Norwich City 1, Cardiff City 1

Full-back Russell Martin scored a dramatic last-minute equaliser to earn Norwich City a point from their big clash with promotion rivals Cardiff at Carrow Road.

Martin, who scored the winner against leaders Queens Park Rangers a fortnight ago, bagged his fourth goal of the season when he scored from close range after substitute Aaron Wilbraham's shot drifted across goal to the far post.

Burly striker Jon Parkin had given Cardiff the lead in only the seventh minute with a well-struck half-volley.

But the Canaries fought back to dominate the opening half with David Fox striking the bar and Grant Holt having a penalty appeal waved aside and a goal disallowed.

Cardiff had chances to make the game safe in the second half, notably when John Ruddy saved from Michael Chopra, but all Norwich's endeavours were finally rewarded as the game approached the 90-minute mark.


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Substitute Simon Lappin's cross was met by Wilbraham's shot, and Martin applied the finishing touch to secure a well-deserved point and prevent Cardiff becoming the first team to double the Canaries since Paul Lambert took over as manager.

Lambert made four changes to the side that started last week's FA Cup defeat at the hands of Leyton Orient.

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Back in the starting line-up were goalkeeper John Ruddy, midfielder Andrew Crofts, skipper and leading scorer Grant Holt, and on-loan Henri Lansbury, returning after missing three league games with a hamstring injury for the last game for which he is eligible before his second loan spell runs out.

Declan Rudd, in goal last week, was ruled out after breaking his jaw in a practice match, while Korey Smith and Aaron Wilbraham were relegated to the bench and winger Anthony McNamee was left out of the 18 completely.

Included on the bench were 18-year-old goalkeeper Jed Steer, in place of the injured Rudd, and new signing Marc Tierney, the left-back who arrived from Colchester on Thursday for an undisclosed fee.

Cardiff boss Dave Jones recalled goalkeeper Tom Heaton in place of ex-Canary David Marshall, and preferred Steve McPhail to Chris Burke in midfield.

Ex-Norwich forward Craig Bellamy was back as skipper, looking for his 150th goal in club football, having scored the first at Carrow Road in 1997.

After just a minute, Russell Martin was left in need of treatment on halfway as he and Barnett challenged Bellamy and he came off worst.

As play continued, Bellamy sped away on the left and it was Hoolahan who headed clear.

In the fifth minute, Whittingham brought Ruddy into action with a crisp volley after being teed up by Chopra.

Cardiff's busy start was rewarded with a goal in the seventh minute and it was a cracking finish by Parkin.

Heaton's long kick forward was nodded on by Parkin to Chopra, who chested the ball into Parkin's path and he had enough space to strike a powerful half-volley past Ruddy.

With 11 minutes gone, Parkin fired wide from just outside the Norwich area as Cariff threatened again.

Russell Martin fired over the top after Holt chested down from Lansbury's cross, and the full-back had another opening moments later when Fox's diagonal ball left him clean through on the right, but he tried to cross and Cardiff were able to clear.

Fox went close to levelling in the 15th minute when he struck the bar with a swerving effort from a square pass by Chris Martin.

Crofts forced Heaton into his first save with a header from Hoolahan's cross as the Canaries looked more threatening.

And they had loud appeals for a penalty turned down in the 20th minute when Holt went for a return pass from Chris Martin and went down under challenge from Quinn, who may have clipped his right ankle, but referee Stroud waved it away and Hoolahan's follow-up shot was straight at Heaton.

A foul by Whittingham on Holt gave Norwich a free-kick on the left, but Barnett headed well over from Fox's kick.

Cardiff might have made it 2-0 when a solid challenge by Chopra on Fox set up the next attack, but as Whittingham found Bellamy on the left side of the area, his low shot lacked the power to beat Ruddy, who had it well covered.

The Canaries thought they had levelled on the half-hour when Holt had a goal disallowed for offside. Chris Martin took Fox's diagonal pass in his stride and struck a powerful drive that Heaton saved low to his right but could not hold, Holt tucking away the rebound before the assistant referee's flag cut short the celebrations.

A foul by Whittingham on Drury gave Norwich another free-kick on the left, but after a lot of shoving in the penalty area, Hoolahan's kick was headed clear by Hudson.

Hoolahan's crosses into the area were causing problems and after Holt failed to connect properly with a volley, Chris Martin was just too far in to get in a clean header and it looped over the top.

In first half stoppage time, Drury was just unable to get on the end of Chris Martin's through-ball as Heaton came racing out to collect.

• HALF-TIME: Norwich City 0, Cardiff City 1

Hudson made an important interception to keep out a cross by Drury after more good work by Hoolahan and, as Norwich began the second period brightly, Russell Martin headed just wide from Drury's cross.

A shot by Hoolahan was blocked by Hudson as the Canaries pressed again, but half-hearted penalty appeals were ignored.

A volley by Parkin from Naylor's cross was Cardiff's first effort of the second half but it rattled into the boards to the left of Ruddy's goal.

The Canaries won their first corner in the 57th minute when Drury's shot was deflected wide by Hudson, but McNaughton got up to head clear from Fox's kick.

Crofts had a shot blocked by Hudson after a one-two with Chris Martin inside the Cardiff area and, at the other end, Parkin curled a shot off target as Cardiff hit back.

Ruddy made a vital save from Chopra in the 63rd minute after Bellamy put the striker through, the keeper getting down to smother Chopra's toe-poke.

It was end to end and Holt swivelled to fire just wide from Hoolahan's pass.

There were angry exchanges between the two sets of players after McPhail caught Russell Martin high on the thigh, leaving the full-back on the floor.

Lansbury was the first to react and when the shoving match was over, Chris Martin and McPhail were shown yellow cards.

With 18 minutes to go, Lambert made his first change with Wilbraham replacing Lansbury.

Parkin teed up Chopra for a shot from just outside the Norwich area but his bobbling effort was straight at Ruddy.

Burke replaced McPhail as Cardiff made their first substitution.

Wilbraham brought Heaton into action with a close-range effort after another goalmouth melee, before Korey Smith replaced Crofts with 13 minutes to go.

Wilbraham was narrowly off target moments later after good work by Hoolahan and Drury.

Bellamy was booked for dissent with 10 minutes to go, and Parkin followed him with a yellow card for a trip on Chris Martin.

Burke shot well wide in a Cardiff break before Lambert made his final change by replacing Chris Martin with Lappin.

Bellamy earned the crowd's derision for shoving Drury on to the track and, having already been booked, was playing a dangerous game.

In the last minute of normal time, Russell Martin delivered the equaliser Norwich had been battling for – his fourth goal of the season.

Lappin's cross from the left was met by Wilbraham, whose first-time shot drifted to the far post, where Martin arrived just in time to clip it into the roof of the net.

Chopra was booked in the fifth extra minute for a foul on Drury.

• RESULT: Norwich City 1, Cardiff City 1

• Norwich City: Ruddy; Russell Martin, Barnett, Whitbread, Drury; Fox; Crofts (Korey Smith, 77), Hoolahan; Lansbury (Wilbraham, 72); Holt, Chris Martin (Lappin, 83). Subs (not used): Steer, Tierney, Nelson, Jackson.

• Cardiff City: Heaton; Quinn, Hudson, McNaughton, Naylor; Whittingham, Olofinjana, McPhail (Burke, 73), Bellamy; Chopra, Parkin. Subs (not used): Marshall, Rae, Gyepes, Drinkwater, Blake, Keogh.

• Referee: Keith Stroud (Hampshire)

• Attendance: 25,270

• Goals: Norwich: Russell Martin (90). Cardiff: Parkin (7)

• Bookings: Norwich: Chris Martin (67). Cardiff: McPhail (67), Bellamy (80), Parkin (81), Chopra (90)

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