Butland keeps Stoke at bay to earn Canaries a point
Norwich City 1 Stoke City 1
Published 22/08/2015 | 17:43
England goalkeeper Jack Butland produced a man-of-the-match display to earn Stoke a 1-1 draw at Norwich.
The 22-year-old pulled off a string of impressive saves to deny the Canaries during a second-half onslaught.
Stoke had taken an early lead through Mame Diouf, heading in a fine free-kick from debutant Xherdan Shaqiri, only for Norwich captain Russell Martin to level following a drinks break in the sweltering Norfolk temperatures.
After both Cameron Jerome and Wes Hoolahan spurned good chances, Butland produced saves out of the top drawer to thwart Nathan Redmond and then Graham Dorrans twice as Stoke held out for a point.
The Potters had won just once from the last 10 visits to Carrow Road, but went into the match having recovered from 2-0 down to draw at Tottenham last weekend.
Stoke were in front after just nine minutes when Diouf got goalside of marker Alex Tettey to guide a left-wing free-kick from Shaqiri into the far corner with a fine diving header.
Norwich - linked with a transfer move for Stoke winger Jonathan Walters - looked for a quick response but lacked ideas in the final third.
With temperatures rising, referee Mike Dean allowed the players a brief drinks break at 25 minutes.
When play resumed, Norwich, who won at Sunderland last weekend, got themselves level in the 28th minute.
Butland pulled off a brilliant reaction save to deny Martin at point-blank range. However, the ball was not cleared and when Redmond knocked it back into the penalty area, the Norwich skipper this time swept a low shot past the keeper and into the bottom corner for his second goal in as many games.
Stoke thought they had regained the lead when Ibrahim Afellay robbed Tettey following John Ruddy's scuffed clearance and played in Diouf to slot home, but the forward was well offside.
Norwich full-back Robbie Brady, signed from relegated Hull, whipped a 25-yard free-kick over the wall and just wide.
The Canaries should have taken the lead at the start of the second half.
First, former Stoke forward Jerome stabbed the ball wide after being picked out by Jonny Howson in the penalty area. Brady then floated over another pin-point delivery, which was headed wide from six yards by Hoolahan.
Dorrans then charged into the right side of the penalty area, driving in a low shot which Butland pushed behind at full stretch.
On 62 minutes, Redmond got behind the Stoke defence but his low shot across goal was tipped away by in-form Stoke keeper Butland.
Another drinks break followed with 20 minutes left and Norwich then pressed for a late winner, but Butland saved Stoke again as he pushed away a fierce, low 20-yard effort from Dorrans.
From the corner, Jerome's acrobatic effort at the far post deflected into the chest of the brave Stoke keeper.
In stoppage-time, substitute Bradley Johnson fired over from two yards after arriving to a free-kick at the back post, which just about summed up Norwich's afternoon.
TWEET OF THE MATCH
"Brilliant 2nd half performance and only an inspired goalkeeping performance stood in the way of 3pts" - Norwich's Elliott Bennett
John Ruddy: 6 (out of 10)
Steven Whittaker: 6
Russell Martin: 6
Sebastien Bassong: 6
Robbie Brady: 6
Alex Tettey: 5
Graham Dorrans: 7
Jonny Howson: 6
Wes Hoolahan: 5
Nathan Redmond: 7
Cameron Jerome: 5
Bradley Johnson: 5
Gary O'Neil: 5
Jack Butland: 9 (out of 10)
Glen Johnson: 6
Geoff Cameron: 6
Marc Muniesa: 6
Erik Pieters: 6
Marco van Ginkel: 6
Glenn Whelan: 6
Marko Arnautovic: 6
Xherdan Shaqiri: 7
Ibrahim Afellay: 6
Mame Diouf: 7
Stephen Ireland: 6
Charlie Adam: 6
Jack Butland. England goalkeeper underlined his qualities with a string of fine saves as Norwich pressed in the second half. Could have done with more protection, but remained composed and showed good delivery to help slow things down.
MOMENT OF THE MATCH
Xherdan Shaqiri. The £12million Swiss international did not take long to showcase his talents, whipping in a superb free-kick for Stoke's opening goal. Although he tired as the match went on, there is no doubt the former Inter Milan player will prove a fine addition to the Premier League.
VIEW FROM THE BENCH
Stoke boss Mark Hughes opted to start with Shaqiri, which proved a sound call as the Swiss midfielder set up the opener. The visitors, though, were forced to defend deep for large parts of the second half, and rely on the counter-attack.
Canaries manager Alex Neil had kept faith with the XI which won at Sunderland, but would not have been impressed with poor marking for the Stoke goal or the chances wasted. The Scot later failed to make any telling substitutions and needs some attacking reinforcements.
MOAN OF THE MATCH
Cameron Jerome. The one-time Stoke striker had a great chance to put Norwich ahead at the start of the second half, but could only stab the ball wide with only the keeper to beat. So influential in helping the Canaries win promotion, but the jury remains out on his Premier League credentials.