Jonny Howson earns Norwich narrow win over Bristol City
Norwich maintained their bright start to life back in the Championship after their brief stay in the top flight when they beat a hard-working Bristol City side 1-0 at Carrow Road.
A well-taken first-half strike from skipper Jonny Howson was enough to make it seven points from a possible nine for Alex Neil's outfit.
The visitors, who had won their opening two games, competed well and had their chances but Norwich were well worth a win that kept them flying high in the table ahead of Sunday's eagerly-awaited derby against Ipswich at Portman Road.
After a low-key start, with neither keeper troubled in the first 10 minutes, Norwich were the first to threaten but Steven Naismith's shot from just outside the box drifted harmlessly wide.
The two sides had picked up 10 points between them in the opening two rounds of fixtures, yet were struggling to make much of an impact as defences held the upper hand.
While Norwich had most of the possession, it was the visitors who carved out the game's first genuine opportunity after 20 minutes, with keeper Michael McGovern marking his full debut by making a splendid reaction save to deny Jonathan Kodjia after the Ivorian had cut inside and fired goalwards.
The match was now warming up and the Canaries went even closer two minutes later when Alex Tettey's piledriver thumped against the upright with Richard O'Donnell well beaten.
As the half wore on Norwich were gradually building up a head of steam and they deservedly took the lead after 38 minutes.
Following a prolonged spell of pressure, Wes Hoolahan finally produced a killer pass as he dinked a delightful little ball into the path of Howson, who found the top corner from 16 yards.
It was an indication of the kind of quality the promotion favourites are capable of and they nearly made it 2-0 just before the interval when a swift interchange between Cameron Jerome and Naismith ended with the latter firing a powerful drive straight at O'Donnell.
A surging run from Robbie Brady had the home crowd on their feet after a slow start to the second period but the end product wasn't there and the Robins were able to clear their lines.
Ivo Pinto's low cross into the danger area was then nearly turned in by Jerome while at the other end Aden Flint's looping header came back off the crossbar before the ball was hacked clear.
It was an entertaining game now with Norwich having the edge but their opponents still very much in it.
With the introduction of former Liverpool youngster Sergi Canos providing the home side with fresh impetus, they carved out another decent chance midway through the second period when Brady stung O'Donnell's palms after creating the opening himself.
The visitors had an incredible escape with 12 minutes to play as Hoolahan's goalbound drive was somehow pushed onto the post, with the ball then rebounding straight into the keeper's arm.
Norwich should really have put the game to bed by then but they comfortably saw the game out.
Source : PA