Controversy as Norwich midfielder threatens the spirit of the game

Posted by Mike Morris

Cardiff striker Fraizer Campbell stretches for the ball at Norwich.PA PhotosCardiff striker Fraizer Campbell stretches for the ball at Norwich.

Cardiff goalkeeper David Marshall was at the centre of another controversial incident for the second week running as the Bluebirds drew 0-0 against Norwich at Carrow Road.

The match was deep into injury time when Marshall put the ball out of play to allow treatment to Norwich midfielder Alex Tettey, who was down injured. Instead of using the throw-in to pass the ball back to Marshall, Ricky van Wolfswinkel threw it to his teammate Leroy Fer, and the Dutch midfielder placed the ball past the astounded keeper and into the empty net.

Everybody expected possession to be given back to Cardiff after kicking it out, and Fer's "goal" sparked a brawl between both sets of players and caused confusion in the stands as fans were unsure whether it would stand. Referee Mike Jones calmed the situation and ordered Norwich to take the throw in again, effectively ruling out the first one along with Fer's strike, and to give the ball to the Cardiff keeper.

Davitt: Controversy masks lack of conviction

Morally the goal should never have stood, and if it had, Canaries boss Chris Hughton told Cardiff City manager Malky Mackay he would have allowed Cardiff to score unopposed from the restart. Technically it was a goal within the laws of the game.

It was far more legitimate than the goal scored by Samuel Eto'o at Stamford Bridge last week, when he kicked the ball out of Marshall's possession, which was allowed to stand as Cardiff lost at Chelsea.

Fer admitted after the game that he intended to score. He believed it was his right to do so.

"I meant to score, I wanted to win the game," the Dutchman said. "In this situation I just wanted to score because it was a 0-0 draw.

"In Holland, if they throw the ball away and you want to play on, you can play on. I see now that in England it's different. Next time I'll make sure I give the ball back to the keeper."

The action of referee Jones was a victory for common sense, and he should be commended for the way he dealt with the matter. With Marshall denying Norwich with a man-of-the-match performance, it would have been cruel on the Cardiff keeper if an uncontested effort that challenged the spirit of the game was to decide the match. Jones, thinking on his feet, claimed he never signalled for van Wolfswinkel to take the throw in the first place, hence he disallowed the goal and ordered the throw to be retaken before blowing the final whistle.

This was a game that Norwich should have won. Failure to beat a Cardiff City side that started with the attitude that it was more important not to lose rather than to win will only add more pressure to Hughton.

The home side created chance after chance in the first half, but they could not beat former Norwich keeper Marshall, who was in fine form. The post also came to Cardiff's rescue, and for the most part it was one-way traffic.

When Cardiff did threaten, they had two decent chances before the break. Steven Caulker headed wide, and somehow John Ruddy in the Norwich goal saved a point-blank effort from Jordon Mutch.

To combat the hiding that Cardiff were getting, Mackay took off Kim Bo-Kyung and Peter Odemwingie at halftime and replaced them with the more defensive minded Aron Gunnarsson and Don Cowie.

Cardiff created little in the second half. A strike from Kevin Theophile-Catherine near the end was the best the Bluebirds could come up with. Norwich were the more dominant side but didn't have the energy they showed in the first half, and when striker Gary Hooper was taken off on 72 minutes, the home fans sang "you don't know what you're doing" to the manager Hughton.

Marshall continued to keep Norwich at bay. Cardiff were unable to keep the ball for any significant period of time. With games against Swansea, Aston Villa, Manchester United and Arsenal coming up in the next few weeks it's not going to get any easier any time soon.

The Cardiff fans, who were tightly crammed into the corner of the Jarrold Stand, were happy to hear the final whistle and will come away from the game glad to have earned a point. I appreciate Cardiff's aim this season is survival, but it's become quite difficult to see the side get dominated week after week.

The point keeps Cardiff above Norwich and means the Bluebirds are averaging a point a game. That may be enough to keep the club in the Premier League. Which, whilst not being pretty, is the aim for this first season at the top level.

Norwich ended the day happier with their performance than the result. Cardiff were just the opposite.


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