Martin steps up again to the acclaim of Norwich City boss Lambert
PUBLISHED: 12:48 17 January 2011
Archant Â© 2011
AUDIO: City boss Paul Lambert paid tribute to defender Russell Martin's eye for a goal as the full-back struck again to earn a point from the promotion battle with Cardiff.
Martin’s last-minute equaliser was his fourth goal of the season and came just two weeks after he netted the winner against leaders Queens Park Rangers at Carrow Road.
“Four goals is brilliant for a right-back,” said Lambert, who signed Martin 14 months ago and has made him one of the mainstays of his side.
“I had him at Wycombe and he went to Peterborough and did well there, and then maybe he lost his way a little bit, then he came here and he’s created a niche for himself.
“I think he’s a better player now. Playing with good players helps you because you’re only as good as the person next to you. I think what Russell’s done and the way he’s playing at this minute, he’s been excellent.”
It was not an easy finish as Martin scored from the narrowest of angles.
“When it goes as tight as that you’re never quite sure if you can squeeze it in. But the way he did it . . . I thought Russell Martin was excellent the whole game,” said Lambert.
The City boss felt they should have had a first-half penalty when they trailed 1-0, when skipper Grant Holt appeared to be tripped by Paul Quinn.
“I saw it. The referee was about two and a half centimetres away. How he’s missed it I don’t know,” said Lambert.
“It’s a penalty. We got one against Sheffield United which maybe wasn’t, so it evened itself out. But that was a penalty.”
Wes Hoolahan’s shot was saved by goalkeeper Tom Heaton as play continued but Lambert argued: “It’s only an advantage if Wes scores. It’s a penalty. I’ve seen it. He should have given it.”
Lambert praised goalkeeper John Ruddy for the second-half save from Michael Chopra that kept his side in the game.
He said: “It was a big, big save. At 1-0 if Cardiff had scored again I think it would have been difficult to claw it back, so it was a massive, massive save. I think John Ruddy’s playing extremely well at the minute. He’s been brilliant, unsung.”
The City boss is also relishing the battle for the left-back slot after signing Marc Tierney from Colchester, because Adam Drury was outstanding against Cardiff.
“It’s the nature of the game,” said Lambert. “It’s up to him to stay in it. It’s up to Marc to push him out – nature of the beast. The best one will play.”
Paul Lambert post-match