NORWICH CITY 2 (Foster 70 OG, Martin 80)
BARNSLEY 1 (McEveley 45)
BARNSLEY were well worth the win but came away with nothing following a controversial second half at Carrow
With Hugo Colace missing out due to a calf injury, Nathan Doyle returned to the starting eleven to partner Diego Arismendi in the heart of the Reds' midfield. It was the only change to the side with new signing Garry O'Connor, who joining in a stunning loan deal from Birmingham City on Friday evening, ineligible to make his debut.
Norwich were forced to make two changes with arguably their best performers this season - goalkeeper John Ruddy
and midfielder Andrew Surman - missing out. Declan Rudd and Simon Lappin got the nod for the home side.
Barnsley arrived at Carrow
Road searching for their first win in Norwich since 1937 but in fine Championship form with seven points from their last three matches and an outstanding display against Middlesbrough before the international break.
The referee for this one was Surrey official Gavin Ward, who controversially abandoned Barnsley's game at Plymouth Argyle with the Reds leading 4-1 last season. Hopefully there will be no rain at Carrow
Road this afternoon.
It was a decent opening by both sides. Norwich had the first opportunity to strike on nine minutes when Korey Smith hit the deck over Jay McEveley's outstretched leg. Chris Martin smacked a disappointing free kick into the wall.
City went even closer on 15 minutes as Lappin beat Bobby Hassell before firing a fine cross in front of Luke Steele but no one in a yellow shirt could apply a touch.
The home side were given another chance to shoot in on goal on 16 minutes as Jason Shackell was penalised for a foul on Grant Holt. Again Chris Martin's free kick found the wall. Holt had a sight of goal just two minutes when he met Lappin's corner but his header flew high, high over the bar.
Norwich cranked up the pressure on referee Ward with atrocious challenges on Andy Gray and Arismendi but Elliott Ward and Lappin. Ward picked up a yellow card for his cynical foul on half way although there was no punishment for Lappin. Adam Hammill smashed the eventual free kick into the wall.
Martin fired a shot over the bar on 23 minutes as Norwich's early enthusiasm and pressure waivered a little in the face of a stubborn and determined Barnsley performance which was tempered a little by a string of decisions which went almost exclusively for the home side but hampered the flow of the game.
Steele came to the Reds rescue on 28 minutes when Smith let fly from 12 yards after breaking onto Adam Drury's cross. The ball looked to be heading for the back of the net before Steele pulled off a wonder stop to parry it away and the Reds but their bodies on the line to block everything on the rebound.
Kieran Trippier's free kick on 42 minutes gave the Reds their clearest sight of goal in the first half as Shackell rose highest but could not get enough on his header to trouble rookie keeper Declan Rudd.
Trippier's stunning delivery in first half stoppage time from another free kick on the right hand side split the Canaries wide open again. This time Jay McEveley times his run to perfection and slammed a header past Rudd and into the back of the net.
Barnsley started the second half well and almost had another on 48 minutes when McEveley's low cross caused absolute carnage in the Canaries area. Gray went close after being bundled to the ground and the loose ball fell to Hammill but his effort flew inches over the bar.
Gray almost got in again moments later but was clearly pulled back by Ward and Rudd was able to race out and snatch the ball.
Referee Ward was threatening to spoil the spectacle for both sides with a string of decisions which angered both sets of supporters early in the second half. The Surrey official did little to endear himself to either group of fans.
Hammill then wriggled away from the attention of Smith on 61 minutes to get a shot away but it was easy for Rudd to hold.
Barnsley's workmanlike and dogged display was frustrating the home side. Russell Martin summed up their growing unease by trying his luck from distance on 63 minutes but his curler was never going to trouble Steele. Holt then got away without a booking on 66 minutes after cleaning out Trippier on the touchline.
Referee Ward handed Norwich an advantage and an equaliser on 70 minutes after ordering Shackell from the field to receive treatment for cramp even though physio Chris Burton had not been onto the pitch. It was another perplexing decision by the official and firmly gave Norwich an initiative they simply had not deserved. From Steele's restart they were straight on the attack and clinically exploited their man advantage as substitute Anthony McNamee raced down the left and his cross was deflected past Steele by a desperately unlucky Stephen Foster.
Barnsley were incensed but stuck to their task and had Norwich backpeddling on 75 minutes as Hassell broke forward but his shot flew high over the bar. At the other end McEveley did wonderfully well to deny McNamee with a fine block after the winger had broken onto Wes Hoolahan's cross in the area.
It the Reds could point a finger at the referee for Norwich's first goal there was no one else to blame for the second, which came on 80 minutes as Chris Martin was given far too much time and space in the area and the striker didn't need asking twice to strike. He bent a fine shot around Steele and into the back of the net.
Barnsley were left a man short by the officials at the restart as Doyle limped out of the action but - although Jacob Butterfield was stripped and ready to come on - the Reds were forced to kick off and play with ten men again. Thankfully Norwich could not make their man advantage count this time.
The Reds had a great chance to put Norwich under pressure in stoppage time but McEveley wasted a free kick from a great position on the right by blazing the ball over the bar and into the stand. Simeon Jackson picked up a yellow card for cynically kicking the ball away moments later as the Reds looked to take a quick free kick. Jim O'Brien then picked up a yellow after arguing the ball had struck Jackson's arm as he cleared it downfield.
NORWICH CITY: Rudd, R. Martin, Drury, Crofts, Holt, Hoolahan (Jackson 78), C. Martin, Smith, Lappin (McNamee 63), Barnett, Ward.
Subs: Steer, Hughes, Fox, Johnson, Askou.
BARNSLEY: Steele, Hassell, Foster, Shackell, McEveley, Trippier (O'Brien 87), Doyle (Butterfield 81), Arismendi, Hammill, Lovre (Dickinson 86), Gray.
Subs: Preece, Hume, Devaney, Neumann.
Gavin Ward (Surrey)
Wayne Porter (Lincolnshire) and Ian Cooper (Kent)
Stephen Ross (Lincolnshire)
Attendance - 24,624
Match Report by Rob Knowles
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