Date:Saturday April 1 2006
A highly controversial penalty meant a 2-1 defeat for Leicester City at Norwich today and confirmed the usual misery that follows a Manager of the Month award.
Debate raged over the 74th minute incident when Norwich attacker Darren Huckerby went down dramatically in the penalty area after the lightest, if indeed any, touch from City right back Richard Stearman.
The defender was clearly distraught and Leicester protests continued long after the incident.
But referee Andy D'Urso was unmoved and Leon McKenzie mishit the spot kick under the body of City goalkeeper Paul Henderson who might have been disappointed not to make a save.
Leicester, who had manager Rob Kelly declared Championship manager of the month on Thursday, had recovered from a 28th minute Robert Earnshaw goal with a brilliant equaliser from Gareth Williams on 63 minutes and were chasing a winner.
Williams, who had not scored a League goal all season, took a short pass from Stephen Hughes and, falling backwards, smashed the latest in a line of spectacular City goals from around 25-yards into the top left corner of the net.
Norwich had opened the scoring on 28 minutes when Youssef Safri fed a simple final pass which allowed the £2.75m former WBA striker Earnshaw to narrowly beat Leicester's offside trap and slot home comfortably past Henderson from 12 yards.
Gudjonsson had brought a save out Robert Green with a trademark free-kick after 10 minutes but chances were scarce and Henderson barely faced a first half shot on target apart form the goal.
Norwich did however have a penalty appeal turned down when Earnshaw made a theatrical dive into the box after a clumsy tackle outside the area by Stearman.
Fryatt had a shot cleared off the line by Jason Shackwell and another effort saved either side of the break and a second Gudjonsson free-kick rebounded off the Norwich wall to Gareth Williams who blasted narrowly over.
Leicester brought on winger Andy Welsh after 57 minutes and immediately their attacks looked smoother and more menacing.
Williams equaliser was not unexpected and even after the penalty which restored the Canaries' lead, Leicester chased victory.
The introduction of O'Grady for Nisse Johansson and a 3-4-3 system after 83 minutes immediately resulted in O'Grady laying on a chance on for Iain Hume which brought a good save from Green.
With Norwich restricted to so few opportunities and City having such a good share of possession it was hard for the team to leave Carrow Road with nothing.
Controversy will rage over the penalty not least because Huckerby has such a reputation for winning them in just such circumstances.
Defeat was only Leicester's second in the Championship since Kelly took over the managerial duties 11 games ago.
But, with Millwall losing 2-0, City are actually marginally closer to mathematical safety from relegation because there are now only five games left.
For Norwich, who completed a double over Leicester,it was their fifth home win in five and for Leicester their first defeat in five.
City: Henderson, Stearman, McCarthy, Kisnorbo, Johansson (O'Grady 83), Maybury, Gudjonsson (Welsh 57), Williams, Hughes, Fryatt, Hume.
Subs: Douglas, Brevett, O'Grady, Gerrbrand.
Yellow: Hughes, McCarthy.
Norwich: Green, Drury, Shackell, Fleming, Huckerby, Earnshaw, McKenzie, Safri, Hughes, Doherty, Robinson.
Subs: Gallacher, Johansson, Charlton, Etuhu, Henderson.
Report by Vitalfootball staff. Click Club Forums, click 100% football for fans chat. Click Vital Links, click Football Leagues for other club sites.
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|1. Leicester City||33||23||5||5||+30||74|
|3. Derby County||33||18||7||8||+18||61|
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