Norwich City 1 v Cardiff City 1

Last updated : 10 September 2011 By Mark Burchett & John Maiden

Mark Burchett and John Maiden report from Carrow Road as two of the top sides in the nPower Championship produced an entertaining game and Norwich & Cardiff had to be content with sharing the points.

It had looked likely, that for the second game running, having succumbed to an early goal and then enjoying the lions share of the possession the Canaries would again fail to get anything.

City had fallen behind to Jon Parkin's goal, but this time they deservedly equalised in the 90th minute through Russell Martin to set up a grandstand finish.

Paul Lambert had made four changes to the side that started at home last Saturday against Leyton Orient in the FA Cup 3rd round.

Predictably, he recalled Grant Holt to partner Chris Martin up front and John Ruddy in goal. Although Declan Rudd who played last week was missing from the match-day squad as it emerged the 20 year old keeper, fractured his jaw during the week. Andrew Crofts and the fit-again Henri Lansbury were preferred in midfield, with the ineffective Anthony McNamee dropping out of the squad completely. while Korey Smith is unfortunate to drop to the bench.

Lambert's second January transfer window signing, Marc Tierney from Colchester, was handed an immediate place on the bench.

For the visitors, Dave Jones preferred the ex Manchester United Tom Heaton in goal instead of ex-Canary David Marshall and hands an immediate debut to Jon Parkin who signed from Preston this week.

For the first time in his career since leaving the Club that nurtured his young talent, Craig Bellamy returned to Carrow Road. The Premiership striker on loan from Manchester City was passed fit and deservedly received a warm welcome from everyone in the 25,270 Carrow Road crowd.

The home-side were punished by Cardiff for getting off to a sluggish start when the latest addition to the Bluebirds' ranks gave his side an early lead. It was route one stuff as Parkin headed a long clearance to Michael Chopra and then, when the ball was played back to him, he hit a perfect volley with the outside of his right boot from the edge of the penalty area to beat John Ruddy's despairing dive to his right.

This was in the seventh minute, but for the rest of the match the home side dominated, with the visitors only posing a threat from the occasional break-away. Norwich might easily have been on level terms in the first half, but Russell Martin's shot went inches over and David Fox saw his long range strike hit the bar and bounce over.

Referee Keith Stroud was probably the only person in the ground to think Norwich should not have been awarded a penalty when Grant Holt was tripped - provoking speculation after the game that Mr Stroud might have been unduly influenced by Neil Warnock's rant about Holt after his QPR side had left Carrow Road empty handed!

HALF-TIME: City 0 Cardiff 1

The second half followed a similar pattern, with the Canaries enjoying most of the possession without getting the better of a packed Bluebirds' defence.

At the other end John Ruddy added to his growing reputation when he foiled Chopra by holding on to his shot in a one-on-one situation. Then, with the game entering five minutes of stoppage time, substitute Simon Lappin's low left wing cross reached the impressive Russell Martin beyond the far post, after a touch by Aaron Wilbraham, and the Norwich full back smashed his right foot shot into the net off the underside of the crossbar to earn a point, which was less than Norwich deserved after taking the game to Cardiff for most of the ninety minutes.

Russell Martin's attacking role in this game was made all the more remarkable, because his primary purpose was to minimize the threat posed by Bellamy, who was hardly given a chance to spoil the day for his former fans...

FULL-TIME: City 1 Cardiff 1