Gary O’Neil sorry for his moment of Norwich City madness at Stoke – and Jonny Howson won’t rub it in

Jonny Howson celebrates scoring Norwich City's equaliser at the Britannia Stadium. Picture by Paul C

Jonny Howson celebrates scoring Norwich City's equaliser at the Britannia Stadium. Picture by Paul Chesterton/Focus Images - Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

It was apologies all round from Gary O'Neil following his Britannia Stadium misdemeanour – but Jonny Howson acknowledged no one needed to tell his midfield colleague the error of his ways.

O'Neil's indefensible 31st-minute red card for a reckless challenge on Ibrahim Afellay with the game goalless, was the headline act of Norwich City's 3-1 Premier League defeat at Stoke on Wednesday night.

Despite their numerical disadvantage, City were still dreaming of taking points back to Norwich thanks to Jonny Howson's wonderful equaliser before the hour mark.

O'Neil took to Twitter after City departed Stoke, tweeting: 'Apologised to all the lads and staff. Massive apology to all fans as well. Made a big mistake. Out of character. Won't happen again.'

Howson added: 'Gaz apologised at half-time. He's an experienced player and he'll know what he's done, but it's part and parcel of the game. He obviously hasn't meant to get sent off or anything.

'Sometimes it's just heat of the moment stuff and when it happens, it's hard to deal with. But these things happen.'

The second successive away defeat in the Premier League for Alex Neil's men leaves them 15th in the top-flight table, five points clear of the relegation zone charge now headed by a Sunderland side level on points with north east rivals Newcastle.

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But the night could have been so much happier, after Howson's glorious goal of the season contender brought Norwich level and the 10 men hoping for even more.

'It's always nice to get on the score sheet but it's even nicer when it actually means something and you get something from the game,' added Howson.

'It was one of those where I knew it'd hit it well. I was right behind it and I thought it had a chance, so it's nice when it's like that and you can watch it go in.

'But it doesn't really mean anything. I'd certainly take not scoring and picking something up from the game.'

• Follow Michael Bailey on Twiter @michaeljbailey