Norwich were undone by two goals in five minutes as they were left to rue missed opportunities against Bolton Wanderers.
Gary Madine opened the scoring from five yards in the 35th minute before Adam Armstrong struck from just outside the area to double the home side’s lead. City had plenty of chances - and Josh Murphy pulled one back in injury time - but they fell to a third successive Championship defeat.
The Canaries made five changes to the XI that lined up against Wolverhampton Wanderers on Tuesday evening, with Daniel Farke keeping things fresh in the last game before the international break. Christoph Zimmermann slotted back in alongside Timm Klose at the back, with Marco Stiepermann taking his place on the left as Grant Hanley and James Husband dropped to the bench. Up top Cameron Jerome started in place of Marley Watkins, while Wes Hoolahan came in for Mario Vrancic and Yanic Wildschut returned in place of Josh Murphy.
City came close to opening the scoring in the first 10 minutes. Some brilliant one-touch football in Bolton’s final third ended with Hoolahan dinking a ball through to Jerome in the area, but his shot on the right was saved by Ben Alnwick's feet. Moments later Norwich worked it back into the box and Jerome had another very presentable chance in the centre of the box, but rolled it wide of Alnwick's left post when he should have hit the target.
Bolton were happy to move the ball quickly from the back into their frontman Madine, but City’s passing game was creating more chances. Hoolahan chipped through a lovely free-kick into Wildschut’s path, but he got caught between controlling it and shooting first time, and the ball ran through to Alnwick.
In the 21st minute a James Maddison corner from the right found Zimmermann at the near post, but his low header was flicked into the side-netting under pressure.
Bolton begin to grow into the game around the half hour mark and came close to scoring twice in a minute, with the impressive Sammy Ameobi at the heart of it. First he floats a cross from the right that finds Adam Armstrong completely free 10 yards out, but he headed tamely over. Moments later a cross from the left was met first time by Ameobi, but his left-foot volley was just wide of Angus Gunn’s left post.
Bolton made City pay in the 34th minute when a low cross from Darren Pratley picked out Madine in the centre, and he tucked it past Gunn from six yards. Once again Norwich were made to pay for missing chances to open the scoring.
Five minutes before half-time Bolton doubled their lead, with Armstrong reacting quickest on the edge of the area and curling a tremendous strike in off the post.
They almost added a third just before half time when Armstrong cut in from the left, but Gunn got down to save his right-foot effort.
There were no changes for the second half, with Bolton starting as they left off. Ameobi was particularly influential, and City found it difficult to string a series of passes together.
Bolton began to retreat in order to sit on their lead, but the Canaries were finding it difficult to punch holes in the Trotters’ wall. Hoolahan threaded through a delightful pass from right to left but Alnwick was out just at Stiepermann’s feet.
Farke made a double change on the 63rd minute, with Marley Watkins and Josh Murphy introduced for Yanic Wildschut and Tom Trybull. Minutes later Mario Vrancic was also introduce for Harrison Reed as City went on the attack.
Watkins went close when he drove a Hoolahan cut-back into the side-netting, and shortly after Murphy sent a curling effort just over the crossbar as City upped the tempo.
Hoolahan, who was influential throughout, weaved past three Bolton players and put in a terrific chip to the backpost, which was headed behind for a corner. Zimmermann rose highest, but planted his header straight at Alnwick.
With six minutes remaining Murphy had a glorious chance to half the deficit. He was played through, but his first effort was saved by Alnwick and then the rebound fell at an awkward angle to him and he put it wide.
A minute later and Jerome put a headed chance just wide at the back post from a Vrancic corner.
City continued pressing, and got a late reward in inury time when Jerome did well to hold the ball up and feed it in to Murphy, who struck a shot high into the net. But there was barely a minute left, and City were left to wonder what could have been if it hadn't been for the missed chances.