According to City boss Paul Lambert, yesterday’s performance was the finest of his reign, as the Canaries gave promotion favourites Nottingham Forest a real fright at the City Ground.
Norwich looked much the better side for long periods in the 1-1 draw and should really have won all three points after Andrew Crofts drew them level with a neat lob just before half-time.
Despite the hosts taking a 35th minute lead through a Dexter Blackstock penalty, which seemed a little harsh on City after a coming together between Russell Martin and Paul Anderson, Forest chief Billy Davies also admitted that the visitors were the better team.
And through Grant Holt and Elliott Ward in the game’s latter stages, the Canaries had two excellent chances to take all three points back to Norfolk. Lambert was certainly a happy man afterwards.
“That was as good as we’ve been in my time here and that’s a huge compliment to the players,” said the Scot afterwards, speaking to BBC Radio Norfolk.
“This is a hard place to come to and I thought we were outstanding. I spoke to Billy [Davies] afterwards and he said we deserved to win which was nice. I think everyone knew we were in the ascendency from the off and I’m as proud as anything. Our crowd were absolutely terrific as well, as you saw yourself.”
City were certainly first out of the blocks and in the first period, Chrissy Martin hit the post twice as the Canaries looked to take an early lead. And Lambert admitted that he told his players that fortune favours the brave.
“I don’t think you can come here, sit, and wait for them to come flying at you,” added the former Celtic hero, who gave a debut to new loan arrival Leon Barnett in the centre of defence.
“Billy has a top side that got into the play-offs last season and in the last two weeks we have played a team that just missed out and a team that got in the top six and we’ve done brilliantly.
“We’ve come a long way in a short space of time and the lads deserve every bit of credit that is coming their way.
“The lads have a belief that we can score goals and on another day, the chances that we had go in. Their goalkeeper has made some terrific saves and with our work ethic, desire and ability – which we have in abundance – we were excellent.”
Davies wasn’t in the mood to argue either, with the former Preston and Derby boss admitting that his side were “leggy”. Even though they are yet to record a success in the Championship so far, Lambert’s fellow Scot was happy that his team got away with a draw.
“I thought Norwich deserved to win, to be honest. This was probably the poorest we have played in a long time,” he told the Nottingham Post afterwards.
“We looked a little leggy. We should have had a penalty, which wasn’t given, and then we were given one that we didn’t deserve. They then got a free-kick that was not a free kick, which lead to us conceding a very soft goal.
“But they deserved to win the game more than we did, overall. We looked leggy and it is tough to say why. But if we want to look at the positives, we are now three games undefeated.
“We were unfortunate again in the sense that Earnie [Robert Earnshaw] hit the post yet again for the third or fourth time this season. But you take the good and the bad and in the end, it is a decent point.”
City: Ruddy; R Martin, Barnett, Ward, Drury; K Smith, Crofts, Surman; Hoolahan; C Martin, Holt. Subs not used: Rudd, Askou, Johnson, McNamee, Jackson, Fox, Lappin.