NORWICH City folded to suffer their worst defeat of the season so far, losing 5-0 to Brighton & Hove Albion at the Amex Stadium.
They actually started brightly but any momentum was firmly halted when a Michael McGovern error allowed Glenn Murray to put the home side ahead after just six minutes.
McGovern's heavy touch from a backpass gave Murray the opportunity to muscle possession off him and slide the ball into the empty net.
The rest of the opening half was frustrating for Alex Neil's men, and Martin Olsson incurred the wrath of the home crowd when he and Murray came together, with both men picking up bookings.
Only as the half-time whistle drew nearer did City start to make inroads in Brighton's defensive third, but David Stockdale went in at the break not having had to make a meaningful save.
Following a lively start after the interval, Brighton caught the Canaries with a classic counter-attack on the hour mark, Jiri Skalak finding Murray in the box, who nodded home his and his team's second.
Lewis Dunk's back-post header from Skalak's corner four minutes later left City's task monumental, and it was gameover when Murray capitalised on a poor McGovern clearance to slam home for his hat-trick.
With six minutes left on the clock, more generous defending allowed Anthony Knockaert to chip McGovern for Brighton's fifth and wrap up a thoroughly convincing win for Chris Hughton over his former club.
HOW THEY LINED UP
Alex Pritchard did enough in the midweek cup game at Leeds to warrant a starting spot on the south coast, with Robbie Brady dropping to the bench.
That was the only change to the team that began the last league outing against Preston as Ivo Pinto missed out on the matchday squad.
Jonny Howson, Steven Whittaker, Youssouf Mulumbu and Matt Jarvis were the other members of the Canaries' squad who were absent with injuries.
The Brighton supporters were still cheering from Murray's second goal was Dunk scored the third to put the game to bed.
Skalak and Anthony Knockaert's threats as interved wingers increased significantly as Brighton upped the tempo in the second half, and it was the Czech winger's corner that provided the assist.
All Dunk had to do was meet the delivery at the far post, and the towering defender did just that to end any hopes Neil's side had of retrieving something from the match.
WHAT IT MEANS
Morale will be at its lowest point of the season so far for City's squad as they extended a disappointing run of results with this thumping loss.
Focus will now switch to a big home game against Garry Monk's Leeds United, where Neil will be desperate to turn it around after a damaging sequence.
Glenn Murray (6, 60, 73), Lewis Dunk (64), Anthony Knockaert (84)
BRIGHTON & HOVE ALBION
: Stockdale; Bruno (c), Duffy, Dunk, Bong; Knockaert (Murphy 90), Sidwell, Stephens, Skalak; Murray (Hemed 75), Baldock (Norwood 78). Subs not used
: Maenpaa (GK), Huenemeier, Goldson, Manu.
: McGovern; Martin (c), Bennett, Klose, Olsson; Tettey; Ja. Murphy (Oliveira 67), Dorrans, Hoolahan (Naismith 74), Pritchard (Brady 75); Jerome. Subs not used
: Ruddy (GK), Bassong, Jo. Murphy, Thompson.
: Andrew Madley
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