REVIEW: CITY 3-2 CARDIFFNORWICH City clinched their third win of the league season by beating Cardiff City 3-2 at Carrow Road.
Goals from Cameron Jerome, Russell Martin and Josh Murphy saw the Canaries claim three important points, even though a late double from Anthony Pilkington kept his former team on their toes right up to the final whistle.
The opening quarter hour of the match was stop-start, with an unfortunate interlude for the Canaries as Robbie Brady was forced off injured following an aerial collision and awkward landing.
Just when the match was crying out for something to happen, City fashioned the opener from nowhere - Jacob Murphy whipped a right-footed cross into the dangerzone, and even though Jerome miscued his initial effort at goal, he reacted quickly to stab it in at the near post from a tight angle.
Michael McGovern was forced into a stop from Pilkington, but he saved his best work of the half for the 36th minute when Aron Gunnarsson's arrowed throw-in was flicked on and City's 'keeper reacted superbly to palm clear debutant Rickie Lambert's header.
The second half started in a similar manner to the first, but Cardiff went as close as you can to getting an equaliser when Lambert, with Klose off the pitch, powered a header off the crossbar.
City's second, just shy of 15 minutes into the half, settled a few nerves around Carrow Road - Martin's header off Murphy's corner found its way into the net via Jonny Howson.
Alex Neil's men from then on were in command of the contest and any threat the Welsh visitors had receded - they threatened a third with half chances dropping to Jerome, Klose and substitute Alex Pritchard.
Cardiff had a late rally where they pulled one back, however, when Pilkington scored on his old patch from close range after City's defence failed to clear - but Murphy's delightful curling effort re-established his team's two-goal cushion in the final minute.
There was still time for Pilkington to score again with another poacher's effort in the area from Sean Morrison's knock-back, but they ran out of time to find a leveller as the Canaries clutched gratefully to their second home win of the campaign.
HOW THEY LINED UP
City captain Martin made his first league appearance of the season, with Ryan Bennett the defender to drop to the bench.
Neil also welcomed back Ivo Pinto, Graham Dorrans and Jerome from injury as he made four changes to the side that lost 3-0 at Birmingham City before the international break.
John Ruddy was included among the substitutes, as was Pritchard after he made his comeback for the Under-23s on Tuesday. Nelson Oliveira, Sergi Canos and Steven Naismith were left out of the 18.
Lambert's header off the woodwork early in the second half was a warning sign for the Canaries - but the game swung firmly in their favour with Martin's goal not long after.
Murphy, having taken over corner duty from Wes Hoolahan, delivered a wicked set-piece that City's converted full-back got to first, with the ball glancing off Howson and in.
There was initial confusion over the goalscorer, with both Howson and Martin claiming it as their own - not that it mattered at all for the Canaries, as they established a two-goal advantage.
WHAT IT MEANS
This was a crucial result for City after the poor showing at Birmingham City a fortnight ago.
It gets their league campaign firmly back on track with a busy schedule coming up, even though Neil will admit that there is still room for improvement in certain areas.
Attacking-wise, the team showed plenty of promise with Jerome bagging his third of the season and Pritchard and Murphy having an impact off the bench.
In terms of the table, at the close of the afternoon's action Neil's men had risen to fourth in the standings.
GOALS: Canaries: Cameron Jerome (16), Russell Martin (59), Josh Murphy (90) - Bluebirds: Anthony Pilkington (86, 90)
NORWICH CITY: McGovern; Pinto, Martin (c), Klose, Brady (Bennett 12); Howson, Tettey, Dorrans, Ja. Murphy (Jo. Murphy 83); Hoolahan (Pritchard 72); Jerome. Subs not used: Ruddy (GK), Bassong, Mulumbu, Lafferty.
CARDIFF CITY: Wilson; Peltier, Morrison (c), Ralls, Immers (Whittingham 64), John (Harris 64), Pilkington, Richards, Connolly (Noone 71), Gunnarsson, Lambert. Subs not used: Amos (GK), Ecuele Manga, Huws, Gounongbe.
REFEREE: Oliver Langford
City are due a swift return to Carrow Road for Tuesday night's visit of Wigan Athletic in their next league assignment.
Tickets for the game are on general sale HERE.