TWO bizarre David Stockdale own goals from Alex Pritchard shots led to Norwich City beating Brighton and Hove Albion 2-0 at Carrow Road, meaning the visitors will have to wait to claim the Sky Bet Championship title.
Lightning struck twice for the Canaries against the promoted Seagulls in a first half where there was nothing to separate the two teams until the 18th minute.
Josh Murphy, in his first attacking run of the game, rode two challenges before the ball dropped to Pritchard 20 yards out, with the midfielder's effort rebounding off the bar before hitting stopper Stockdale and rolling over the line.
John Ruddy made a fine reaction save to deny Uwe Hunemeier but City were strong in possession and Brighton's goalkeeper would have felt a painful sense of de ja vu in the 39th minute.
Pritchard's curling shot on 39 minutes this time hit the post before striking him and going in, gifting the Canaries a two-goal advantage despite not technically having had a shot on target.
Brighton had more of the ball in the second period and Glenn Murray went close to halving their deficit, Jonny Howson blocking his header on the line.
Murray then had two further efforts later in the half but City looked firm defensively as full-time neared closer and they saw the game out for their second victory of the week.
HOW THEY LINED UP
Alan Irvine elected for one change from the 3-1 win at Preston North End on Easter Monday.
Nelson Oliveira came back into his starting eleven at the expense of Cameron Jerome, with Steven Naismith and Josh Murphy continuing on the flanks.
Russell Martin started for his 300th Norwich City appearance, while there were returns to the matchday squad for Wes Hoolahan and Alex Tettey but both had to be content as substitutes.
The Seagulls will have been left shellshocked when a highly unlikely route to scoring was repeated with the same two players in the same half.
For the second goal, Graham Dorrans spotted Steven Naismith in an attacking position, with the winger laying the ball off first time for Pritchard to strike.
Pritchard, courted by Brighton in the summer before electing to move to Norfolk, this time went for placement, the hapless Stockdale unfortunate as the ball bounced off his back and trickled in once more.
WHAT IT MEANS
City's opponents will have to wait a little longer before they can clinch the title, while Irvine's men stayed in eighth place in the division ahead of Saturday's programme of fixtures.
: David Stockdale OG (18, 39)
: Ruddy; Pinto, Martin (c), Bennett, Dijks; Dorrans, Howson; Naismith, Pritchard (Maddison 88), Jo. Murphy (Hoolahan 86); Oliveira. Subs not used
: McGovern (GK), Whittaker, Jerome, Ja. Murphy, Tettey.
BRIGHTON & HOVE ALBION
: Stockdale; Bruno (c), Hunemeier, Dunk, Pocognoli; Knockaert (Hemed 63), Sidwell, Norwood (Stephens 63), March, Murphy; Murray (Akpom 83). Subs not used
: Maenpaa (GK), Skalak, Rosenior, Tomori.
: Tim Robinson
City visit Leeds United in the Sky Bet Championship on Saturday April 29, with tickets on general sale HERE
To view the Canaries' upcoming fixtures in full, click HERE