Delia dances in rain after Norwich draw
Portsmouth 1 - Norwich City 1
Monday 03 January 2005
Over the churned turf she skipped, her green and yellow scarf clashing shamelessly with what one hopes was a fake fur coat, her arms clapping madly above her head in salute to the travelling fans who had stood for two hours in swirling rain.
Delia Smith may be one of the less demonstrative of our television cooks, but get her into the environment of the club where she has ladled out millions as a director in the last four years, and she becomes a veritable Ainsley Harriot.
Her patent delight at Fratton Park came at the end of an afternoon when the visitors had offered reason to believe they can retain their Premiership status. Minus Marc Edworthy after five minutes, when he was dismissed for a clumsy challenge which denied Diomansy Kamara a run on goal, a side which had slipped into the relegation zone following three straight defeats rediscovered their hope.
Norwich's flagging spirits rose within four minutes of Edworthy's disappearance through a volleyed goal from Damien Francis, back in the team after a five-match absence. When Portsmouth worked out how to make their numerical advantage count, the Norwich keeper Robert Green demonstrated why he is in the England picture with several saves, most crucially fromValery Mezague four minutes from time.
In the end, the only blot on the Norwich landscape was the thrice-taken penalty with which Yakubu equalised on the hour after the referee Phil Dowd had given a handball.
"That was a performance which sums up what Norwich City are all about," said Nigel Worthington after his 200th match as the side's manager. "It's a long haul. But if we can still be out of the bottom three after the last game, we'll have had one helluva season."
Worthington's match-saving keeper dismissed speculation that he would be leaving Carrow Road during this month's transfer window. Meanwhile, Worthington confirmed that Norwich were "keeping tabs" on Crewe's young centre forward Dean Ashton.
At Norwich, however, prudence is the watchword. "What we can't afford, we won't touch," Worthington said. On Saturday's evidence, Delia's recipe is proving to be the right one.
Goals: Francis (9) 0-1; Yakubu pen (61) 1-1.
Portsmouth (4-4-2): Hislop; Griffin, Primus, De Zeeuw, Taylor (Mezague, 80); O'Neil, Stone, Quashie, Berger (Faye, 65); Kamara (Fuller, 65), Yakubu. Substitutes not used: Ashdown (gk), Stefanovic.
Norwich City (4-4-2): Green; Charlton, Fleming, Doherty, Edworthy; Bentley, Mulryne (Brennan, 61), Francis, Jonson; Huckerby (Drury, 83), McKenzie (Jarvis, 65). Substitutes not used: Gallacher (gk), Crow.
Referee: P Dowd (Staffordshire).
Booked: Porstmouth: Griffin, Yakubu, Taylor.
Sent off: Norwich City Edworthy (5).
Man of the match: Fleming.
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