Norwich City 3 Blackburn Rovers 3

By Mark Burchett
Last updated : 29 October 2011

An injury time Grant Holt penalty for the Canaries saw them deservedly share the spoils from a pulsating game at Carrow Road.

They had fallen behind on the stroke of half-time to David Hoilett strike, but got back on level terms early in the second half through Steve Morrison. Then two goals in two minutes from Ayegbeni Yakuba and Christopher Samba looked like they had given under-fire Steve Kean's side a real stranglehold on the game.

But with just 8 minutes left and City still trailing 3-1, a Paul Lambert inspired comeback saw Bradley Johnson beat Rovers keeper Paul Robinson to set up a barn-storming finish culminating in Holt's successful conversion.

For the visit of bottom of the table Blackburn Rovers, Lambert had named an unchanged line-up for the sixth game running. It meant, despite his goal to give City a share of the points at Liverpool last week, club captain Grant Holt had to be content with coming off the bench again to make his impact.

Blackburn got the game underway, kicking off towards the Barclay End, although compared to City's last home game when they were beating Swansea 2-0 after ten minutes, it was a more even and measured start to the game.

There was a lengthy stoppage when Morten Gamst Pedersen and Gael Givet clashed heads after they both went to head clear the same ball and with blood on their shirts briefly left their side reduced to nine men.

City won their first corner in the 16th minute when Anthony Pilkington struck Elliott Bennett's cross well from outside the area deflecting off Steven Nzonzi. The same player then cleared David Fox's delivery.

They then won another in the next minute as Paul Robinson could only put Fox's shot around the post. Yet again Fox's flag-kick was cleared, this time by Christopher Samba.

Samba was fouled Elliot Bennett in the 24th minute which saw referee Mr Taylor produced the games first caution.

As the half, which had lacked clear cut chances for either side, drew to a close it was punctuated with more fouls and looked as though the players would go in at the break goal-less. But deep into stoppage time for the visitors Hoilett produced a magnificent strike from the edge of the area to beat John Ruddy into the top corner. This was rough justice on the Canaries as they had looked comfortable on the ball and not in any danger when Blackburn did rarely threatened Ruddy's goal.

HALF-TIME: City 0 Rovers 1

It took Lambert's side just eight minutes to deservedly equalise after the break. His players, no doubt with his words still ringing in their ears, start strongly and peg Blackburn back forcing them into conceding several fouls.

Morrison produced as wonderful a finish as Hoilett did to bring the Canaries right back into the game in front of the Barclay end. Leon Barnett had crossed the ball into Morrison's path on the edge of the area, who then fired a volley that gave Robinson no chance.

However, Rovers struck back and the experienced Yakuba put his struggling side back into the lead in the 62nd minute putting Mauro Formica's ball into the bottom right corner.

In their next move Hoilett ran at City's defence which was abruptly halted by Leon Bennett, earning him a yellow card. Samba's diving header at the far post from the resulting Pedersen free-kick, to give Rovers a surprising 3-1 lead, stunning the home crowd.

The home players didn't panic and a move down the right ended with Bennett's cross being put out for a corner. Before Fox could take it, Lambert decided it was time to throw on his talismanic striker Holt, sacrificing the width of Bennett.

With just over 20 minutes remaining the Rovers boss was keen to hold onto what his side had making a double substitution. The more defensive David Goodwillie and David Dunn replaced Yakuba and Ruben Rochina.

With different motives Lambert also made a double change in the 75th minute with Simeon Jackson and Andrew Crofts coming on for Fox and Pilkington, giving the Canaries three strikers on the pitch!

David Lowe paid the price for trying to slow the game down and was rightly penalised for time wasting by referee Taylor showing him Blackburn's first yellow card.

Another City attack ended when Givet cleared off the line to deny Holt's cross-shot and after a scramble in the area, Robinson claimed the ball from the corner. Within seconds at the other end substitute Dunn had Ruddy scrambling across the goal as his shot was just outside the keepers far post.

Bradley Johnson's 20 yard shot deflected off Lowe's heal and looped up and over the stranded Robinson to reduce the deficit to just one goal, with the home fans increasing the atmosphere inside Carrow Road.

And in the fourth of five extra-time minutes Nzonzi handled Morrison's header handing City a deserved lifeline to snatch a draw. Up stepped the cool and calm head of Holt who made no mistake from 12 yards, putting his right foot shot past Robinson.

The point for Blackburn was enough to lift them off the bottom of the Premiership but for City now means they've only lost once in their last six premiership games.

FULL-TIME: City 3 Rovers 3

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