Injury worry completes a bad day

PUBLISHED: 10:25 20 April 2009 | UPDATED: 13:43 03 July 2010

Lee Croft bemoaned another Norwich City hard luck story as their season hangs on the edge of a Championship relegation cliff following yesterday's defeat in the East Anglian derby.

Lee Croft bemoaned another Norwich City hard luck story as their season hangs on the edge of a Championship relegation cliff following yesterday's defeat in the East Anglian derby.

From going in level at the break against Ipswich Town at Portman Road after a first period Norwich just about edged on possession and chances, the Canaries failed to match that level of performance after the break, as Giovani dos Santos' penalty and a late Jon Stead striker condemned City to a third successive derby defeat in Suffolk.

But Croft could not help but feel Norwich were dealt an unfair blow when referee Neil Swarbrick awarded Town's 62nd minute spot kick after Kevin Lisbie hurdled City keeper David Marshall on the edge of the penalty area - after a long pause many have taken for a moment of indecision on the official's part.

“I think Marshy turned his back and he wasn't looking to take the guy down, Marshy can't just get out of the way,” said Croft. “The guy's ran into him, so I didn't think the ref was going to give it, and then he's waited for the ball to go out and looked at the linesman.

“He didn't give it and then he give it himself, so I don't know. Baffled really. I didn't think he'd come to that decision.

“Then I think the lads said the third goal was offside as well, so we're not getting the rub of the green. But it's still frustrating and we still lost the game.

“First half, at least we got the ball and passed the ball around. Second half we seemed to stop playing and we didn't really create anything at all. What that was due to I don't know, but that was the case.”

Norwich have two games in which to try and save their Championship skin, with much depending on Barnsley's trip to Coventry tomorrow night.

It means do or die time when City's next and penultimate fixture of the season comes round, at home to promotion chasers Reading under the floodlights and in front of the Sky television cameras a week today.

“As you'd expect, we've just got beat in a derby and the lads are down but we can't feel like that,” said Croft. “We've got to pick ourselves up again and make sure we win our last two games.

“That's what we need. We need to make sure for certain that we get the result at home to Reading and then going into the last game of season and do what we need to do then.

“Reading is a massive game for us and one that we must win.”

On a personal note, Croft was happy to get back into City boss Bryan Gunn's starting line-up after two games on the bench, although the 23-year-old had to be replaced midway through the second half after picking up a calf injury that could yet keep him out of the Reading clash.

“It was good to get back into a starting berth, unfortunately my calf seized up, so hopefully that ain't too bad. But I just have to see how that is,” said Croft.

“We don't know what it is at the moment. We think it might be a strain so we just have to monitor it over the next week.

“I've not played much football really and to come back into a game, maybe it's just put a bit strain on it. I've not started a game for a long time, I was injured and I've been on the bench for the last two games, so coming back into it today, it's a little bit strained.

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