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Match Reports

Report: Norwich City 1-1 Rovers

Sam Gallagher earns Rovers a point against the league leaders at Carrow Road

20 March 2021

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Sam Gallagher's late header earned Rovers a point as the spoils were shared following the 1-1 draw with tabe-topping Norwich City at Carrow Road.

Up against a side who had won their previous nine games and knowing a 10th successive triumph would break a club record, the Canaries took the lead through Kenny McLean's lethal finish midway through the second-half.

Rovers ralied though and kept persevering against a side who remain clear at the top of the Sky Bet Championship table.

The equaliser arrived from two of Tony Mowbray's substitutions as Gallagher flew through the air to nod home Harvey Elliott's free kick and earn a point for Rovers on their travels.

Both sides could have won it late on, with the impressive Joe Rothwell seeing a strike blocked by Rovers old boy Grant Hanley, whilst Thomas Kaminski was in inspired form to prevent the dangerous Emi Buendia from winning in in the final moments of an entertaining encounter in East Anglia.

The boss made three changes to his team from the side that took to the field against Bristol City in midweek, with Elliott, and former Norwich man Bradley Johnson dropping to the bench to enable Corry Evans and John Buckley to return.

There was a change up front, as a slight knock kept Adam Armstrong out of the squad, with Tyrhys Dolan coming in to replace the Rovers top goalscorer.

In a lively start, it was Rovers who had the first effort at goal, but the returning Buckley saw his low attempt comfortably held by Tim Krul inside the opening couple of minutes.

That encouraging beginning continued for the visitors, who were pressing high against the table-topping Canaries. However, the hosts did go close when Todd Cantwell's strike from the edge of the box took a deflection before clipping the outside of Kaminski's post.

Kaminski was grateful to his upright again with nine minutes to go until the break, with Buendia's shot taking a deflection off Darragh Lenihan before the Belgian touched the ball onto the bar prior to the danger being cleared.

Rovers continued in the same manner at the start of the second-half, with Lenihan heading Barry Douglas' corner over the bar as both teams went in search of the opener.

Despite Rovers having the majority of the ball, Norwich were still a danger on the counter attack and Kaminski pulled off a super stop to stick out a left leg and divert Pukki's low effort just wide of the target.

However, there was nothing the goalkeeper could do to stop City from taking the lead a moment later through McLean's precise finish into the bottom corner.

The dangerous Buendia was the creater, with the playmaker dropping deep to find Scotland international McLean, who played a one-two with Kieran Dowell, received the ball back and rifled beyond the Rovers number one with his weaker right foot.

Rovers were still in the game, but were thankful for Kaminski again, with the stopper well placed to shovel away an attempt from Marco Stiepermann as the clock ticked into the final 20 minutes in Norfolk.

Rovers were defending stoutly and were rewarded for their efforts with 12 minutes remaining thanks to Gallagher's sixth goal of the campaign.

The substitute rose highest at the back post to get above Jacob Sorensen and his downward header nestled into the back of the net to level things following Elliott's deep free kick.

Norwich, with their eyes still set on that record-breaking 10th straight win, threw everything at Rovers as they went in search of that late victory, with a superb block from Lenihan denying Pukki from bagging City's second of the day.

Stiepermann then saw Kaminski in his way as the game crept into the final minute of normal time and the game became end-to-end.

There was a final chance for both sides in the final stages, with Rothwell's shot bravely blocked by Hanley before the hosts' attempted counter didn't quite come to fruition at the end of what was superb advert for the league.

Norwich City: Krul, Aarons, Hanley (c), Dowell (Stiepermann, 67), Cantwell, Buendia, Skipp, Pukki, McLean, Giannoulis (Sorensen, 30), Gibson (Zimmermann, 83).

Unused substitutes: Nyland, Vrancic, Hugill, Placheta, Hernandez, Tettey.

Goal: McLean, 53.

Rovers: Kaminski, Rankin-Costello (Bennett, 70), Lenihan (c), Harwood-Bellis, Douglas, Evans (Downing, 70), Buckley (Elliott, 64), Holtby, Rothwell, Dolan, Brereton (Gallagher, 64).

Unused substitutes: Pears, Nyambe, Johnson, Bell, Branthwaite.

Goal: Gallagher, 78

Referee: Keith Stroud.

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