Martin’s fireworks give boss food for thought
AUDIO: Striker Chris Martin gave manager Paul Lambert a timely reminder of his finishing skills with the goal that triggered Norwich City's late comeback against Burnley.
Martin has started seven successive matches on the bench, with Simeon Jackson preferred in attack, but his 64th-minute introduction in place of Jackson paid dividends when he scored seven minutes later from Andrew Crofts' pass. He then came desperately close to grabbing a stoppage-time winner with a shot that whistled just wide.
Martin's fourth goal of the season and his bright display enhanced his claim to a place in the City starting line-up at Millwall tomorrow night, but Lambert said he was all too aware of the player's goalscoring instincts.
'My opinion has never ever changed of Chrissy Martin,' he said. 'But people have got to remember he's only 21 years of age. He's had a lot in his short footballing career, he's had things to deal with off the pitch, but as a finisher there are not many better that I've seen.
'He has had to wait but that's the nature of the game. You have to wait and when you get your chance you do what he does. He's never let his head go down, which is credit to him. And he could have got a second goal at the end.'
Lambert described the 2-2 draw as 'a terrific advert for the game'.
He said: 'When you get games like that, that go to the death, and you hear the way the fans react it makes for a brilliant football match. Burnley are a really good side. They've kept a lot of the lads after coming down, but in the second half I thought we were brilliant.
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'We changed the system a little bit from the first half to the second and the lads responded. I thought we looked great in the second half.
'When you galvanise the crowd and the crowd galvanise you, things like that can happen and that Barclay End can certainly be a major, major help to you. They're huge to this football club and always will be.'
Lambert made no apologies for the fact that Crofts may have handled before scoring his injury-time equaliser, arguing that it probably made up for the penalty award against Elliott Ward at Cardiff a week earlier.
'I don't give a damn. I couldn't give two hoots whether it hit his hand or not because I got one against me last week and I never saw many people saying it was a wrong decision, so I'm certainly going to take this one,' he said.
Lambert, unhappy with referee Trevor Kettle's display, also claimed Burnley's opening goal should not have stood.
'The first goal I thought was a free-kick for a foul on Simeon, but the referee never called it. I don't know why but he was average anyway. As soon as I saw who was refereeing it, I thought it was going to be a hard afternoon,' he said.