Stoke City failed to score in their second straight home match, and Norwich City’s better first half and organized defending gave the visitors all three points with a 1-0 win courtesy of Jonny Howson’s goal.
Norwich started confidently, passing well through the midfield and sending in a few dangerous crosses. Stoke will find themselves lucky to keep out the Canaries in the first 10 minutes, weathering a good corner that a sliding Ryan Bennett crashed into the underside of the crossbar.
That was the only real good chance in the first half hour, as both teams battled but produced little. Stoke slowly climbed back into the fight, but still struggled to maintain any lengthy spells of possession.
The home side managed their first shot in the 33rd minute, as Marko Arnautovic blasted a searching shot just past the top right corner.
Norwich responded immediately, as Howson found some space and fired a ducking shot from distance. It caught Asmir Begovic flat-footed and the ball found the back of the net for a deserved opener.
The Norwich domination of the first half was acknowledged by Stoke manager Mark Hughes, as the 49-year-old made two changes after the break bringing on Jermaine Pennant and Stephen Ireland. The two immediately provided support for Kenwyne Jones, and the possession instantly improved.
Despite the cearly more dangerous attack for Stoke City, Jones could not manage anything worthy of a goal, and was replaced by the towering Peter Crouch.
Norwich winger Robert Snodgrass, who had a relatively poor match overall, had a bit of brilliance in the 80th minute to give the visitors a chance at going two-up, but his curling shot was saved well by a diving Begovic.
Only able to grab the lone goal, Norwich were forced to repel intense pressure in the final 10 minutes of the match, but they held firm down the stretch and in stoppage time to seal the win.
The win draws Chris Hughton’s Norwich level with Stoke on points with seven. It’s a big result considering they have Chelsea, Arsenal, and Manchester City coming up in their next four fixtures.
Mark Hughes mentioned before the match that his side were working on creating more of an attacking sense, but it would seem back to the drawing board for the Welshman and his Midlands club.
Norwich City – Howson 34′
Stoke City – Begovic; Cameron, Shawcross, Huth, Pieters; Walters (Pennant, 46′), Nzonzi, Wilson, Adam (Ireland, 46′), Arnautovic; Jones (Crouch, 66′).
Norwich City – Ruddy; Martin, Turner, R. Bennett, Olsson; Tettey, Fer, Howson; Snodgrass, Pilkington (Whittaker, 83′); van Wolfswinkel (Elmander, 76′).