Norwich claim famous point
By Graeme Bailey. Last Updated: 22/01/05 5:05pm
Middlesbrough threw away a three-goal lead as Norwich grabbed a 4-4 draw at Carrow Road.
The Canaries had gone ahead through Damien Francis, but once Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink levelled - Boro never seemed in trouble.
After the interval Franck Queudrue pounced twice, before Hasselbaink fired home a fantastic free kick.
With ten minutes left Dean Ashton grabbed his first goal for the club, which looked a mere consolation - but Leon McKenzie gave his side hope in the final minute and then Adam Drury headed home to give Norwich the most unlikeliest of points.
Boro had started the game brightly and should have been ahead within the opening ten minutes.
Brazilian Doriva had a couple of testing drives fly wide, while Tony McMahon curled a left footed effort just past the post.
The best chance fell for England hopeful Stewart Downing, who raced on to a long ball and beat Marc Edworthy for pace, but he could only fire straight at Robert Green in the home goal.
Hasselbaink then had two great chances but each time he did not quite get his full power behind the ball and he failed to trouble Green.
Norwich's first meaningful chance came from their new striker Ashton as he met a lovely cross from Drury but it finished well wide.
Boro were well on top, but on 18 minutes they fell behind and it was poor defending combined with a nice Norwich move.
Queudrue's poor headed clearance could only find Jim Brennan on the left, he crossed to the back post, where an unmarked Darren Huckerby took the ball down and fired at goal - Mark Schwarzer parried but only into the path of Francis who made no mistake from one-yard out.
Queudrue was then fortunate to stay on the pitch as he lost control of the ball and brought down Ashton who would have been clear - although he was 30 yards from goal and Gareth Southgate looked like coming across, which is why the full back was spared a red card.
Doriva and Hasselbaink again tested Norwich from distance, but to no avail as Norwich began to come into the game - with the goal breathing confidence into their play.
Then, almost from nothing Boro worked themselves an equaliser. Downing and Zenden combined on the left and found Hasselbaink in the six-yard box - he laid the ball back to the young winger who fired a first-time effort at goal, but the former Chelsea star stuck out his foot and deflected the ball past Green - who was completely wrong-footed.
Boro were again looking the most likely just before the break and Joseph-Desire Job's acrobatic effort was held well by Green.
Steve McClaren was desperate for all three points and with this in mind he brought on James Morrison for Doriva - who had an impressive opening 45 minutes.
Zenden had the opening effort of the half and showed Boro's intent as his 25-yard drive was deflected just over the bar by Francis.
Just two minutes later and Boro gained the advantage and it was again Downing who created it. It was from a corner on the right and the in-swinging Downing cross was met by Queudrue who planted a firm header past Green.
Just five minutes later and Boro struck from another Downing corner. This time from the left, the cross was met by Southgate whose flick-on fell for Queudrue who side-footed home from six yards.
Boro continued pushing forward with Downing particularly looking dangerous as he continued to turn Edworthy inside-out.
Hasselbaink was looking for another and he curled an effort just wide, while Morrison saw a shot from the edge of the area find Green's safe hands.
Norwich were failing to offer much resistance, but Ashton was always willing and he had Schwarzer scrambling with a nice drive just after the hour.
Ashton again came close as Huckerby - the only other Norwich player to show any real promise - probed down the left and crossed for the ex-Crewe man, but his flicked header flew wide.
Schwarzer was forced into action by McKenzie, whose cross almost floated above the Aussie and in, but he managed to back-track and palm it over.
Another Boro goal was always likely and it came from Hasslebaink. A free kick was awarded against Craig Fleming and the Boro striker lined it up and struck a wonderful effort over the wall and into the bottom corner past a helpless Green.
Norwich, though - to their immense credit - kept battling and they soon narrowed the advantage to two again and it was Ashton who grabbed a thoroughly deserved first goal for The Canaries.
The goal came as Schwarzer came to claim a free kick whipped into the six-yard box by Huckerby, but Ashton got to the ball first and he managed to turn it home just before the line to score on his home debut.
From nowhere, Norwich were now back in the game and they found a new gear and another goal - this time from substitute McKenzie, as he flicked home Huckerby's right wing cross.
Now the unthinkable was very much on Norwich's minds as they pushed forward looking for an equaliser and Boro's nerves were jangling as they gave away a free kick on the edge of the area. Ashton's kick was headed behind by Reiziger.
From the resulting corner and Norwich did it and found an equaliser. Huckerby curled the ball in the area and an unmarked Drury headed home.
Carrow Road erupted and they greeted the final whistle as loud as any goal and although they only grabbed a point - it felt as every bit as good as a win, while Boro will retreat to Teesside knowing they have thrown away a game which was already won.
Click here for Norwich v Middlesbrough player ratings
|Norwich City||Team Name||Middlesbrough|
|8||Shots on target ( Inc Goals )||11|
|8||Shots off Target (inc woodwork)||7|
|12||Total Fouls Conceded||16|
|41 %||Possession||59 %|
Barclays Premier League
|12||West Ham United||38||47|
|13||West Bromwich Albion||38||44|
|20||Queens Park Rangers||38||30|