City striker Grant Holt made his feelings perfectly clear after Saturday’s dramatic leveller against league leaders Charlton – it was definitely a goal.
His injury-time equaliser caused much controversy and Addicks boss Phil Parkinson was adamant that he fouled ‘keeper Rob Elliot when nodding home.
But the City captain was perfectly happy with the manner in which he clawed the Canaries level – even if he wasn’t shocked at the visiting side’s reaction.
“I thought they’d say that – that’s their opinion,” Holt told the media after the game, with emotions clearly still running high.
“If the goalie wants to come for the ball and he’s not strong enough to get it then he shouldn’t let us head it. That’s football. He can’t have every decision.
“The referee gave them as much as he wanted today and obviously they wanted a little bit more. When I went for the ball I think there was no way the goalie was going to get it.
“He was out swinging and he’s got three yards to come out claim it and he’s come and missed the ball. It’s hit me and gone in.
“I got the touch. He missed and I headed it and I think we are fortunate that it went in. But I think they were lucky with the two chances we missed before.
“I am not there to foul, I am there to win the ball and score goals and that’s what I’ve done. It’s a goal that the referee has given and it’s a valid goal.”
It was a surprise to see the goal allowed given the protection that goalkeepers get nowadays – just ask Michael Nelson after his perfectly good header against Walsall was chalked off.
And Holt was delighted to see the advantage given to the attacker for a change…
“Goalies nowadays get pampered with things like that and they go and smash into people and get away with it.
“Just because he’s come and missed it doesn’t mean that the referee should pull him out of the sticky stuff. It’s just bad goalkeeping at the end of the day and we’re happy in there. We got the draw and I think if we’d scored 10, 15 minutes earlier we’d have won the game.”
It was certainly an incident-packed encounter and Holt was at the thick of most of it. And even after the final whistle, he was still angry at the Nicky Bailey first-half ‘challenge’ on him that left Paul Lambert so incensed.
“It wasn’t even a tackle, the ball has gone, we’re about the play and he’s just kicked me down,” said Holt.
“He [Phil Parkinson] is saying I made a meal of it, but if someone stamps on your calf I think you’re going to go down.
“For him not to give any decision, as in a yellow card, is a bit of a disgrace. It makes a mockery of the whole first half and he caused all the problems that he got himself.”
And Holt said that the incident, which came after a very soft yellow card given to Jens Berthel Askou for a supposed shoulder charge, drove City on to claim a point which looked unlikely when Jonjo Shelvey put the visitors 2-0 up.
“I think things like that do,” he admitted. “Obviously we felt a bit aggrieved. We are not trying to get people sent off, that’s not our job, we’re here to play football.
“But for him not to even book the midfielder it’s a bit of a disgrace and I think the ref lost it for 10, 15 minutes. I think he was praying for the half-time more than we were.
“I think the ref gave the crowd something to moan about when he hasn’t booked the midfielder for his off-the-ball antics.
“That and the goal gives everyone that lift when we come out for the second half to get behind us and I think they were massive to us today.”
But despite the stirring fightback, Holt insisted that the Canaries still had plenty to work on. The two goals conceded were certainly a result of sloppy defending as much as inventive attacking play.
“We are unfortunate we didn’t take the chances we got given. In the first half we gave two cheap goals away. I think we dominated the game first half.
“I don’t think they had a spell they could say the same. Maybe 10 minutes in the second half we were a little bit panicky, we slashed the ball away a bit too much, but I think overall we dominated the game.”