Norwich City may have adapted to relegation better than Fulham or Cardiff and Sunday morning they remain top of the Championship, but frustration abounds.
In the space of five days Charlton and Rotherham have visited Norfolk, defended in depth and departed with a win and a draw respectively.
So instead of being way out in front, Neil Adams’ Canaries have been left rueing missed opportunities, and now need their unloved neighbours Ipswich Town to prevent Nottingham Forest from taking over the lead this afternoon.
It could have been worse. After an eventful climax to the first half, they were facing the prospect of a second home defeat in a week. Rotherham supporters were still celebrating an astonishing triple-save by their goalkeeper Adam Collin when they took the lead from a penalty.
It was only justice that there should be an equaliser but it took another half an hour and, even then, the home team’s Jonny Howson had headed off the line just beforehand.
Adams said: “We’ve let five points slip through our fingers. We’ve had two freak games back to back when you normally get one a season. There’s certainly no panic but it’s really frustrating. Maybe we just need to be more ruthless.”
He was possibly underestimating how well the Yorkshiremen fought for their draw.
Two seasons ago the teams were a full three levels apart and this was their first league meeting for 10 years but, as Rotherham’s volatile manager Steve Evans said, successive promotions have bred confidence.
Their goalkeeper was nevertheless the hero, above all in the 44th minute. At one end he thwarted Cameron Jerome twice and Lewis Grabban, after which the visitors immediately broke and John Ruddy clattered into Matt Derbyshire, staying on the pitch but unable to keep out Paul Green’s calm penalty kick.
Attacking substitutes Kyle Lafferty and Josh Murphy increased the pressure and Jerome poked a shot against a post before sliding in the rebound from Lafferty’s fierce free-kick.
Norwich (4-4-2): Ruddy; Martin, Turner, Hooiveld (Murphy, 75), Olsson; Redmond, Howson, Johnson, Hoolahan (Lafferty, 64); Jerome, Grabban.
Rotherham (4-4-2): Collin; Brindley (Bowery, 71), Morgan, Arnason, Skarz; Richardson, Green, Frecklington, Pringle (Clarke-Harris, 66); Derbyshire (Wordsworth, 79), Revell.
Referee: Phil Gibbs.
Man of the match: Collin (Rotherham)
Match rating: 7/10Reuse content