REPORT: CITY 1-0 HULLRYAN Bennett's header three minutes from time secured a vital 1-0 win over Hull City for the Canaries on Saturday afternoon.
The defender nodded home to end a run of eight matches without a victory and propel Chris Hughton's side up to 12th place in the Premier League on the final whistle.
Carrow Road witnessed a tense match, with the visitors' best opportunity coming after just three minutes through Nikica Jelavic.
Jonas Gutierrez was handed his full debut by Chris Hughton, while City were also boosted by the return of Alex Tettey and Anthony Pilkington to the bench after long injury absences.
Hull – managed of course by former Canary Steve Bruce - threw new signing Jelavic straight into their starting line-up, but Shane Long missed out on his first appearance for the Tigers as he nurses an ankle injury.
It was Jelavic who almost stunned the home crowd within two minutes as he met Robert Koren’s pullback, only to see his shot flick off the edge of the post and wide, to the relief of City’s standstill defence.
City broke through for the first time on 11 minutes as Bradley Johnson’s chipped cross was nodded back across goal by Robert Snodgrass, only for Ricky van Wolfswinkel to steer a difficult chance wide.
Snodgrass then had an effort saved by Allan McGregor and Sebastien Bassong headed over as Chris Hughton’s side looked to carve out an opening, but the visitors did carry a threat on the break.
Norwich’s pressing continued but they failed to create any clear-cut opportunities, although Snodgrass had McGregor at full stretch three minutes before with a dipping drive from distance that had the crowd on their feet.
There was then concern as van Wolfswinkel took a blow to the head while jumping for the ball with Curtis Davies, but the Netherlands international was able to continue after treatment.
HALF-TIME: Norwich City 0-0 Hull City
The tempo was up from the Canaries at the beginning of the second period but still they were searching for that moment in front of goal that would have them a crucial advantage.
Leroy Fer headed over from a Snodgrass corner, before Hughton withdrew Gutierrez for the returning Pilkington as he made his first substitution of the game.
Gary Hooper tried to recreate his volley against Swansea when the ball to him 30 yards from goal on 70 minutes, but this time it was the wrong side of the crossbar.
Luciano Becchio came on for a battle-worn van Wolfswinkel, but it was a defender who notched the crucial winner for the Canaries with just three minutes left on the clock.
Snodgrass’ whipped corner was met perfectly by Bennett, who sent Carrow Road into raptures as his header nestled into the back of the net.
Tom Huddlestone was then sent-off for two bookable offences after a late tackle on Fer, before Bennett nearly got his second, but was denied by the reflexes of McGregor, with Becchio failing to score from the rebound.
FULL-TIME: Norwich City 1-0 Hull City
GOALS: Canaries: Ryan Bennett (87)
NORWICH CITY: Ruddy; Martin, R Bennett, Bassong (c), Olsson; Snodgrass, Fer, Johnson, Gutierrez (Pilkington 69); van Wolfswinkel (Becchio 79), Hooper. Subs not used: Bunn (GK), Whittaker, Hoolahan, Redmond, Tettey.
HULL CITY: McGregor; Chester (Figueroa 15), Bruce, Davies; Rosenior, Huddlestone, Koren (Fryatt 82), Livermore, Elmohamady; Sagbo (Boyd 67), Jelavic. Subs not used: Harper (GK), Meyler, Faye, Quinn.