Ward hails ‘heartbeat’ Crofts
Defender Elliott Ward labelled inspirational team-mate Andrew Crofts as the 'heartbeat' of the Canaries side after his stoppage time equaliser against Burnley.
Crofts had earlier teed up Chris Martin to grab Norwich a lifeline after Martin Paterson's first-half brace. The Welsh international then volleyed home a dramatic leveller deep into stoppage time before being shown a second yellow for a challenge on Jay Rodriguez. The 26-year-old was embraced by manager Paul Lambert as he left the field early to a standing ovation – and Ward admits Crofts' suspension tomorrow at Millwall is a major blow.
'He probably doesn't get enough credit that he deserves from people outside of the club but he has stepped up and he has been brilliant since he came here,' said Ward. 'He didn't deserve the second booking. He was side on and got the ball clearly. The ref was the wrong side. He is going to be a big miss. He has been the heartbeat of the team. He breaks it up, he passes it and he scores goals.'
City left the field to a chorus of boos at half-time, but Ward insisted the hosts did not need any motivational speeches from Lambert to launch a stirring second half fightback.
'He just said the next goal was the biggest part of the game and if we get it, he believed we will go on and get something,' said Ward. 'As soon as he believes, we all do. It was about pushing ourselves, getting tighter to them and taking some risks and we did that. Like I say we didn't stop until the last minute. I wouldn't say he was shouting, but he definitely told us what to do and when he speaks we listen. I can't speak more highly of him. Since I've been here he has been brilliant for me and like I say when he says something and tells you to do something you do it.'
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Anthony McNamee sparked City into life following his introduction at the interval.
'Not just him, but as a whole team we just went for it,' said Ward. 'The full-backs were wing backs, I was a left back, Barney (Leon Barnett) was at right back and we had nothing to lose. Sometimes when we play like that we are unstoppable but you can only do that so many times.'
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Ward admitted Burnley cashed in on some self-inflicted defensive errors after a bright start.
'Without a doubt the first one was sloppy,' he said. 'Someone let the runner go and the second one I think was borderline offside, but we shouldn't be getting done on a straight ball and Rudds (John Ruddy) was unlucky not to save it – the ball came back off his elbow and sometimes you don't get the luck in those situations.
'That first 20 minutes if we get a goal then the game probably pans out differently. We were on top but then they got the killer goal which set us back a bit. We couldn't get near then and they scored again after another 10 minutes or so, to be honest they picked up and were very comfortable in the latter part of the first-half. We knew if we got near them second-half with delivery from Macca we had a chance. It was about belief and getting the first goal.'