Twi quick-fire Norwich goals in the opening ten minutes knocked a spirited Sky Blues side out of the FA Cup at Carrow Road.
Kenny McLean opened the scoring with a composed side-foot finish at the end of some well-worked approach play by the home side and a Jordan Hugill header doubled their lead just 60 seconds later.
Smart saves from Norwich ‘keeper Daniel Barden denied City the opportunity to halve the deficit, despite responding positively after a somewhat shellshocked opening.
Mark Robins made three changes from last week’s victory at The Den, as the Sky Blues looked to advance in the FA Cup. Julien Dacosta was handed his first start for the Sky Blues, with Ryan Giles and Max Biamou also being awarded starting berths.
City’s early afternoon at Carrow Road got off to a nightmare start as goals from Kenny McLean and Jordan Hugill put Norwich 2-0 ahead inside 10 minutes.
Smart link up play on the edge of the box, involving Todd Cantwell, had put McLean through on goal to slot the past Wilson, before Hugills’s header from Placheta’s left-wing cross doubled their advantage.
The Sky Blues had enjoyed early chances before the home side took the lead in an all-action start in East Anglia. Julien Dacosta played the ball to Max Biamou whose measured effort went wide of the post.
Shortly after, Callum O’Hare was the first City player to test the Norwich ‘keeper after being picked out by Gus Hamer in the middle of the box, but his shot was easily collected by Daniel Barden.
Todd Cantwell was a key man for Norwich as they continued to push forward. The midfielder, whose passes dictated the Canaries’ game, found space 20 yards out and unleashed a curling drive that was narrowly off target.
Despite a disheartening start, City rallied after falling behind and proved themselves a threat. Leading the line expertly, Biamou held the ball up in the right channel, forcing his marker back, before his side-foot shot from a tight angle rolled past the post.
HALF-TIME: NORWICH CITY 2-0 SKY BLUES
City started the second half with a point to prove, setting the pace after the break. After several quick-thinking moves, it was Ryan Giles’ deep cross from the left that found Biamou at the front post. The striker got a toe to the ball to direct it goalwards but was denied superbly by the Norwich ‘keeper.
After a back-and-forth battle in midfield, City looked to the spectacular in order to gain more of a foothold in the game. Playing a corner out to the edge of area, Giles hit a dipping first-time volley that flew just over the woodwork.
After the hour mark, Biamou threatened to halve Norwich’s advantage once more and, again, it was Giles who was provider, finding the Frenchman in the box with another cross, but the striker’s shot was well-saved by young ‘keeper Barden.
The Sky Blues began to play on the pressure late on, looking to create a dramatic end to the game. Hamer charged out of City’s half on the counter-attack before picking out Jordan Shipley in space, whose shot was deflected behind. From the resulting corner, Will Bapaga looked to grab his first City goal with a snapshot in the area but his effort was straight at the ‘keeper.
Though City were the side setting the game’s tempo in the final stages, the home side still looked to increase their lead and were inches away from succeeding when Teemu Pukki hit the post with an outside-of-the boot effort from close range on 84 minutes.
FULL-TIME: NORWICH CITY 2-0 SKY BLUES
Goals: Kenny McLean (6’), Jordan Hugill (7’)
Yellows: Kenny McLean, Gus Hamer, Todd Cantwell
Norwich XI: Daniel Barden (GK), Bali Mumba (Aarons, 62’), Ben Gibson, Christoph Zimmermann (Hanley, 45’), Xavi Quintilla, Kenny McLean, Alex Tettey (C), Przemyslaw Placheta, Todd Cantwell (Buendia, 73’), Jacob Sorensen (Skipp, 88’), Jordan Hugill (Pukki, 73’)
Sky Blues Xl: Ben Wilson (GK), Julien Dacosta, Leo Ostigard, Kyle McFadzean (C), Dom Hyam, Ryan Giles, Ben Sheaf (Matty James, 69'), Jordan Shipley (Josh Eccles, 78'), Gustavo Hamer (Will Bapaga, 78'), Callum O'Hare, Max Biamou (Amadou Bakayoko 68').
Subs: Lee Camp (GK), Jordon Thompson, Fankaty Dabo, Jamie Allen, Gervane Kastaneer.