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."

Sport
Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi during Barcelona training in August
footballPete Jenson co-ghost wrote Suarez’s autobiography and reveals how desperate he's been to return
News
newsMcKamey Manor says 'there is no escape until the tour is completed'
Voices
Hunted: A stag lies dead on Jura, where David Cameron holidays and has himself stalked deer
voicesThe Scotland I know is becoming a playground for the rich
News
people
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Architect Frank Gehry is regarded by many as the most important architect of the modern era
arts + entsGehry has declared that 98 per cent of modern architecture is "s**t"
Money
Welcome to tinsel town: retailers such as Selfridges will be Santa's little helpers this Christmas, working hard to persuade shoppers to stock up on gifts
news
Arts and Entertainment
Soul singer Sam Smith cleared up at the Mobo awards this week
newsSam Smith’s Mobo triumph is just the latest example of a trend
News
Laurence Easeman and Russell Brand
people
Sport
Fans of Dulwich Hamlet FC at their ground Champion Hill
footballFans are rejecting the £2,000 season tickets, officious stewarding, and airline-stadium sponsorship
News
Shami Chakrabarti
people
Arts and Entertainment
Benedict Cumberbatch has refused to deny his involvement in the upcoming new Star Wars film
filmBenedict Cumberbatch reignites Star Wars 7 rumours
Sport
football
News
news
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

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news: musician splits with manager after police investigate assault claims

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news

Former Dr Feelgood splits with manager after police investigate assault claims
Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands ahead of the US midterm elections

Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands

The Senator for Colorado is for gay rights, for abortion rights – and in the Republicans’ sights as they threaten to take control of the Senate next month
New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

Evidence found of contact between Easter Islanders and South America
Cerys Matthews reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of Dylan Thomas

Cerys Matthews on Dylan Thomas

The singer reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of the famous Welsh poet
DIY is not fun and we've finally realised this as a nation

Homebase closures: 'DIY is not fun'

Homebase has announced the closure of one in four of its stores. Nick Harding, who never did know his awl from his elbow, is glad to see the back of DIY
The Battle of the Five Armies: Air New Zealand releases new Hobbit-inspired in-flight video

Air New Zealand's wizard in-flight video

The airline has released a new Hobbit-inspired clip dubbed "The most epic safety video ever made"
Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month - but can you stomach the sweetness?

Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month

The combination of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg (and no actual pumpkin), now flavours everything from lattes to cream cheese in the US
11 best sonic skincare brushes

11 best sonic skincare brushes

Forget the flannel - take skincare to the next level by using your favourite cleanser with a sonic facial brush
Paul Scholes column: I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo

Paul Scholes column

I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Jones and Rojo
Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

While other sports are stalked by corruption, we are an easy target for the critics
Jamie Roberts exclusive interview: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Jamie Roberts: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Wales centre says he’s not coming home but is looking to establish himself at Racing Métro
How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

Handy hacks that make life easier

New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

KidZania: It's a small world

The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker