REVIEW: CITY 3-1 ROTHERHAM
CITY reclaimed top spot in the Sky Bet Championship with a fully-deserved 3-1 victory over Rotherham United.
From the offset, Alex Pritchard and Wes Hoolahan were constantly looking for the ball and eachother and they combined in sublime fashion to put Alex Neil's side ahead on 17 minutes.
Pritchard slid a delicate pass into Hoolahan's path, and the Irish magician manufactured an open goal by sending two Millers defenders the wrong way, sliding the ball effortlessly into the corner.
In possession in the first half, City arguably combined better than they have done all season - but Rotherham carried a direct threat via target man Danny Ward and their free-kicks and long throw-ins.
After the break, the Canaries' dominance increased even further and after a relentless push for a second goal, they got it on 65 minutes when Cameron Jerome guided Hoolahan's cross in via a touch from Lee Camp.
But it's been two months since City have kept a cleansheet in the league and they conceded nine minutes later when substitute Dexter Blackstock didn't have to do much to convert Darnell Fisher's delivery.
Once again it created a tense final part of the game, but Steven Naismith wrapped up the points by coming off the bench to convert fellow sub Josh Murphy's cross a minute before the end.
HOW THEY LINED UP
City's manager was forced into one change from the win over Wolves a fortnight ago after Robbie Brady suffered concussion while playing for the Republic of Ireland in their World Cup qualifier against Georgia.
Pritchard came in for his first league start for the Canaries since his summer move from Tottenham Hotspur - he began on the left flank, with Jacob Murphy on the right.
Naismith was among the substitutes, but last year's Player of the Season Jonny Howson was missing from the matchday 18.
For the first 20 minutes of the second half, there was air of expectancy in the Carrow Road atmosphere as City, completely in control, looked for that vital second goal.
Eventually it came, and to no-one's surprise Hoolahan was involved - the veteran creator had spied Jerome run in the box, and his delivery was perfect for City's striker to touch home.
It was Jerome's sixth strike of the campaign, and his third in as many matches after notching against Newcastle United and Wolves.
WHAT IT MEANS
City will enjoy being at the summit of the table until at least Sunday lunchtime, when Huddersfield Town take on Sheffield Wednesday with the target of once again displacing the Canaries.
Morale will be high heading to Craven Cottage to take on Fulham in midweek, especially after the attractive nature of some of the team's attacking play throughout this game.
The Canaries remain unbeaten at home in all competitions this season too, but Neil will surely place this performance as the most satisfying from their league outings so far.
GOALS: Canaries: Wes Hoolahan (17), Cameron Jerome (65), Steven Naismith (89) - Millers: Dexter Blackstock (74)
NORWICH CITY: McGovern; Pinto, Martin (c), Klose, Olsson; Dorrans, Tettey; Ja. Murphy (Jo. Murphy 66), Hoolahan (Oliveira 90), Pritchard (Naismith 78); Jerome. Subs not used: Ruddy (GK), Bassong, Bennett, Thompson.
ROTHERHAM UNITED: Camp (GK); Vaulks (Forster-Caskey 88), Frecklington (c), Ward, Taylor, Ball, Halford, Fisher, Fry, Newell (Blackstock 70), Brown (Allan 88). Subs not used: Price (GK), Mattock, Forde, Wilson.
REFEREE: James Adcock
Tickets remain available for the Canaries' visit to Fulham in the Sky Bet Championship on Tuesday.