Bluebirds come from behind to win entertaining match
Cardiff City produced a spirited second-half fightback to ensure manager Neil Warnock had a happy birthday.
Marco Stiepermann’s fine effort from distance put Norwich ahead at the break as the Canaries went in search of their first win in eight games.
But Cardiff levelled through Joe Ralls then Junior Hoilett making it 2-1.
Warnock, on the touchline for his 69th birthday, then saw Ralls hit the woodwork and have a penalty saved before Omar Bogle added a third.
The Bluebirds closed the gap to leaders Wolverhampton Wanderers to just a point thanks to a fourth successive Championship win, while Norwich remain 15th.
Cardiff were without Kenneth Zohore – with the striker still nursing a persistent heel injury – and they were far from their attacking best in a prosaic first-half performance.
The Bluebirds, who failed to set their usual tempo, could have no complaints about trailing at the break, as a Stiepermann effort from distance went through a crowded penalty box to put Norwich ahead.
However, the visitors’ failure to add a second on the stroke of half time seemed likely to be key, with Nelson Oliveira ignoring a man free outside him, then was unable to beat Neil Etheridge with the chance.
Warnock made two changes at the interval, and the Bluebirds responded within four minutes of the restart.
Ivo Pinto was the Canaries’ culprit as he was penalised for a push in the box as Cardiff looked to force an equaliser, allowing Ralls to level from the spot.
Ralls then hit the bar during a goalmouth melee as the Cardiff City Stadium stirred into life.
They then took the lead with 25 minutes remaining, as Hoilett beautifully looped the ball into the net having set up the initial chance for Damour who’s shot rebounded to him.
Norwich didn’t lie down and were given hope when Ralls saw a poor penalty saved by Angus Gunn before Bogle finished from close range after slick work by Tomlin, Damour & Patterson, to ease Cardiff nerves.
Norwich continued to create chances and both Manga & Bennett will look back at a tough evening of defending their full back positions.
What had been a tense affair ended with the Bluebirds supporters serenading their manager with a rendition of happy birthday as they celebrated their side accruing a highest-ever points total after 20 games.
Cardiff City boss Neil Warnock told BBC Radio Wales Sport:
“The lads did me proud in the second half, it’s a good birthday present.
“I haven’t done a half-time team talk like that since I have been at Cardiff, the last time I did something like that it went on YouTube!
“I wish I could have made five substitutions at half-time, we were that bad. I couldn’t see how we could be worse.
“But in the second-half there were so many pluses. It is nice, we were at it right from the word go in the second-half.
“Everyone contributed, including the fans.”
Norwich head coach Daniel Farke told BBC Radio Norfolk:
“In the first half, my lads were brilliant, they didn’t give one chance away, they took the lead with a brilliant goal.
“We had two or three situations where we could go and lead with two goals, but what happened in the second half was unacceptable, but we have to deal with that.
“No-one can tell me why there was a penalty, it’s a foul on my player and we gave a penalty away. Five minutes later they get a free-kick which was never a free-kick, their second chance, they hit the crossbar out of this situation.
“Then they get a second penalty against us, where their striker comes to me after the game and says to me and says ‘I slipped, sorry, but he didn’t touch me’.”
Mendez Laing 6.5
Tomlin 6.5 (for Bryson HT)
Bogle 7 (for Ward HT)
Paterson 7 (for Mendez Laing 70 mins)