Norwich City extended their winning run to nine to go ten points clear at the top of the Championship with nine games remaining by beating Nottingham Forest 2-0 at the City Ground on Wednesday night thanks to goals from Teemu Pukki and Kieran Dowell.
Daniel Farke made one change to the team that started Sunday's 2-1 win away to Sheffield Wednesday, Dowell replacing Emi Buendia, who was with his partner following the birth of their second child.
City began the game showing real intent, appetite and desire to take the lead early on, Dowell shooting just wide of the near post from distance inside three minutes. He wouldn't need too many more invitations.
Max Aarons was next to have a go, his shot towards the near post pushed behind for a corner by Jordan Smith.
Pukki didn't need any time to get into the game, his first shot finding the back of the net in the ninth minute to give Norwich the breakthrough. Lukas Rupp found the Finn just inside the 18-yard box, and Pukki dropped a shoulder to shift the ball slightly to the right before picking out the bottom left corner.
Recall Dowell's previous long distance effort that went just wide of the post? It was a prelude to the strike that came in the 14th minute, Rupp again notching the assist as Dowell played a tidy one-two with him before smashing a volley into the bottom right corner from at least 20 yards out.
Celebrations were muted from the former Nottingham Forest loanee, but the smile across Dowell's face gave away the delight at how brilliantly Norwich had started the game.
When Forest got their first chance of the game it came by way of a looping ball into the box, Luke Freeman's corner headed wide by Ryan Yates.
Tyler Blackett lifted a cross into the danger area six minutes later, but this time there was a Norwich head on the end of it, Ben Gibson timing his retreating run well to nod the ball over the bar. The following corner was placed over by Tobias Figueiredo.
Having weathered a less than severe storm, Norwich constructed another couple of chances in and around the half hour mark. Kenny McLean arced a beautiful pass forward on the outside of his left boot for Todd Cantwell to collect. He in turn played the ball into the path of Pukki who hit the side netting.
The trio of Pukki, Cantwell and McLean then linked up again at pace on the counter. On the right of the 18-yard box, Cantwell stroked the ball across the face of goal for McLean to run onto, but Smith did well to narrow the angle and make the block to keep the score at 2-0 going into half-time.
Forest looked more lively at the start of the second half, Lewis Grabban drawing a foul from Oliver Skipp and Freeman getting the better of Grant Hanley with some step-overs before shooting just wide of the far post.
The home side ought to have pulled one back in the 53rd minute. James Garner brought down Rupp but no free-kick was given, allowing the former to put the ball on a plate for Grabban. He failed to convert, however, as Tim Krul replicated Smith against McLean in the first half to fly off his line and save with his chest.
Again, Norwich contained the Forest pressure before creating chances of their own, Cantwell bringing the ball forward for Pukki, who dug it out of his feet to shoot on goal from a tight angle, Smith equal to it. Hanley headed the corner that followed over the bar.
McLean poked the ball out to the right wing to find Pukki moments later, who timed his run perfectly with the linesman's flag staying down. Pukki pulled the ball back for Cantwell in a more central position, and he dragged it just wide of the far post.
With 15 minutes remaining, Norwich began to slow the pace of the game down and control possession, Dimitris Giannoulis next to have a sight of goal when he shot wide from just outside the box.
Aarons did well to get into the box with seven minutes to go before seeing his shot blocked by Alex Mighten, bringing about the introduction of Jacob Sorensen in place of Rupp.
Jordan Hugill then came on for Pukki while Onel Hernandez replaced Dowell, the Cuban coming on for his 100th Norwich City appearance.
There was still time for Cantwell to have a shot from distance, his effort flying straight into Smith's arms. Alexander Tettey then came on for Todd Cantwell and Christoph Zimmermann for Oliver Skipp as City calmly saw out all three points.
Nottingham Forest: Smith (GK), Christie, Figueiredo, McKenna, Blackett, Yates (Murray 86'), Garner, Ameobi, Cafu, Freeman (Mighten 76'), Grabban (C) (Taylor 76')
Subs not used: Diallo (GK), Ribeiro, Mbe Soh, Colback, Jenkinson, Krovinovic
Norwich City: Krul (GK), Aarons, Hanley (C), Gibson, Giannoulis, Skipp (Zimmermann 90+3'), McLean, Dowell (Hernandez 88'), Rupp (Sorensen 85'), Cantwell (Tettey 90+3'), Pukki (Hugill 88')
Subs not used: Nyland (GK), Vrancic, Placheta, Stiepermann
Goals: Pukki (9'), Dowell (14')
Bookings: Skipp (48')
Venue: The City Ground
Referee: Leigh Doughty