Maddison the hero yet again for City as fully deserved point is earned at Derby
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
James Maddison has once again proved his importance to Norwich City, rolling home an equalising penalty calmly to earn a fully deserved point at high-flying Derby County – on an eventful afternoon.
Matej Vydra had fired the Rams in front early on but the hosts were indebted to goalkeeper Scott Carson saving Nelson Oliveira's penalty shortly before half-time.
Curtis Davies twice went close for Derby after the break but fine play from Mortiz Leitner saw Oliveira win a penalty midway through the second half and Maddison rolled home the equaliser.
Christoph Zimmermann had done well to deflect a shot from former Ipswich loanee Tom Lawrence wide in the fifth minute but Oliveira should have put the Canaries in front four minutes later.
The Portuguese forward did well to outmuscle Marcus Olsson on the edge of the Derby box and go through one-on-one against Carson only to see the keeper get down to his left to keep out the low shot.
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The Rams then took the lead in the 12th minute after Jamal Lewis was out-numbered at left-back, allowing Ikechi Anya to play the division's top scorer Vydra into the box, who turned swiftly and lashed a low shot into the bottom-left corner to register his 17th goal of the season.
The visitors improved as the half went on, with Jamal Lewis slipping Maddison into the left channel in the 22nd minute, the playmaker cutting on to his right boot and curling a low effort but again Carson read it and got down early to collect the shot easily enough.
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Moritz Leitner – starting for the first time in place of the injured Tom Trybull – was an increasing influence and his fine pass played Maddison into the right channel in the 38th minute, who cut inside Carson and was clipped but it was only after the referee had spoken to one of his assistants that a penalty was given, to the anger of the home fans who felt Maddison had gone down easily.
Oliveira, without a goal in nine matches and the only player to have missed during City's penalty shoot-out defeat at Chelsea in the FA Cup last month, grabbed the ball.
However, the Portugal international saw former England keeper Carson guess right and dive to his right to save his penalty effort and pass up a fine chance to equalise.
It was a let off for the Rams and referee Jeremy Simpson waved away another City penalty claim in the 43rd minute, after Richard Keogh had fallen on Josh Murphy as he controlled another fine Leitner pass – seemingly not daring to anger the home faithful further.
Oliveira lashed a low shot just wide early in the second half but grew more frustrated with every stray touch as his struggle for form continued.
Angus Gunn had to be alert at his near post to claim a Davies header from a Tom Huddlestone free-kick in the 54th minute and the defender headed on to the roof of the net four minutes later after Oliveira turned his back when he should have been blocking Lawrence's cross from the left.
Murphy lashed over from 20 yards after a fine through-ball from Timm Klose in the 66th minute – before Leitner's wonderful back-heel resulted in another penalty opportunity for the Canaries.
Oliveira was clattered and Leitner smashed the ball past Carson from close range only to turn in disgust to hear the referee blow for a penalty but Maddison made no mistake from the spot, slotting his 10th goal of an outstanding individual campaign and level the score.
Carson got down well to deny Oliveira again in the 79th minute, with Daniel Farke throwing Dennis Srbeny on for his debut up front with five minutes remaining.
Other than Srbeny being booked for clattering Keogh and Derby boss Gary Rowett motioning that Maddison was a diver as he was replaced by Marco Stiepermann in injury-time, there was little goal-mouth action, with Stiepermann making a good block from an Andre Wisdom shot from the edge of the box.
The Canaries return to action next Sunday when East Anglian derby rivalries renew with Ipswich at Carrow Road.
Norwich: Gunn; Hanley, Zimmermann, Klose; Reed, Tettey (C), Leitner, Lewis; Maddison (Stiepermann 90+1), Murphy (Srbeny 87), Oliveira (Hernandez 90+3). Unused subs: McGovern (GK), Pinto, Vrancic, Watkins
Goals: Maddison (pen 72)
Booked: Tettey (foul on Keogh, 28), Reed (foul on Olsson, 53), Srbeny (foul on Keogh, 90)
Derby: Carson; Wisdom, Keogh (C), Davies, Olsson; Thorne (Johnson 83), Huddlestone; Lawrence (Palmer 73), Vydra (Wiemann 73), Anya, Jerome. Unused subs: Roos (GK), Baird, Ledley, Nugent
Goals: Vydra (12)
Booked: Carson (foul on Maddison, 38)
Referee: Jeremy Simpson