Norwich City 2 Newcastle United 2
PUBLISHED: 21:43 14 February 2017 | UPDATED: 00:35 15 February 2017
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Norwich City hung on for a hard-earned Championship point against Newcastle in a frenetic 2-2 draw at Carrow Road on Tuesday night.
John Ruddy made two superb stoppage time blocks to prevent another nasty sting in the tail against the Magpies after Jamal Lascelles had equalised in the 81st minute.
Ayoze Perez opened the scoring after just 23 seconds but Jacob Murphy and Cameron Jerome had put Alex Neil’s men back in front before Newcastle hit the woodwork twice in a sustained barrage either side of half-time at Carrow Road.
Neil made five changes from the side that hammered Nottingham Forest 5-1 on Saturday in the Championship. Portuguese duo Nelson Oliveira and Ivo Pinto were ruled out through injury and Youssouf Mulumbu (thigh) was another notable absentee. Alex Tettey returned from suspension to partner Jonny Howson in central midfield. Steven Whittaker deputised for Pinto with Jacob Murphy preferred to his twin, Josh in the home starting line up. Yanic Wildschut came in for his full home debut with Alex Pritchard dropping to the bench after his brace against the Reds and Jerome replacing Oliveira.
Steven Naismith (hamstring), Graham Dorrans (knee) and Louis Thompson (Achilles) remained on the sidelines.
City were rocked just 23 seconds after the kick off when Jack Colback threaded a ball pass beyond the stationary Timm Klose for Perez to slam a shot past John Ruddy.
Ruddy thwarted Aleksandar Mitrovic in the fifth minute, after Russell Martin failed to cut out a hopeful punt, to underline the jitters in the Norwich backline.
Norwich replied, however, in the 12th minute when Jerome levered Lascelles out of the way to collect Hoolahan’s ball down the channel and square for Jacob Murphy to slot from point blank range.
Jerome then cashed in on a howler from Karl Darlow, who burst 25 yards from his goal but miscued an attempted clearance, allowing the striker to run the ball into an empty net.
Ruddy preserved his side’s lead with a brilliant goalline block from Mitrovic after Matt Ritchie picked out the striker.
The overlapping Whittaker was inches from adding a third in the 29th minute when he galloped clear before collecting Jacob Murphy’s pass in the latest flowing counter from the hosts.
Newcastle continued to threaten with Mitrovic bullying Martin and Klose in the air. Hoolahan had to head Lascelles’ goalbound flick off his line as it drifted towards the far post from another probing Magpies’ corner.
Mitrovic then clipped the outside of Ruddy’s left-hand post just inside the six yard box following fresh hesitancy from the back-pedalling Canaries.
Howson appeared in the mood to repeat his heroics from the weekend four minutes before the interval when he collected Hoolahan’s pass to unleash a 25 yard strike that veered the wrong side of Darlow’s left-hand upright.
City survived a fresh escape in the 53rd minute when Wildschut gave the ball away to spark a counter that ended with Ritchie’s strike hammering the underside of Ruddy’s bar five yards out before it bounced back into play.
Mohamed Diame replaced Colback with the home fans increasingly anxious as Newcastle pinned Neil’s men back inside their defensive third.
Pritchard was introduced for Wildschut as City tried to stem the attacking flow. Norwich were restricted to brief counters in the midst of the onslaught. Pritchard tested Darlow who dealt with the striker’s shot better than his first-half calamity.
City’s support sensed the danger with the decibel levels rising around Carrow Road. Hoolahan’s desire to play out from the back caused palpitations when Perez broke but the pass for Mitrovic was a touch heavy.
Benitez played his final card in the 75th minute with Dwight Gayle returning after a hamstring injury.
Neil responded again with Kyle Lafferty on for Jerome after an all-action shift from the frontman.
Newcastle’s pressure finally told in the 81st minute when Lascelles guided Perez’s cross home at the far post after City failed to clear Shelvey’s initial free kick.
Josh Murphy was Neil’s final throw of the dice in the 86th minute for the tiring Hoolahan, but it was the Magpies who pressed for the winner. Ruddy brilliantly denied Perez with a strong parry at his near post in stoppage time before repeating the trick from Shelvey’s free kick in the final act of a pulsating contest.
• Norwich: Ruddy, Whittaker, Martin, Klose, Dijks, Howson, Tettey, Jacob Murphy, Hoolahan (Josh Murphy 86), Wildschut (Pritchard 58), Jerome (Lafferty 80). Subs: (not used): (McGovern (GK), Bassong, Bennett, Godfrey.
• Bookings: Dijks (dissent, 82); Howson (foul on Diame, 90)
• Goals: Jacob Murphy (12), Jerome (17)
• Newcastle United: Darlow, Yedlin, Clark, Lascelles, Dummett, Ritchie (Atsu 70), Colback (Diame 54), Shelvey, Perez, Gouffran, Mitrovic (Gayle 75). Subs (not used): Elliot (GK), Hanley, Hayden, Gamez.
• Goals: Perez (1), Lascelles (81)
• Bookings: Colback (foul on Dijks, 27); Lascelles (foul on Jacob Murphy, 48)
• Time added on: 2 minutes / 4 minutes
• Referee: Andy Madley (West Yorks)
• Attendance: 26,841