Moore fumes at Huckerby as tunnel fracas sours thriller

Rotherham United 4 Norwich City 4
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The Independent Football

It barely seemed adequate that there were just two points shared from a tussle that was titanic in every sense. Eight goals, a hat-trick, a sending-off, a punch-up, a manager frogmarched to the stands and more incident than you could shake a stick at. The First Division may not be of the highest quality this season but it is certainly throwing up the highest drama.

Too much of it for Ronnie Moore, obviously. The Rotherham manager was ordered to sit in the stand for the second half after an unseemly free- for-all at half-time. It is a shame that the game will be remembered for what went on in the tunnel than in the box. Apparently, it was triggered by Moore's mock gesture of congratulation to Norwich's Darren Huckerby, who was awarded a penalty after going down under the seemingly innocuous challenge of Shaun Barker as the time ran down.

Moore patted Huckerby on the shoulder and heated words were exchanged before a mêlée broke out next to the players' tunnel. Branston clashed with Leon McKenzie and subsequently received a red card in the interval from the referee, Michael Jones. "Ronnie Moore said something," the unperturbed Norwich manager, Nigel Worthington, said. "Put that down to frustration. There was pushing and shoving but it was handbags really."

On the pitch, however, it was was most definitely the real thing. Norwich, who still top the division by two points, were relieved to escape with a point after Damien Francis struck in the last minute to silence Millmoor. Martin Butler, for one, will wonder how he finished on anything other but a winning team. His was a genuine "striker's hat-trick", seizing on two mistakes for his first and third and heading home a wonderful Chris Sedgwick cross for the other.

In the meantime, there had been a first-half show by Huckerby that any Premiership player would have been proud of. It was Huckerby's centre that allowed McKenzie to give Norwich the lead at 2-1 - after Iwan Roberts had instantly replied to Butler's first - and he won and scored the penalty that saw Norwich run out after the break with a numerical advantage both on the scoreboard and in terms of personnel.

With 10 men, Rotherham seemed busted, but somehow twisted their luck efficiently enough to scramble into a 4-3 lead through Butler and John Mullin with 25 minutes remaining. They looked to have held on, too, until Francis stuck out his shin to deflect in Malky Mackay's back-header. A frenzied end to an afternoon that will live long in the memory.

Goals: Butler 28 (1-0); Roberts 29 (1-1); McKenzie 33 (1-2); Butler 42 (2-2); Huckerby 45 pen (2-3); Butler 65 (3-3); Mullin 75 (4-3); Francis 89 (4-4).

Rotherham (4-4-2): Pollitt; S Barker, Swailes, Branston, Hurst; Sedgwick, Garner, Mullin, Monkhouse (Minto, 45); Butler, Byfield. Substitutes not used: Montgomery (gk), R Barker, Talbot, Warne.

Norwich City (4-4-2): Green; Edworthy (Rivers, 85), Mackay, Fleming, Drury; McVeigh (Henderson, 76), Holt, Francis, Huckerby; Roberts, McKenzie. Substitutes not used: Crichton (gk), Mulryne, Brennan.

Referee: M Jones (Cheshire).

Bookings: Rotherham: Butler, Sedgwick. Sending-off: Branston.

Man of the match: Butler.

Attendance: 7,448.