Norwich saved by Forster and luckless Rovers

Norwich City 2 Tranmere Rovers 0: On-loan goalkeeper keeps hard-working Tranmere at bay as Parry's men fall to a controversial penalty

Three years ago, when he was still the club physiotherapist, Tranmere's caretaker manager, Les Parry, released a Christmas record. Sung to the tune of "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer," it was called "I'm Les 'the white legs' Parry", a reference to his insistence on wearing shorts in all weathers. It sold all 3,000 copies in two days, but, given what has happened since, including missing out on last season's play-offs to a late goal in the final match, employing John Barnes, and then being as unlucky as they were yesterday, Tranmere have surely been punished enough.

For an hour they out-thought and for the most part out-played high-flying Norwich, only for the home team to be effectively handed the game by a penalty decision which even the most one-eyed City fan would have to admit was generous.

A more objective observer might describe it as appalling. The ritual chorus of "Handball!" notwithstanding, referee Darren Deadman was probably the only person in a packed Carrow Road to think Adam Drury's rising shot shortly before the hour had hit John Welsh anywhere near his forearm, let alone his hand.

"It wasn't a penalty, but it was because the ref gave it," sighed Parry. "I have to be careful what I say because I'm still on a physio's wage. If I'm fined, the kids don't eat."

It took time for both teams to adjust to the slickness of the soaked surface, a period during which Rovers came closest to opening the scoring when Chris Shuker fired a shot which the Norwich goalkeeper, Fraser Forster, had to dive to save to his right.

Forster, on loan from Newcastle United, had to make a save from Ryan Fraughan midway through the half, City having enjoyed plenty of possession in the meantime. But City showed few signs of having the wit to play their way through Rovers' five-man midfield, let alone get behind their back line.

Tranmere's goalkeeper, Luke Daniels, hadn't had a save to make, which nonplussed rather than angered a packed Carrow Road, though the mood might have changed had Shuker not delayed after Rovers worked an opportunity on the half hour, giving Jens Berthel Askou enough time to block.

Shortly before half-time, Paul McLaren broke up field and picked out Shuker in the penalty area to his right. Instead of shooting the winger crossed low and, with McLaren ready to turn the ball home, Gary Doherty stretched out a desperate foot. An own goal seemed the certain result only for Forster, scrambling to his right, to pull off a remarkable save.

City were equally fortunate to survive the following corner, Ian Goodison lifting the bouncing ball over the bar from no more than four yards.

The sight of Wes Hoolahan attempting to beat Daniels from 45 yards at the start of the second half was hardly encouraging for the home supporters as Tranmere continued to look the more impressive team. One lovely passing move saw Shuker exchange passes with Craig Curran and Michael Ricketts before shooting against the outside of Forster's right-hand post. But then came the penalty, expertly converted by Hoolahan. Deflated, and forced to push forward in numbers, Tranmere conceded a second when Gary Doherty turned Hoolahan's low cross beyond Daniels.

Norwich have now lost only one of their past 12 matches, and that unluckily at Leeds. "You take the decisions that come your way because sometimes they go against you," shrugged the manager, Paul Lambert. "Fraser's save was world class though. You'd have to ask the money men whether his loan can be extended, but he could have a big career ahead of him."

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Latest in Sport
Sport
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Greece says 'No': A night of huge celebrations in Athens as voters decisively back Tsipras and his anti-austerity stance in historic referendum

Greece referendum

Greeks say 'No' to austerity and plunge Europe into crisis
Ten years after the 7/7 terror attacks, is Britain an altered state?

7/7 bombings anniversary

Ten years after the terror attacks, is Britain an altered state?
Beautiful evening dresses are some of the loveliest Donatella has created

Versace haute couture review

Beautiful evening dresses are some of the loveliest Donatella has ever created
No hope and no jobs, so Gaza's young risk their lives, climb the fence and run for it

No hope and no jobs in Gaza

So the young risk their lives and run for it
Fashion apps: Retailers roll together shopping and social networking for mobile customers

Fashion apps

Retailers roll together shopping and social networking for mobile customers
The Greek referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its distinct lack of any genuine popular legitimacy

Gaping hole at the heart of the European Union

Treatment of Greece has shown up a lack of genuine legitimacy
Number of young homeless in Britain 'more than three times the official figures'

'Everything changed when I went to the hostel'

Number of young homeless people in Britain is 'more than three times the official figures'
Compton Cricket Club

Compton Cricket Club

Portraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb to be displayed in London
London now the global money-laundering centre for the drug trade, says crime expert

Wlecome to London, drug money-laundering centre for the world

'Mexico is its heart and London is its head'
The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court that helps a winner keep on winning

The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court

It helps a winner keep on winning
Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

Is this the future of flying?

Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

Isis are barbarians

but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

Call of the wild

How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate