Paddy Davitt, Norwich City Writer
Monday, May 5, 2014
Neil Adams believes Norwich City were denied a blatant first half penalty that could have altered the course of their fight for Premier League survival.
Martin Olsson tumbled under the attentions of Ashley Cole and John Terry inside the Chelsea penalty box but referee Neil Swarbrick elected to reject the visitors’ appeals. Adams was convinced at the time and nothing he saw afterwards on television replays altered his view.
Chelsea struck the woodwork in each half and felt they had strong penalty claims of their own at Stamford Bridge but Adams felt his side could have cashed in on a relegation lifeline.
“I thought we had a definite penalty that was denied us. If we got that, maybe we are leaving Stamford Bridge with three points rather than the one,” he said.
“Martin just gets the touch to take it away from Ashley Cole and John Terry’s momentum just takes him out.
“For me, that is not being biased, I thought it was a penalty and probably a red card; whether he adjudged Ashley Cole was in the vicinity of Terry on that score I don’t know but we just felt it was a penalty kick. Maybe those are the breaks you don’t get when you are at the bottom.
“The penalty is a little bit of a bitter pill to swallow. If we go 1-0 up then it is a different game.
“I spoke to the officials at half-time and they said they were not allowed to look at it. That is fair enough, but I have had a look and it is pretty clear it is a penalty.”
Adams was fulsome in his praise for the dogged visitors who belied their lowly status to keep the title-challengers at bay.
“I was immensely proud of the players. I thought it was a phenomenal performance,” he said. “You’ll have to excuse me but my voice has nearly gone. We had a game plan and the players executed it virtually to perfection.
“I would have liked a little bit more of an attacking threat from the players because Chelsea had a lot of the ball and put us under pressure and had we done that, who knows?”
Adams defended his decision to keep the likes of Ricky van Wolfswinkel and Gary Hooper in reserve for the final stages as Robert Snodgrass carved out the best counter-attacking chance from second-half substitute Nathan Redmond.
“We didn’t want to lose the game because if we had lost then we were down,” he said. “With Chelsea pushing to win the game I felt we could get a bit of pace on and exploit some opportunities to probably try and give (Gary) Cahill a little bit of a problem with Redmond.
“We did it at the right time but then when you come to those last five minutes you feel do you gamble and go for it but I still sensed there were bits and pieces there for us to counter. What we didn’t want to do is throw a few on, lose the game and then it was irrelevant.”