Norwich City 1, Wolves 1
DAVID CUFFLEY Jamie Cureton’s eighth goal of the season stretched Norwich City’s unbeaten run to six matches as they came from behind to take a point against Wolves at Carrow Road.
Jamie Cureton's eighth goal of the season stretched Norwich City's unbeaten run to six matches as they came from behind to take a point against Wolves at Carrow Road.
The visitors had taken the lead six minutes into the second half when Andy Keogh, unmarked, scored with a simple header from a cross by Michael Gray.
But Cureton levelled the score after 74 minutes, firing home from a knockdown by substitute Dion Dublin.
The introduction of Dublin and winger Lee Croft in the second half injected more life into the Canaries' display after they struggled for the first hour to match the kind of form they had displayed recently under Glenn Roeder.
It was the third time in four matches, however, that the Canaries had come from behind to earn a point, which said something about their battling spirit.
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There were seven yellow cards, although it was never truly a dirty contest.
City boss Glenn Roeder named the same starting line-up as in the Boxing Day draw against Charlton.
Skipper Mark Fotheringham was sidelined for the second match in a row by a hamstring injury, and the only change to the Norwich 16 was a return to the substitutes' bench for striker Chris Brown in place of Chris Martin.
Wolves showed three changes to the starting 11 from the 2-0 defeat at Hull.
Defender Rob Edwards, Matthew Jarvis and striker Freddy Eastwood were all relegated to the bench, while into the side came Stephen Ward, Darren Gibson and Michael Gray.
Wolves went into the match without a win in their previous five games and without a goal away from home in 555 minutes, while the Canaries were looking to extend their unbeaten five match run.
Wolves kicked off on a breezy afternoon, defending the Barclay goal but it was City who won the first free-kick when Henry fouled Huckerby on the halfway line. When the ball was knocked forward towards Evans, Collins did a neat tidying up operation to clear any danger.
With only a couple of minutes gone, referee Probert showed the yellow card for the first time to Camara for a foul on Bothroyd.
The visitors were making quite a lively start and after good work by Keogh, Stephen Ward had a shot blocked inside the area by Shackell.
The Canaries had made little impact going forward so far and Cureton's attempt to shoot from just outside the area proved a tame one when the ball deflected off Darren Ward and rolled harmlessly to keeper Hennessey.
Wolves forced the first corner of the match after nine minutes when Otsemobor cut out a cross from Keogh, but Collins headed over from the flag kick.
Huckerby made his first real dart at the visitors' defence as City pushed forward but his right foot drive was both high and wide.
Otsemobor twice attempted to get crosses into the box from wide on the right but on each occasion they were cut out and with nearly a quarter of an hour gone there had been little to raise the temperature at a chilly Carrow Road.
The Canaries won their first corner but there was a delay before they could take it when Smith needed treatment after getting in the way of Darren Ward's attempt to clear the ball on the edge of the area. Both the doctor and the physio were having a close look at Smith's mouth on the touchline but he was allowed back into the action and although the flag kick came to nothing, Huckerby almost managed to find an opening with a low cross which was cut out by Collins.
Smith was on the receiving end again when Gray fouled him from behind in the centre circle. Pattison floated the free-kick towards the penalty spot, but the ball would not drop kindly for Huckerby and Darren Ward managed to head clear.
Doherty and Shackell both made important headed clearances as Wolves sent crosses in from the left and as City broke, a touch by Cureton sent Evans away on the right, but his low cross was cut out before it had reached the danger area.
With a quarter of the match gone, neither side had really carved out a clear cut scoring opportunity.
The yellow card was shown again, this time when Russell picked out Huckerby and he was blatantly stopped in his tracks by Olofinjana who was booked.
The free-kick was wasted, however, when Pattison failed to get it past the first defender.
At the other end, Henry was well off target with a wild effort and Shackell did well to rob Bothroyd moments later as he shaped to shoot. There was one moment of alarm for City when Darren Ward lofted the ball forward and as the home defence looked for an offside flag, Stephen Ward advanced to nod the bouncing ball just wide of the target.
Wolves forced another corner when Otsemobor cut out a cross from Keogh. Bothroyd's kick found the head of Collins but brushed off a home defender for another corner, and this time Olofinjana headed over the top from Bothroyd's second flag kick.
The visitors came very, very close to breaking the deadlock after 33 minutes from another Bothroyd corner. Collins rose to meet it with his head and reacted first when the ball dropped to strike a powerful right foot shot which was blocked by Marshall, almost on the line.
It was a narrow escape for Norwich and Wolves kept up the assault with Bothroyd firing over the top and Henry bringing Marshall into action again with a curling effort from outside the box.
Shackell was next to go into the referee's book when he carelessly lost possession 10-yards into the City half and had to resort to a foul on Keogh to stop the Wolves man taking advantage. Gibson wasted the free-kick, however, floating it straight into Marshall's arms.
Evans had been the liveliest of City's forwards with some excellent touches and close control and he won a corner six minutes before the break. It was squandered once again, though, when Pattison played it short to Huckerby and he crossed straight into the arms of Hennessey.
As Wolves went back on the attack, Olofinjana sliced a hopeless long range shot into the crowd, an effort which rather summed up the first half.
It had been a disappointing half from Norwich and when Otsemobor allowed a pass from Russell to slip under his foot and out of play it brought a groan from the home crowd.
Stephen Ward brought Marshall into action again but his header was easily gathered and then Keogh spoiled a promising run with a poor shot over the top.
Shackell was left hobbling in the closing minute of the half when he was caught on the left ankle by Bothroyd but he was still mobile enough moments later to make an important clearance with his head.
In stoppage time, the Canaries produced probably their best effort of the afternoon when Cureton turned neatly and crossed from the left towards Smith, who showed good control with his chest and sent an overhead kick narrowly wide with Huckerby just inches away from diverting it past Hennessey.
t Half-time: Norwich City 0, Wolverhampton Wanderers 0
Shackell twice did well as Wolves mounted the first real attack of the second period, first heading clear from a cross by Gray and then getting in the way of a full-blooded shot from Gibson. Gray delivered another teasing cross from the left moments later but Marshall was able to gather it under the crossbar.
Just four minutes after the break, City made their first change when Smith, possibly struggling with an injury, made way for Croft.
City, struggling to find their touch, were certainly up against it after 51 minutes when Wolves took the lead through Keogh. It was a fairly soft goal from a defensive point of view with Gray crossing right footed from the left touchline and Keogh rising unmarked at the far post to score with a simple header.
Pattison became the third Norwich player to be booked two minutes later with a trip on Gray.
City boss Roeder made his second change 10 minutes after the break when Dublin came on in place of Evans, but the Manchester City youngster was perhaps a shade unfortunate to have to make way.
Norwich were at sixes and sevens at the back and they were almost caught out again when a cross by Olofinjana was allowed to run right across the six-yard box with no one able to get the finishing touch.
Wolves skipper Henry became the fifth player to be booked after a body check on Huckerby as the City man attempted to burst forward from halfway inside his own half.
There was yet another yellow card for the visitors and this time it was Gibson booked for chopping down Pattison.
Wolves were looking for a second goal and Bothroyd tested Marshall with a crisp left foot shot from outside the area, but the keeper was safely behind it.
Dublin, Croft and Cureton put together a promising move as City tried to get on terms but frustratingly, Cureton's cross ran across the face of the goal with nobody on hand to apply the finishing touch.
Dublin was unhappy with the official and complained about a challenge in the area by Darren Ward when it seemed the defender may just have handled or at least held off the big striker, but Mr Probert was unimpressed and as Wolves counterattacked, Keogh rather wasted a promising move by curling his cross straight out of play.
Stephen Ward was next to threaten when he burst between Shackell and Otsemobor and flashed a powerful left foot shot only narrowly wide.
City carved out their best opening of the half after 71 minutes when Dublin latched on to Pattison's header, played a one-two with Cureton and struck a fine volley which Hennessey did well to save, with Huckerby following up on the keeper and angering the Wolves' defenders.
Wolves made their first change a minute later when Elliott replaced Keogh.
The home crowd were certainly brought to life after 74 minutes when Cureton equalised with his eighth goal of the season. Shackell knocked a long ball forward and Dublin won the all important header to help it into the path of Cureton, who advanced to strike a low right foot shot which Hennessey managed to get his right arm to but could not stop from rolling inside the post.
Cureton was agonisingly close to making it 2-1 four minutes later when he produced a neat piece of juggling on the edge of the area to get the better of Darren Ward but poked his right foot shot just the wrong side of the post.
Carrow Road had suddenly come to life but Wolves were still pressing forward when they could and a lively final 10 minutes appeared to be on the cards.
Croft won a free-kick five-yards outside the Wolves box when he was bundled over by Olofinjana, but while City were waiting to take the kick Brown was sent on in place of Huckerby. Pattison took the kick but his curling left foot shot was safely gathered by Hennessey.
The referee made his seventh booking of the day after a scrap between Russell and Stephen Ward with the Wolves man chopping down the Norwich skipper, who earlier appeared to have pushed him in the face.
With three minutes left, Wolves made another change with Edwards on in place of Gray.
Cureton was just off target with another opportunity two minutes from time as he latched onto Doherty's through ball, but Wolves threatened themselves when Otsemobor had to concede a corner. Doherty headed clear on this occasion.
As the game entered four minutes of stoppage time, City won a free-kick 10-yards outside the Wolves area. Camara took it left footed but Hennessey collected it comfortably.
t Full time: Norwich City 1, Wolverhampton Wanderers 1