Lambert stays cool as Norwich slide to third

Watford 2 Norwich City 2
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The Independent Football

Norwich manager Paul Lambert was unconcerned that his side dropped out of the automatic promotion places with a 2-2 draw against Watford last night and is excited about an unpredictable conclusion to the season.

"We will do everything we can to try and drive on," Lambert said. "Lots of teams will be to-ing and fro-ing but I'm relishing it. The achievement of the players has been incredible, I don't think anyone would have visualised our achievement at the start of the season."

Substitute Simeon Jackson was only on the pitch for 11 minutes before he sealed a point for Norwich from close range. The forward was at the back post to tap in Grant Holt's low cross on 69 minutes. The goal maintained Norwich's record of not losing back-to-back matches since May 2009. "It shows our desire after being beaten on Saturday against Swansea – we've come back strongly with this result," Lambert added. "It is a huge point for us."

Norwich started with a perfect response to their 3-0 defeat by their promotion rivals with an opener after only 77 seconds last night. Sam Vokes, on loan from Wolves until the end of the season, got his first goal for his adopted club since joining last month. Holt played the ball between two defenders and the 21-year-old controlled it with his chest before patiently delaying his shot until he could cleverly chip it over Scott Loach from six yards out.

But Championship top-scorer Danny Graham drew Watford level on 25 minutes with his 24th league goal of the season, bursting through the middle before finishing low under John Ruddy.

The 25-year-old then turned provider 11 minutes later. He bolted down the right channel and carried the ball into the box before playing a low cross into Don Cowie who took a touch and then hit a powerful strike that crashed off the underside of the bar on its way in.

Malky Mackay, the Watford manager, was furious referee Anthony Taylor did not send off Holt, who was booked in the first half and then committed fouls throughout the match. "The referee showed great inconsistency," he said. "I'm disappointed with his actions towards Grant Holt."

Watford (4-3-3): Loach; Doyley, Hodson, Taylor, Mariappa; Cowie, Eustace, Jenkins (Drinkwater, 83); Deeney, Sordell (Weimann, 72), Graham. Substitutes not used Gilmartin, Buckley, Mingoia, Thompson. Booked Graham, Eustace, Doyley.

Norwich (4-3-3): Ruddy; Dawson, Whitbread, Ward, Tierney; Surman (Lansbury, 63), Crofts, Fox; Pacheco (McNamee, 58), Vokes (Jackson, 58), Holt. Substitutes not used Rudd, Edwards, Hughes, Lappin. Booked Holt.

Match rating 8/10.

Man of the match Graham.

Referee A Taylor (Lancashire).

Attendance 13,777.