City booked their place in the second round of the Carabao Cup with a 3-2 win over Swindon Town at Carrow Road.
Goals from Cameron Jerome, Wes Hoolahan and James Maddison gave Norwich the win in a topsy-turvy game on a rain-soaked Tuesday night.
Daniel Farke made only three changes to City’s starting XI from Saturday’s draw with Fulham. Josh Murphy, Wes Hoolahan and Ivo Pinto were all brought in to a very strong looking City side against League Two Swindon. New city signing Marco Stiepermann started on the bench.
City started well in a fluid 4-1-4-1, with Hoolahan and Murphy as wingers but drifting centrally. Constant early pressure resulted in a chance for James Maddison, who wriggled to find room in the box but he put his effort over Lawrence Vigoroux’s bar. Murphy was also presented with a chance after a lovely through-ball from Harrison Reed, but his first touch let him down and the ball was shepherded out.
Maddison, who was already having an all-action game, came to City’s rescue with a goal-line clearance after Harry Smith almost took advantage of a slip by Marcel Franke. He rounded Angus Gunn, but Maddison mopped up brilliantly.
The game burst into life in the 21st minute, with Gunn saving well from a Paul Mullin header. City broke quickly, and Hoolahan played in Jerome but he couldn’t get the ball out of his feet, before the ball fell to Murphy 20 yards out and his powerful shot was tipped over the bar by Vigoroux. A minute later Murphy went close again, but his curling shot was pushed around the post.
Somewhat against the run of play, Swindon took the leader when captain Olly Lancashire nodded in a whipped free-kick past Gunn.
City were level three minutes later though, when Maddison broke into the area to set up Jerome, who calmly slotted the ball under Vigoroux. That was the signal to dominate, and Jerome and Murphy both went close before City took the lead in some style.
A one-touch move saw Murphy play in James Husband down the left, who pulled it back to Hoolahan on the edge of the area. Hoolahan shuffled it into Maddison, who delayed his return pass expertly to the passing Hoolahan, and the Irish magician finished into the roof of the net.
It was the Hoolahan and Maddison show again in the 42nd minute, when Hoolahan rolled the ball neatly into Maddison and he finished low into the bottom corner to send City in 3-1 up at the break.
Norwich started the second-half brightly, but another free-kick proved to be their undoing again in the 62nd minute. This time it was Paul Mullin who got his head to a floated free-kick, beating Gunn at the near post.
Swindon’s goal saw a period of rather flat play at Carrow Road, but Vrancic went close with an angled flick in the 68th minute after good work from Murphy down the right. With a duck – or possibly a goose – flying around the inside of Carrow Road grabbing the crowd’s attention, Gunn kept his concentration to rush off his line smartly and thwart the onrushing Mullin.
Vigoroux was perhaps fortunate to stay on the pitch after taking out the onrushing Jerome in the 78th minute just outside the area, but he escaped with a yellow. Maddison floated the resulting free-kick just over the crossbar.
With five minutes remaining Gunn pulled off an outstanding reaction save, staying strong to stop a point-blank shot from Mullin, before following that up with a brilliant a double-save that showed his reflexes and awareness. Harry Smith then missed a glorious headed chance from another excellent cross by Chris Hussey, nodding wide from just five yards.
City held on to progress to the second round, and will find out their opponents in Thursday evening's draw.