CITY's unbeaten run in the Sky Bet Championship came to an end after they lost 2-1 to Burton Albion at the Pirelli Stadium.
Steven Whittaker had prevented a certain Jackson Irvine goal and Cameron Jerome bent a shot narrowly wide, but Burton went ahead against the run of play on 25 minutes.
Timm Klose was dispossessed by Lasse Vigen Christensen and the midfielder slotted a low cross for Cauley Woodrow to convert from inside the six-yard box.
City then struggled to assert any authority for the rest of the first half against a home team showing high energy off the ball.
Alex Neil's men came out with more purpose in the second period and got their reward seven minutes into it - a leveller in fortuitous circumstances.
Whittaker drilled a shot that was way off target but it hit Jerome in the face and flew into the corner of Jon McLaughlin's net.
Parity last just five minutes, however, as Michael Kightly flicked the ball over Russell Martin's header and lobbed a well-executed finish over John Ruddy.
City endeavoured to bring themselves level again but they failed to test Jon McLaughlin despite seeing more of the ball, and Burton saw it out for a big three points in their battle against relegation.
HOW THEY LINED UP
Neil made just one change from Tuesday's draw with Newcastle United as Alex Pritchard came into his starting eleven.
Wes Hoolahan was the man to drop to the bench for City as Neil had to contend with a number of injuries that ruled out the likes of Ivo Pinto, Steven Naismith and Nelson Oliveira.
Jacob Murphy continued on the right after netting against the Magpies, with Yanic Wildschut on the opposite flank. He played in Wigan's 2-0 win at the Pirelli Stadium last month.
The visitors were the team on the ascendancy after Jerome's fluke equaliser, but they were dealt the blow of going back behind quickly.
Kightly was the furthest man forward for the Brewers but he showed the ambition to deceive City's defender with his turn inside - but his finish was even more impressive.
With Ruddy off his line, the winger lofted the ball over the Canaries' stopper for his third strike in as many matches.
WHAT IT MEANS
City's last league defeat came at Rotherham United on January 14, but they were undone by a battling Burton side who won it with a strike of real quality.
Sheffield Wednesday's win over Nottingham Forest meant the gap to the top six opened up to seven points, with the Owls still having a game in hand.
: Cauley Woodrow (25), Michael Kightly (57) - Canaries
: Cameron Jerome (52)
: McLaughlin; Flanagan, Mousinho (c), Turner, Sordell, Woodrow (Varney 80), Naylor, Christensen (Barker 88), Kightly (Dyer 77), Murphy, Irvine
. Subs not used
: Bywater (GK), Williamson, Palmer, Miller
: Ruddy; Whittaker, Martin (c), Klose, Dijks; Howson, Tettey; Ja. Murphy (Hoolahan 45), Pritchard (Lafferty 86), Wildschut (Jo. Murphy 77); Jerome. Subs not used
: McGovern (GK), Bassong, Bennett, Godfrey.
: Lee Probert
City now have eight days to prepare for the East Anglian derby against Ipswich Town on Sunday, February 26, with tickets for the game sold out.
To view the Canaries' upcoming fixtures in full, click HERE