Football - Hughton looks to positives

Norwich manager Chris Hughton admitted the goalless draw against Southampton was "probably a fair result" after Grant Holt saw his stoppage-time penalty saved in atrocious conditions at Carrow Road.

PA Sport

With heavy rain before kick off being followed by sleet, neither side was able to get any real spell of possession as the Barclays Premier League match was played out in atrocious conditions.

After Saints skipper Adam Lallana had blasted over when in front of an open goal and Japan defender Maya Yoshida made vital blocks to prevent Grant Holt and Robert Snodgrass scoring, there was still time for some late drama.

Full-back Luke Shaw was ruled to have pushed over Holt just inside the penalty area, as referee Mark Clattenburg pointed to the spot after consulting with his assistant. Southampton, though, felt justice was served as Boruc produced a decent stop down to his right to secure a well-deserved share of the points for the visitors - which could prove vital in their battle to stay in the Premier League.

Hughton deployed Kei Kamara, on loan from Kansas City, alongside Holt in attack, and started with two out-and-out wingers before Anthony Pilkington was forced off with a hamstring problem.

Nevertheless, the home side were unable to put the ball into the net as they played out a third goalless draw from the last five matches.

Hughton, though, preferred to extenuate the positives and said: "I decided to go 4-4-2, which means you can perhaps be a bit more open, but I thought we had the better chances. We certainly should have been given a penalty in the first half when Shaw pulls back Grant Holt, so on balances we deserved one.

"Grant has got himself ball side of the defender, and I think there is contact, so the referee has to make that decision and he also has a linesman on that side. If we think that one was soft, the one in the first half wasn't. It was not a particularly bad penalty and the lad has made a good save."

Despite the feeling of a missed opportunity to shift closer to the 40-points barrier, Hughton was not too dejected.

"It was not one of our better performances but the conditions were not easy," he said. "If you are speaking to our back four and the midfield two, they are probably more delighted we have got the clean sheet. Overall it was between two teams who are fighting hard for their lives and so in the end a draw was probably a fair result."

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