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Lambert bemoans throw-in decision following Norwich City's defeat at Stoke City

The Canaries lost out to a controversial Matthew Etherington goal that saw Tony Pulis' side earn back-to-back victories and rise to eighth in the Premier League

Paul Lambert has slammed the decision to award Stoke City a throw-in that lead to their winning goal against Norwich City.

Matthew Etherington netted the only goal of the game on 72 minutes to help the Potters rise to eighth in the Premier League, leapfrogging Norwich in the process.

In the build-up to the goal, Stoke were awarded a throw-in after the linesman seemingly overruled referee Mike Oliver’s decision to give the ball to Norwich City.

Lambert told reporters: “I think it was there for everyone to see it was a Norwich throw-in, you don’t need to be a rocket scientist to see that.

“[The referee] is walking away as if he’s given it [the throw-in] to us and he raises his hand a little bit as if it’s a Norwich throw, he admitted to me in the tunnel he’d given it to us, but the linesman has overruled him for some reason and our lads obviously think it’s our throw and we lose a bad goal.”

Despite the defeat, Lambert praised his side's performance in what was their sixth away loss of the season.

“The game never gave much chances, never really got going and this [the Britannia Stadium] is a really hard place to come and you’ve got to combat that aerial threat, the throw-ins, corners which I thought the lads did really well [to defend them]," he said.

"We defended really strongly, there weren’t many clear-cut chances for either side.

“It wasn’t until Stoke scored that we looked threatening and it was just a little bit too late, but it was a great effort. But it wasn’t with a lack of trying that tried to get a goal.”

Canaries’ goalkeeper John Ruddy put in a strong performance and saved tremendously to deny Peter Crouch an opener just before the break and Lambert knows the 25-year-old will be disappointed to concede from a position that favoured the shot-stopper.

Lambert added: “I’ve just spoken to him and John doesn’t need me to tell him, he knows, but I’ve got to say John Ruddy has produced some unbelievable moments for us and he’ll do it again so you can’t be too critical of him, he’ll know himself that he probably shouldn’t have been beaten at his near post, but he’s been colossal for us.”

Stoke boss Tony Pulis meanwhile was delighted to see Etherington on the scoresheet, but didn’t dismiss the possibility that throw-in should have gone the opposite way.

He told reporters: “I’ve not seen it [replays], but if that’s right, then we’ve had a little bit of luck, I think we deserved it with our overall performance.

On the goal, Pulis added: “For Matty [Etherington] to score is good because it gives a little bit of confidence, he goes up and down at times and it’s due to his confidence, so scoring today will do him the world of good.”

The 54-year-old insisted the club have found it hard to gain some consistency thanks their busy scheduling and admits their fixture list has been 'draining'.

Pulis explained: “What I don’t think people appreciate is that we’ve got 44 games played, we’ve got to the last 32 of the Europa League, we’re in the quarter-finals of the FA Cup, so we’ve had a real busy, busy season in lots of respects against top clubs.

“It takes its toll and it’s difficult, it’s the first time this football club has engaged in such a sequence of games and it’s draining. We’re sitting mid-table in the Premier League, we’ve had a great adventure in Europe.”

Drawing comparisons between the two sides’ success, he added: “I think what Paul [Lambert] has achieved at Norwich is pretty remarkable; to get promoted out of the third-tier into the second and now into the first of English football.

“Also the amount of points they’ve got so far this season is fantastic. Certain managers don’t get the credit they deserve, he does, there’s no question of a doubt and that football club deserves a lot of credit as well.”

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