Norwich’s long wait for a home win finally ended as they came from behind to beat Sheffield Wednesday 3-1 in an hard-fought Sky Bet Championship contest at Carrow Road.
Second-half goals from James Maddison, Timm Klose and Nelson Oliveira - the latter from a penalty deep into stoppage time - overturned a well-worked 18th-minute opener from Jordan Rhodes as the Canaries triumphed on home soil for the first time since September 9.
Wednesday manager Carlos Carvalhal felt his side were punished for switching off at the back as their disappointing run continued.
“The moment of the game was their first goal - that changed everything,” he said.
“When you are winning you should never get caught on the counter-attack but that is what happened. The players had shown a lot of quality in the first half but they compromised everything in that moment. As a manager it is not something you want to see.
“The instructions at half-time were to stay solid and go looking for a second goal but we allowed them to score on the break and that was very disappointing. The game was then well balanced and they scored from a corner but the first goal was the key.”
Carvahal had been impressed with his side’s first half showing.
“I thought we were solid and composed and scored a very good goal,” he added. “The players were working hard and did very well. But then we lost our balance and you can’t do that.
“When they went ahead we went for it and had three strikers on the pitch but we couldn’t get back into the game and now it’s a case of focusing on the next game against Wolves which, like all games, we will be going all out to win.
“That is always my target.”
Norwich had picked up a meagre five points from a possible 21 since seeing off Birmingham 1-0 three months ago, but they turned in a spirited display in front of the television cameras and fully deserved the three points.
The hosts did little to warm the freezing home fans during the early stages, however.
Mario Vrancic and Maddison curled long-range efforts just over but that was about as exciting as it got until the Owls took the lead with their first incisive attack of the game on 18 minutes.
The hosts were guilty of some slack defending from a throw-in deep in their own half and the ball was in the back of net within seconds as Morgan Fox whipped in a cross, Adam Reach helped it on and Rhodes headed home from close range.
The visitors should have been pegged back after giving the ball away carelessly nine minutes later. Maddison picked out the run of Oliveira, who had stayed onside, but - in the clear and with just Keiren Westwood to beat - he carelessly side-footed just wide.
The Wednesday goalkeeper then did well to save an Oliveira header low to his left after skipper Ivo Pinto had sent in a perfect cross, but it was Wednesday who finished the first half the stronger and it took a good reaction block from Angus Gunn to deny ex-Canary Gary Hooper from inside the six-yard box.
Westwood was called into action just 35 seconds into the second half to tip over another header from Oliveira after Alex Pritchard had done well to get in another testing cross, while Vrancic hit the side-netting following a swift counter-attack.
Daniel Farke’s side were now on top and deservedly got back on level terms on 55 minutes through the impressive Maddison. Westwood did well to palm away a low drive from the fast-advancing Pritchard, but the ball fell invitingly for his fellow midfielder who drilled home from a tight angle to lift the mood at Carrow Road.
Norwich were now playing with a lot more confidence and took advantage of some poor marking at a corner to move ahead midway through the second period. No-one picked up Klose’s run as Pritchard curled the ball and the big Swiss defender simply powered home a header from close range, giving Westwood no chance.
Wednesday looked shell-shocked and struggled to produce a response as they were kept at arm’s length by a resolute home defence.
Hooper got the ball in the back of the net from an offside position but the Owls never seriously threatened to get back into the match and the result was confirmed deep into stoppage time when Harrison Reed was brought down by Barry Bannan when bearing down on goal and Oliveira stroked home the spot-kick.