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Norwich City were held to a goalless draw by Cardiff City at Carrow Road.
The closest the match came to being decided was when Leroy Fer inadvertently rolled the ball into the net on the 94th minute with keeper David Marshall out of his goal after Cardiff had put the ball out, but the goal was disallowed due to an infringement occurring while the throw-in was taken and both sides had to settle for the point.
Until that point the match had been lit up by the heroics of Marshall. The 28-year-old – who played for Norwich between 2007 and 2009 – produced a string of fine saves in his first outing against his former club to deny the hosts their second Barclays Premier League home win of the season on Saturday.
Jonny Howson and Fer went closest to breaking the deadlock for the hosts in the first half but could not find a way past the resolute shot-stopper. And the Scotland international continued his one-man mission to keep a clean sheet as he denied substitute Nathan Redmond and Fer after the break.
His opposite number – John Ruddy – was rarely tested as Malky Mackay’s men struggled to create chances, but, when they did, the 27-year-old made an excellent save from Jordan Mutch.
The goalless draw sees both sides end a run of two consecutive defeats in the top flight, but leaves Norwich in the bottom three with eight points from nine matches.
Chris Hughton’s side were unchanged from their defeat to Arsenal last time out, with Ricky van Wolfswinkel returning to the bench having recovered from his recent foot injury.
The visitors brought Fraizer Campbell and Kim Bo-Kyung in to their starting line-up in place of Don Cowie and Aron Gunnarsson.
Norwich went close after just five minutes when Martin Olsson let fly from the edge of the penalty area. Anthony Pilkington fired a corner low to the Sweden international but his left-foot strike whistled just over the crossbar.
Ruddy was called into action for the first time in the 25th minute as Campbell raced away from Michael Turner inside the penalty area before pulling the ball back into the path of Mutch, only for the home goalkeeper to save brilliantly at his feet.
After that shock, Norwich resumed their dominance but could not find their way past the inspired Marshall. He made two good saves from Howson and was well placed during a goalmouth scramble to stop the ball on the line.
And when the Cardiff keeper was finally beaten, he had Peter Whittingham to thank as the midfielder cleared Fer’s effort off the line from another Pilkington corner in 31st minute.
The second half began as the first had ended and Gary Hooper went close to opening the scoring. The forward met a corner inside the penalty area, but his flicked header dropped just wide of the post.
Cardiff’s only chance after the break fell to Whittingham but the midfielder fired a free-kick straight into the Norwich wall from a promising position 20 yards out.
Redmond –who replaced Pilkington in the 71st minute – nearly made an immediate impact when he was released on the left, but the winger’s shot towards the top corner was parried away by the irrepressible Marshall.
Marshall again denied Fer from close range, before the injury-time drama unfolded.
Norwich City manager Chris Hughton: "It's absolutely frustrating, we had really long periods of control. Credit to Cardiff as they defended very well, but on the balance of play and chances we should've won comfortably.
"It certainly wasn't down to endeavour or the way we played. It's frustration because it should've been three points. They've defended very well and the keeper has had a very good game today. As the game went on you still felt it was going to come.
"In the end you thought it would be a goal scored through an own goal perhaps. If we hadn't played as well as we had today then it would be far more annoying, but we should've come away with a win today."
Cardiff City manager Malky Mackay: "I'm delighted with the way the team defended. It was a good point for us. We're playing against a team here who are at home. They have the crowd behind them.
"Five points away from home now, and I'm absolutely delighted with the way the team defended.
"We're competitive and picking up points along the away. Any points away from home are important. We've picked a good one up here today.
"Every one of the games are tough but we're competitive and picking up points along the way. I'm delighted with the group."
|01 Feb 2014||v Cardiff (A)|
|15 Dec 2013||v Swansea (H)|
|11 Feb 2014||v West Ham (A)|
|23 Nov 2013||v Newcastle (A)|
|02 Nov 2013||v Man City (A)|
|21 Dec 2013||v Sunderland (A)|