Dickov delivers late to silence crowing Canaries

Norwich City 1 - Blackburn Rovers 1
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The Independent Football

A party to remember was stopped in midflow at Carrow Road yesterdayas Paul Dickov's late equaliser for 10-man Blackburn denied Norwich their first win back in the Premiership at the 12th attempt. They are now in danger of emulating the Premiership's worst ever starters, Swindon, who needed 15 games to obtain a victory back in 1993-94.

Trailing to a Matthias Svensson goal, Blackburn battled back against all the odds to record their first away point when Dickov headed in Lucas Neill's 86th-minute cross.

The Norwich fans had been celebrating since Svensson had given them a 56th-minute lead, as Blackburn struggled to cope following the first-half dismissal of Jay Bothroyd.

It did not need an expert to see why these two teams went into the game equal on points at the bottom of the Premiership table. Norwich had scored only one of their 10 goals this season during first-half action, but they did their best to change that by going straight on to the attack. Matthias Svensson went close when he headed against the bar after Craig Fleming had nodded back Darren Huckerby's fifth-minute corner.

Roared on by passionate home support, the Swedish striker set up Mattias Jonson with a good shooting chance soon after. Damien Francis was then denied from close range by a brave Brad Friedel save. The American keeper made an even better stop from a deflected Francis shot in the 36th minute.

Norwich were not that good, but Blackburn were worse. They played with little fluency or confidence, their former Arsenal strike partnership of Jay Bothroyd and Paul Dickov looking far from menacing.

Bothroyd did show some of his Highbury pedigree just before half-time with two crisp shots from distance, which Norwich keeper Robert Green was happy to parry away. But he lost the plot in the 43rd minute when he kicked out at Jonson and was sent off by the Bristol referee Steve Dunn after lengthy consultation with both linesmen.

Despite leaving Blackburn a player short, Bothroyd's petulance also had serious repercussions for Norwich as Jonson, who took a kick on a leg, was unable to start the second half and was replaced by Ian Henderson.

Norwich made Bothroyd and Blackburn pay, though, when Svensson volleyed them into a 56th-minute lead after Adam Drury's cross had been helped on by Fleming and Leon McKenzie. The goal led to delirious chants of 'We're gonna win the League' from the Norwich fans.

At least the Norwich players could have done the decent thing and given their supporters a win to sing about. They survived a scare when Nils-Eric Johansson headed against the bar in the 80th minute, but failed to learn as Dickov, the smallest player on the pitch, forced his equaliser into the net with four minutes to go.

The result means they remain the bottom two in the Premiership table. At this rate, they will be playing each other again next season down in the Championship.

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