot with his out-
stretched hand and a defender completed the clearance.

Charlton then attempted to get a foothold into the game as they
won a corner. Before it was taken the Canaries made their first change
of the afternoon with Chris Martin replacing Luke Daley.

Charlton made a double substitution in the 73rd minute with Scott
Wagstaff and Izale McLeod coming on for Sam and goal-scorer Shelvey.

Twice within as many minutes the Canaries were denied goal-scoring
opportunities by the offside flag, as first Holt then Drury were caught

Then with just over 10 minutes of the game left, Smith’s persistence
down the right won yet another corner. This time Lappin’s delivery
found Holt deep in the Addicks’ area, but his header was well over.

In the 83rd minute Elliot denied City the equaliser their play
deserved. Holt did exceptionally well, not only to win his header under
pressure, but also direct it to Smith. The youngster showed a level
head as he controlled his volley, hitting it downwards, but the
Charlton keeper was equal to it, tipping the ball over the bar as it
bounced up and looked destined for the roof of the net.

In the 85th minute substitute McLeod missed an ideal chance to put the
game beyond the Canaries as he surged into the area from the left, but
put his shot wide of the far post.

With just two minutes left of normal time, Cody McDonald repaced
the impressive Smith.

Then, in the first of four added minutes, Carrow Road erupted as this
time a City cross resulted in a well-deserved equaliser. Martin, from
the left wing found Holt with a deflected cross and he out-jumped Elliot
to get his head on the ball, which bounced gently into the unguarded net .

Amid tumultuous noise City took yet another corner, which although
Charlton initially cleared, the home side reclaimed possession.
The ball was put back into the area and, with his back to goal, McDonald
produced an overhead kick that came very close to ending Charlton's
unbeaten run

FULL TIME: City 2 Charlton 2


Forster (GK), Drury (McVeigh 90 +3), Spillane, Berthel Askou,
Ostemobor, Lappin, Smith (McDonald 89), Russell, Daley (Martin 71),
Hoolahan, Holt ©

Unused Subs: Rudd (GK), Cureton, Adeyemi, Stephens.

Elliot (GK), Richardson, Youga, Bailey, Llera, Semedo, Shelvey (McLeod
73), Racon, Burton, Sam (Wagstaff 73), Dailly

Unused Subs: Randolp (GK), Spring, Sodje, Solly, Tuna.


City: Berthel Askou (foul) 27m,

Charlton: Semedo (foul) 54, Llera (Persistent fouling) 56, McLeod
(foul) 90, Wagstaff (foul) 90 +2.

Referee: Mr Steve Tanner

Attendance: 24,018