A TALE of two penalties – one not given and one given – proved fatal to City as they were beaten 2-1 at MK Dons in a tight Coca-Cola League One clash at stadiumMK last night.
The Canaries got off to a sensational start when Chris Martin put them in front after just 17 seconds of the game. Martin, making his first start under Paul Lambert, capitalised on a defensive error to slot home a low shot from 20 yards with aplomb.
But the Canaries were denied a penalty the live Sky TV analysts felt should have been given in the 18th minute, when Grant Holt appeared to be shoved in the back by Darren Powell in the box.
City were rocked in the game by three injuries which forced them to make substitutions – Stephen Hughes and Adam Drury leaving the pitch in the first half to be replaced by Paul McVeigh and Tom Adeyemi, with Michael Nelson limping off in the second half to be replaced by Michael Spillane.
A young Norwich side found themselves on the back foot for long spells after their bright start and the Dons got the equaliser their pressure merited in the 56th minute when Jason Puncheon blasted home a 23-yard free-kick.
Then in the 76th minute Chris Martin was controversially adjuged to have brought down Lewis Gobern in the box, a decision given by the assistant referee with replays suggesting the young striker had got a toe to the ball before making contact with his Dons opponent. Peter Leven duly stepped up to send Fraser Forster the wrong way and clinch the points for the home side.
After the game, City boss Paul Lambert commented: “We’ve ended up with teenagers on the pitch and I thought they all acquitted themselves well. If the penalty they got in the second half was a penalty, then the foul on Grant (Holt) in the first definitely was.
“I feel we didn’t deserve to get beat but full credit to the young lads out there, their application was excellent.”
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