Francis equaliser seals Keegan's night of frustration
Manchester City 1 - Norwich City 1
Tuesday 02 November 2004
There is something rather ironic about Norwich accepting a sponsorship deal with Lotus. As they have shown an acceleration rate of 0 to 7 points in three months, Lada might have been a more appropriate vehicle.
A list of the top flight's most hopeless teams of the past 20 years would reveal that all bar one - West Bromwich Albion in 1985-6 - found a first win quicker than Norwich, who, on Saturday, will go into their 12th game still searching for a victory. Since their opponents are Blackburn and the venue is Carrow Road, the outcome will be significant for both clubs.
And yet, Norwich are not adrift, they are not even bottom of the Premiership, and for much of this campaign, their manager, Nigel Worthington, could point to matches like these in which they matched their opponents. A draw at Manchester City is, however, only a limited triumph and had Willo Flood not somehow been denied a second goal of the night by the inside of the post or Craig Fleming not handled Robbie Fowler's shot on the line, this would have been a fifth defeat.
For City, this was another mediocre team that had escaped unpunished, another game in which Kevin Keegan raged at a refereeing decision.
The referee Steve Bennett was several yards away and perfectly sighted when Fowler's shot was parried by Fleming's forearm. When Keegan remarked: "How can that not be a penalty?" the question was entirely rhetorical.
As he had when going down to an inexperienced Arsenal side in the League Cup, Keegan pointed to a lack of leadership from his expensive, senior professionals. "With half an hour left, they took free-kicks and corners as if it were the last two minutes," Keegan said. "There was panic there almost."
Robert Green made several fine saves for Norwich, but Flood's 11th-minute shot was merely palmed into the corner of his own net. The 19-year-old Dubliner would not care. It came from a beautiful move - a flowing series of passes that finished with Shaun Wright-Phillips crossing for Flood's volley.
Having seen their side average less than a goal a game, those fans who travelled to Manchester from Norfolk would hardly have banked on a breakthrough after 12 seconds of the second half. Naturally, City contributed to their own downfall as Richard Dunne and Danny Mills failed to clear a long punt upfield and saw the ball break to Damien Francis, whose shooting was lethally precise.
Manchester City (4-4-2): James; Mills, Dunne (Onuoha, 68), Distin, Jordan; Flood, Bosvelt, Sibierski, McManaman (Fowler, 81); S Wright-Phillips, Anelka. Substitutes not used: Waterreus (gk), McCarthy, B Wright-Phillips.
Norwich City (4-3-3): Green; Edworthy, Fleming, Charlton, Brennan; Jonson (Henderson, 81), Francis, Holt; McKenzie (McVeigh, 87), Svensson, Huckerby. Substitutes not used: Ward (gk), Mulryne, Helveg.
Referee: S Bennett (Kent).
Diving in at the deep end is no excuse for shirking the style stakes
Latest in Sport
Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014 preview: Why Brazilians don't love their neighbours Argentina any more
Germany vs Argentina World Cup final 2014: Five reasons why Argentina will win the World Cup
Thomas Vermaelen to Manchester United: Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger thwarting Louis van Gaal over transfer
Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014 final preview: German team ethic tests Lionel Messi's ability to meet the challenge
World Cup 2014: Robin van Persie gives his bronze medal to eccentric Netherlands fan moments after being handed it by Sepp Blatter
- 1 Why I'm on the brink of burning my Israeli passport
- 2 Japanese plant experts produce 10,000 lettuce heads a day in LED-lit indoor farm
- 3 War is war: Why I stand with Israel
- 4 L'Oreal cuts ties with Belgium supporter Axelle Despiegelaere after hunting trip photographs
- 5 The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week
Sustained immigration has not harmed Britons' employment, say government advisers
War is war: Why I stand with Israel
7/7 memorial defaced on anniversary of 2005 attacks with ‘Blair lied thousands died’ graffiti
Australia facing international condemnation after turning around Sri Lankans at sea
Even when it brutalises one of its own teenage citizens, America is helpless against Israel
Socialist Worker called to apologise over ‘vile’ article saying Eton schoolboy Horatio Chapple's death is ‘reason to save the polar bears’