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  • Norwich City 1-1 Stoke City: De Laet, Jones scored, Barnett red-card

    Norwich City conceded an injury-time goal to draw 1-1 at home to Stoke City after defender Leon Barnett was dismissed in controversial circumstances at Carrow Road, Sunday 21/08/2011.

    Ritchie De Laet gave the Canaries the lead at home with a well-taken header after 37 minutes but the key moment of the match came in the second half as Barnett was harshly dismissed for bringing down Walters after some unconvincing defending.

    Replays showed that the initial contact was outside the box and that Walters perhaps went to ground too easily, but a penalty was given by referee Neil Swarbrick. Walters, a former Ipswich player, stepped up, but to the delight of Carrow Road his spot-kick was saved by Ruddy.

    Kenwyne Jones was guilty of a horrible miss as Stoke spurned a succession of chances but after defending superbly well, Paul Lambert's side were cruelly denied all three points three minutes into injury time when the Trinidad and Tobago striker headed home.

    Ahead of Norwich's first Premier League game at Carrow Road since their relegation in 2005, Lambert surprised with his team selection when making six changes from the side which drew 1-1 at Wigan Athletic on the opening day of the season.

    The change benefitted his team, who enjoyed the better of the first half, even if it was Stoke who carved out the first chance of the match when Jermaine Pennant played in Walters and the striker's effort from a tight angle was clasped by John Ruddy at his near post.

    Matthew Etherington also looked dangerous in spells and with a wiggle of his hips turned one way and then the other to dazzle Kyle Naughton before driving in a firm effort that Norwich keeper Ruddy was forced to repel with both hands.

    However, on 31 minutes Stoke suffered a telling blow when Pennant was forced off with a thigh injury. The winger had sustained the problem during the warm-up and after failing to shake it off had to be replaced by Danny Pugh. That signalled it was time for Norwich's wide men to shine at Carrow Road.

    The impressive Elliott Bennett, playing down the right, had already delivered a wicked cross that Grant Holt nodded down to Anthony Pilkington, who saw his effort blocked by Ryan Shawcross, and on 37 minutes caused more havoc when he drew Jonathan Woodgate into a messy foul which earned the defender a booking.

    Bradley Johnson produced a wicked free-kick and De Laet, drifting in towards the penalty spot, met the ball with a deft flicked header that beat Asmir Begovic at his far post. Begovic had to be alert to prevent it becoming 2-0 soon after when Woodgate almost toe-poked another Bennett cross into his own net.

    It remained a hard-fought contest after half-time with Chris Martin quickly testing Begovic with a lovely drive after a flowing move from Norwich involving Naughton and Grant Holt.

    Stoke responded on 59 minutes when Etherington forced Ruddy into a superb save. The winger curled a free-kick towards the very top corner of the net but Ruddy was equal to it as he extended himself fully to tip the ball over the bar.

    On 63 minutes came the moment of deep controversy. Though justice was served when Ruddy saved from Walters from 12 yards, Norwich were down to ten men and introduced Daniel Ayala for his debut to shore up their defence.

    Pulis brought on Ryan Shotton in place of Woodgate to harness his long-throw ability with Rory Delap absent, but it was a cross from the substitute that almost drew Stoke level as the arc of the delivery surprised Ruddy, who palmed away for a corner. Walters drifted to the near post to flick the set-piece on and Huth was just inches away from tapping home from close range as the ball bounced across the face of goal.

    When Jones somehow lifted a shot yards over the bar from close range following a cross from Shotton it appeared as though Norwich would be rewarded for their resolute defending against a troublesome Stoke side.

    However, three minutes into injury time, Jones outmuscled debutant Ayala and met Whelan's clever flicked cross with a firm header that beat Ruddy and nestled in the far corner.
    Tom Adams - follow me on Twitter @tomEurosport / Eurosport


    Team Line-ups:

    NORWICH CITY : Ruddy, Naughton, Barnett, De Laet, Tierney, Bennett, Crofts, Bradley Johnson, Pilkington, Holt, Chris Martin. Subs: Rudd, Russell Martin, Jackson, Surman, Hoolahan, Fox, Ayala.
    STOKE CITY: Begovic, Shawcross, Huth, Woodgate, Wilson, Pennant, Whelan, Whitehead, Etherington, Jones, Walters. Subs: Sorensen, Collins, Pugh, Upson, Wilkinson, Shotton, Arismendi.


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