The rival managers Nigel Worthington and Gary Megson both had cause for satisfaction as a blood and thunder promotion clash between the First Division's leading two clubs ended goalless at Carrow Road on Tuesday night.
Chances were few and far between during a ferocious contest. There was plenty of incident and both sides had cause to feel aggrieved by the decisions of the referee, Brian Corson, but both managers emerged grateful to have taken a point.
"It was always going to be a battle between two very honest teams," Worthington, the Norwich manager, said after his side maintained their three-point advantage over the Baggies. "If you'd gone to a boxing match you couldn't have had better entertainment.
"We went out to get three points and we were still going for three points in the 90th minute," he added. "But it was none the less a point gained and we have taken two points off West Brom as well.
"It was a good game, a real battle. It was two teams hard at it and you have to stand up to West Brom because they'll try to bully you. We stood up, toe to toe, and it was a good performance. It was 3-1 to Norwich on penalties not given by the referee. Hopefully we'll get them before the end of the season."
Megson, a former Norwich manager himself, appeared equally satisfied with a point gained following Saturday's disastrous 1-0 home defeat by Rotherham.
"This is a very, very tough place to come," the West Bromwich Albion manager said. "We wanted to negate one or two of their main threats but we still wanted to play ourselves.
"We know that Darren Huckerby is a Premiership player playing in the First Division. He's an excellent player and we were always going to man-mark him to try and take something away from Norwich. What I was pleased about was the way we worked together as a team."
West Brom's main cause for complaint was that they should have been awarded a first-half penalty when the City defender Craig Fleming appeared to handle the ball as he attempted to clear a goalbound effort from Delroy Facey.
Norwich felt that Huckerby's man-marker, James Chambers, was lucky to stay on the pitch in the first half when he escaped unpunished despite taking the striker's legs away from him as he homed in on goal.
"It was the first time I'd got away from him and if the referee can't see that he needs shooting," Huckerby said.
Norwich had another penalty claim turned down after 73 minutes when Mathias Svensson appeared to be hauled back by Thomas Gaardsoe.
In terms of overall chances, Albion had the better claim to the points. Twice in the space of three first-half minutes their midfielder Jason Koumas almost created individual goals. His first effort saw him drift past four challengers before clipping a shot narrowly wide, while his second effort, a driving run on goal, ended with a shot that Robert Green barely managed to hold.
For Megson, who guided his side to promotion two seasons ago, before they slipped back down last year, this is charted territory. "We've been through this before," he said. "It's different at this stage of the season. You play for three quarters of the season in a certain manner and then it starts getting a lot different. It's like playing the last nine holes of golf on finals day. You've got to keep yourself there." For both Worthington and Megson, this result was par for the course.
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