Carrow Road, 29th October 2011.
Last-gasp penalty deprives Blackburn of first away win of the season as pressure mounts on Steve Kean.
Written by Matt Scrafton.
On Wednesday night, Blackburn Rovers almost conspired to lose a game in which they were 2-0 up after 93 minutes of normal time. They eventually came through that compelling cup tie against an in-form Newcastle side, but lightning struck twice on Halloween weekend as Steve Kean’s men were once again pegged back on Saturday afternoon - drawing 3-3 with Norwich City - surrendering a two goal lead once again.
Yet we shouldn’t be surprised. After all, Norwich City really are the masters of the comeback. The Canaries garnered a reputation for themselves in the Championship last season, based on snatching crucial last minute winners to aid their automatic promotion to the Premier League. However, Norwich were most certainly given a helping hand with this particular fight back.
Despite a bright first half in which the home side dominated the majority of possession, it was Rovers who took the lead in the dying seconds of the opening period. Unsurprisingly, it came from the right boot of highly-rated winger Junior Hoilett, who was Blackburn’s only real bright spark of the first half. The 21 year old Canadian starlet lashed the ball into the top corner of the net away from the desperate dive of John Ruddy.
The lead was perhaps a little harsh on the tenacious home side, who had worked a number of promising situations only to lack the final ball. Nonetheless, Blackburn were far more assured in the second period and were unfortunate not to come away from Norfolk with all three points.
Despite this, it was the hosts who were back on level terms shortly after half time - courtesy of tireless striker Steve Morison - who lashed in a sublime volley from just outside the area. From here on, you’d be forgiven for expecting the momentum to shift in the Canaries’ favour, given the vulnerable state of the relegation-threatened Blackburn side.
Conversely, Blackburn soon raced into a surprise two goal lead courtesy of a quick-fire double from Yakubu and Christopher Samba. Samba nodded in at the back post after a delightful cross in from a Morten-Gamst Pedersen free-kick by the left flank, after Yakubu - the former Everton striker – had struck past Ruddy at the near post after the Norwich ‘keeper struggled to get down to the rasping drive.
A period of keep-ball followed from the away side, and it looked like the away side would play out the final 20 minutes of the match to secure their first away win of the season. Somehow, Norwich clawed themselves back into the game. Bradley Johnson’s hopeful long range effort deflected off Rovers defender Jason Lowe and looped over stranded ‘keeper Paul Robinson, who had no other choice but to watch the ball fly over his head and nestle in his net.
There was now a sense of inevitability that Norwich would grab a third, and in the 94th minute a questionable penalty was awarded for an alleged handball by Steven N’Zonzi. Grant Holt stepped up and dispatched the ball into the corner with aplomb, wheeling away to celebrate with the elated Carrow Road faithful.