If Tony Pulis had any doubts that he needed reinforcements to keep Crystal Palace in the Premier League, they must have been dispelled by the evidence of this game.
On an afternoon when leading scorer Marouane Chamakh was lucky to escape a red card for grabbing Wes Hoolahan by the throat, Palace slipped back into the bottom three after failing to make the most of their good fortune against another side scrapping for their Premier League survival.
Once again, Palace striker Cameron Jerome was most culpable of spurning chances to grab three vital points after Jason Puncheon’s penalty cancelled out Bradley Johnson’s opener.
But having never been relegated in his managerial career, Eagles manager Pulis is not panicking just yet.
“The end of the season is when it counts – not at Christmas and New Year,” he said after the match.
“The next two or three weeks are very big for this football club in terms of what we can bring in. The best thing now is that the transfer window is opening so it gives you an opportunity to wheel and deal; move a few out and a few in, which hopefully will help us.”
A partner for Chamakh must be the No 1 priority given Jerome’s slackness in front of goal, although things could have been a lot worse had referee Mike Dean spotted the Moroccan’s indiscretion just before the equaliser.
Defender Danny Gabbidon could also be on borrowed time given the way he allowed Hoolahan and Gary Hooper to combine in setting up Johnson’s goal.
Yet after Jerome was denied by Martin Olsson’s goalline clearance, Leroy Fer’s foul on Mile Jedinak gifted Palace an equaliser from the spot and Southampton loanee Puncheon clinically put away his first goal for the club.
The atrocious conditions made any kind of free-flowing football impossible, but it was Palace who had the best chance to win it when Jerome blazed over following another corner. Given they began the day three points clear of the relegation zone, Norwich looked content to hold on for a valuable away point, but manager Chris Hughton will know that they will need to show similar mettle away from Carrow Road to keep their heads above water.
“It was end-to-end stuff in the second half but it was probably a fair result,” he reflected. “You have to look at the balance of the game and it’s a good point for us.”
The hard work, you suspect, starts here for Pulis.
Palace (4-4-1-1): Speroni 7; Mariappa 5, Delaney 6, Gabbidon 5, Ward 7; Puncheon 7, Jedinak 8, Dikgacoi 6 (Parr 46, 6), Bolasie 7 (Williams 81); Chamakh 7; Jerome 5 (Gayle 61, 6)
Subs not used: Price, Phillips, Moxey, Bannan
Norwich (4-2-3-1): Ruddy 4; Whittaker 6, Turner 5 (R Bennett 54 6), Bassong 6, Olsson 7; Fer 6, Johnson 8; Snodgrass 6, Hoolahan 7 (Elmander 69 6), Redmond 7; Hooper 7(Martin 86).
Subs not used: Bunn, van Wolfswinkel, Becchio, Josh Murphy.
Ref: Mike Dean (Wirral)
Match rating: 4/10Reuse content