TEN-MAN Norwich City had to be content with a point after drawing 2-2 with Blackburn Rovers in their first game since Alex Neil's departure.
Cameron Jerome put the hosts in front on 19 minutes with his 13th goal of the campaign, tapping in on the line after excellent work and a cross from Josh Murphy.
Just two minutes later, however, the Canaries were reduced to ten men when Mitchell Dijks was shown a straight red card by referee Simon Hooper after a clumsy tackle on Marvin Emnes.
Elliott Bennett and Danny Graham put good chances wide for the visitors as they looked to take advantage, but a rejigged home side saw out the remainder of the half.
Ivo Pinto crashed a shot off the outside of the post with half an hour left, but Blackburn started to see more of the ball and nearly scored when substitute Lucas Joao's low effort rebounded off the woodwork.
Their pressure told on 73 minutes, however, when Joao - a nuisance to City's defence after he replaced Liam Feeney - turned in Connor Mahoney's attempted shot.
Five minutes later, Joao peeled away from his marker to turn the game on its head, nodding in the cross after Danny Graham had spotted him from his position on the right.
But the Canaries responded quickly - Jacob Murphy's spark made the goal as he cut in off his flank before finding Jerome, whose shot took a heavy deflection off Bennett before nestling in the corner.
HOW THEY LINED UP
Temporary boss Alan Irvine made two changes from Tuesday's draw at Bristol City as Alex Pritchard and Wes Hoolahan returned to the starting eleven.
That meant Steven Naismith and goalscorer Yanic Wildschut dropped to the substitutes' bench, where they were joined by Jacob Murphy who had missed out entirely at Ashton Gate.
Timm Klose remained absent from the matchday squad, while the game still came too soon for Graham Dorrans (knee), Youssouf Mulumbu (thigh) and Nelson Oliveira (foot).
Blackburn named two former Canaries in their matchday squad in the shape of Bennett and Elliott Ward.
The Canaries had looked beaten when Joao made no mistake with his free header, but the talismanic Jerome had other ideas.
Buoyed by the energy of Murphy, who had danced effortlessly inside his man, the depleted hosts found their leveller when he picked out Jerome in the area.
Bennett, back at Carrow Road for the first time since leaving, was unfortunate to divert his former teammate's shot beyond Steele, meaning Blackburn lost two points in their fight against relegation.
WHAT IT MEANS
Sheffield Wednesday's defeat at Aston Villa meant the gap to the top six narrowed to eight points, but games are running out fast for City to keep their faint play-off hopes alive.
At the end of the day's action they had dropped down to ninth in the table, with Preston North End climbing above them following their victory over Reading.
: Cameron Jerome (19, 82) - Rovers
: Lucas Joao (73, 78)
: McGovern; Pinto, Bennett, Martin (c), Dijks; Tettey, Howson; Jo. Murphy (Ja. Murphy 71), Pritchard (Whittaker 25), Hoolahan (Wildschut 71); Jerome. Subs not used
: Ruddy (GK), Bassong, Naismith, Maddison.
: Steele; Hoban, Williams, Lowe (c), Feeney (Joao 58), Graham, Emnes, Guthrie (Akpan 54), Nyambe (Mahoney 45), Lenihan, Bennett
. Subs not used
: Raya (GK), Ward, Tomlinson, Brown
: Simon Hooper
City are back at Carrow Road next week for the visit of Barnsley, with tickets now on on general sale. For all the details and to buy, click HERE
To view the Canaries' upcoming fixtures in full, click HERE