A spirited, courageous 90 minutes from the home side at Carrow Road may have saved Chris Hughton’s side, as a counter Robert Snodgrass and solid defending throughout downed the best away side in the Premier League.
Pained looks painted the faces of Tim Sherwood and Daniel Levy as Spurs failed to score for the first time under their new manager, and fell six points back of Liverpool for the final Champions League place.
The opening 15 minutes went by without much noise, with the biggest news being Etienne Capoue’s injury that forced him off after just 13 minutes, replaced by Nacer Chadli.
The match remained a midfield battle for much of the first half, with little happening in either box.
Despite Tottenham’s relative advantage in possession, Norwich seriously frustrated the visitors, as evident by a number of fouls committed by Spurs players for holding Norwich players back.
Moussa Dembele in particular was visibly frustrated after committing an obvious foul, and his words for the referee and toss of the ball earned him a yellow card.
Norwich produced a physical and pressuring style, contesting every Spurs pass, allowing little space for the visiting top-4 hopefuls to build any sort of sustained attack. They had a few opportunities on the break as well, with both Ricky van Wolfswinkel and Sebastian Bassong unable to convert a pair of half-chances.
In the second half, it was more of the same, but one moment just two minutes after the break changed the match in favor of the home side. Robert Snodgrass broke down the right-hand side, collected from Bradley Johnson, and beat Danny Rose to slot home past Hugo Lloris.
It was a major moment for relegation-threatened Norwich, and seriously pegged Tottenham back.
Spurs began to slowly build more threatening chances, but twice a heavy touch from Emmanuel Adebayor meant an equalizer eluded the towering Togolese international.
Tim Sherwood brought on Roberto Soldado in a straightforward attacking change, replacing Paulinho, and this swung the match in favor of the visitors. However, Soldado’s chance to score on his first touch went like so many have from the Spaniard this year, never testing the keeper and slicing wide from an angle.
Ricky van Wolfswinkel was withdrawn by Chris Hughton on 72 minutes to warm applause, with the home crowd recognizing his hard work despite it not directly leading to results.
It was all Spurs from there, as Soldado, Nacer Chadli, and the rest of the attack desperately peppered John Ruddy’s goal with chances, but nothing would come of it.
Norwich held on and the crowd roared at full time, showering their faithful with praise as a dejected Spurs squad quickly exited the pitch. For the relegation-threatened Canaries, the three points are enormously valuable, boosting them four points clear of the drop.
Norwich – Ruddy; Martin, Yobo, Bassong, Olsson; Tettey, Johnson; Snodgrass, Fer, Redmond (Hoolahan 86′); van Wolfswinkel (Hooper 72′).
Goals: Snodgrass (47′)
Tottenham – Lloris; Naughton, Dawson, Vertonghen, Rose (Townsend 82′); Capoue (Chadli 13′), Bentaleb, Dembele, Paulinho (Soldado 65′); Lennon, Adebayor.