'Bizarre decision' baffles Norwich City boss Lambert
PUBLISHED: 11:57 21 March 2011
Focus Images 2011
City boss Paul Lambert argued that they were denied at least one clear penalty as a point from a 1-1 draw at Hull kept them in second place in the Championship.
The Canaries, who had been awarded spot-kicks in their previous three matches, were leading through Zak Whitbread’s first goal for the club when defender Russell Martin appeared to be pulled back by Tigers skipper and opposing full-back Andy Dawson after just over an hour’s play.
Referee Rob Shoebridge gave nothing and instead lectured the two players after Martin reacted angrily to the lack of a decision.
“How he’s missed that penalty, I really don’t know. Russell Martin’s is a stonewaller,” said Lambert. “The referee has turned round and said Russell fouled him first, so why did he never give the foul? It’s a penalty. If he’s saying Russell fouled the lad first then he’s got to give the free-kick. I just found it a bizarre decision.”
There were two other possible penalty claims in the second half, once when Dawson may have handled and another when Henri Lansbury was knocked off balance by Jack Hobbs as he attempted to score a late winner.
“I thought Henri’s might even have been a tug when he was going through,” said Lambert.
Nevertheless the City manager is delighted to be going into a two-week break in second place with eight games to go. “The way we played and what’s happening at this football club is extraordinary. To go into the break in second, it’s been incredible. I heard Billy Davies’ interview saying he was absolutely delighted with where Nottingham Forest were and they’re an established, huge club. So if Billy’s delighted then, I tell you, I must be over the moon. We’ve come to a very, very hard place and we gave as good as we got. It was a terrific goal from a lad who has been colossal for us.
“The pitch was lively – it probably wasn’t the flattest we’ve played on. We looked tired towards the end but we only played on Monday night and Hull had a few days more than us.”
The Canaries have raised hopes of Premier League football next season by putting themselves in an automatic promotion spot so late in the campaign, but Lambert said failure to go up now would not represent a big let-down.
“With eight games to go I’m not going to kill myself if we haven’t done it because I know what the lads have given me,” he said.
“I don’t know what’s going to happen but I’ll tell you what, we’ve given it one hell of a go. We’ve never been beaten two in a row in nearly two seasons I’ve been here – that’s extraordinary, an incredible stat.”
“If you pick up a point away from home, it could be really massive. If you win your home games and pick up points away from home, you’re going to be right in there.”