Chris Martin’s Norwich City reunion for Derby falls just short
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Derby fans revelled in chanting to their visitors that Chris Martin was too good for Norwich City – and at times on the pitch, the evidence was backing it up.
Always the focus for the Rams’ attacks, the 26-year-old rarely gave away the ball, made the opening goal, won and scored a second-half penalty that a certain former Norwich team-mate and number nine would have been very proud of earning – and looked like he would end up on the winning side.
But even Martin admitted that would have been an injustice for his old club.
“It would have been nice to hold out and we were slightly disappointed with the manner of the goal at the end, but I think when we reflect on it on the balance of play, it was probably a fair result,” said Martin.
“It was tough at times. They’re a very good side – Norwich are one of the best sides that have come here for a long time and they played some really good football. So we had to dig deep and show a bit of character, and I think we did that, staying 2-1 up for such a long time.
“We were just deflated by the equaliser right at the end, but with the run of results we’ve had and performances not quite being good enough, we knew it was going to be scrappy.”
A painful defeat at promotion rivals Middlesbrough the previous weekend still hurt when Derby were put out of the League Cup by Chelsea at the Ipro in midweek – albeit with an improved performance. So they could at least be satisfied with avoiding a third straight defeat – if not by Martin Olsson’s handball in the lengthy build-up to Steven Whittaker’s late equaliser, which was not acted upon by referee Paul Tierney.
“Every game, there are going to be decisions that go against you,” said Martin. “We were a bit disappointed because we felt it was quite obvious. I was stood right behind it…and the player’s arm was outstretched. It’s just a shame the referee didn’t see it.
“We’re disappointed the equaliser came so late. But they put us under a fair bit of pressure in the second half and had a few chances. They could have even won it at the end.”
Martin’s goal came with a celebration – although it was nothing personal: “It’s nice to score at anytime; strikers live and breathe for that so I was delighted,” he added. “But I want to score winning goals and I’m disappointed it wasn’t that.”
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