Snodgrass helps Norwich extend their unbeaten run
Southampton 1 Norwich City 1:Mark Clattenburg may well have been reassured by the normal abuse he received here last night. The 37-year-old has had to wait 31 days to take charge of a match again, having been accused of racism by Chelsea. But with his name cleared, this represented a welcome return to the normality of being the man in the middle.
But much of what took place on a bitterly cold night would have been seen and heard many times before by the referee as he got back to business.
Not that his evening’s work was controversy-free. Southampton took the lead in this scrappy draw with a goal from Rickie Lambert that was clearly aided by the use of the striker’s forearm.
Norwich came into this contest buoyed by a run of six matches without defeat, but their mood was dampened ahead of kick-off by the news that goalkeeper John Ruddy will be out for three months because of the torn thigh muscle he sustained in the draw at Everton.
His replacement Mark Bunn was tested early on by the hosts. Southampton attacked with verve in the opening stages and saw a shot from Jason Puncheon force Sebastien Bassong into a block.
But Norwich grew into the contest, with Anthony Pilkington a frequently-used outlet on the left wing. Unfortunately for the visitors, however, his crossing wasn’t up to scratch.
After 32 minutes Lambert controlled Adam Lallana’s free-kick with his arm before he swept home his sixth goal of the campaign. In between, the ball deflected off Grant Holt, who was in no doubt that Lambert had handled.
Norwich were not behind for too long, however, as Robert Snodgrass equalised with a low free-kick from the edge of the area that took a deflection off Puncheon.