Norwich City beat West Bromwich Albion 2-0 at The Hawthorns thanks to a stylish finish from Gary Hooper and a breakaway goal from Leroy Fer near the end of the game as the Canaries leapfrogged the Baggies in the Premier League table.
In a game between two sides who started the day separated by just one point, Norwich’s first and ultimately decisive goal, after 12 minutes, came vaguely against the run of play. Hooper ran onto a slightly deflected - but nicely weighted - through ball by Fer and finished hard and low from the edge of the penalty area, across Boas Myhill.
West Brom came back well and dominated possession throughout the game, creating a few decent openings - Victor Anichebe and Stephane Sessegnon worked hard to create space for shots - but their crossing was disappointing at crucial moments, while at the back for Norwich Sebastien Bassong made clearance after clearance.
The second half worked itself into a neat pattern: West Brom possession, and occasional periods of sustained pressure, followed by Norwich counter attacks - led, most often, by the pace of Nathan Redmond.
It became a question of who would crack first. The introduction of Saido Berahino and Shane Long worked to suggest it might be West Brom, and Sessegnon missed a great chance on 51 minutes, but John Ruddy made a string of useful saves and, late on, Fer put the game beyond West Brom.
12' - GOAL! (West Brom 0-1 Norwich City) Leroy Fer splits the West Brom defence with a well weighted pass on 12 minutes. There, on the end of it, is Gary Hooper to slot the ball past Boas Myhill like a proper goalscorer should.
33' WEST BROM HEADER GOES CLOSE: Chris Brunt's nicely directed corner is met by Gareth McAuley, who heads the ball down, only for it to bounce just wide.
51' SESSEGNON MISS: After another direct run, Sessegnon finds himself one on one with Ruddy after some slack Norwich defending. He waits, and waits, and Ruddy goes the wrong way only for the striker to push it wide.
89' GOAL! (West Brom 0-2 Norwich City): Leroy Fer receives the ball with West Brom all over the place in defence. Instantly one on one with their last man he cuts the ball back across goal and into the bottom corner.
West Bromwich Albion have now won only one of their last nine Barclays Premier League games (D3 L4).
Norwich City had lost five and won just two of the last seven league meetings with the Baggies. They've improved that record by precisely one win now.
Norwich had averaged more than 4 goals conceded in their last five away games. With today's clean sheet that average is back down below four.
Norwich remain the only Premier League team for whom a substitute hasn’t scored this season. An early goal today meant taking the goalscorers off, not bringing them on.
TALKING POINT: Where do West Brom go from here? After an indifferent start to the season, West Brom are starting to have a disappointing middle. They're now below Norwich in the table, drifting near the relegation places. It's hard to understand - because they have a bunch of great attacking stars and a defence full of players who did well last season. So what's the solution?
MAN OF THE MATCH
Gary Hooper (Norwich City): He scored, and that's what strikers are supposed to do. After a slow start at Norwich he's started to prove that he's good enough at this level. His finish today was the game's decisive contribution and oozed class. One chance, one goal, is a pretty good ratio.
West Brom: Myhill 6, Jones 6, McAuley 5, Lugano 5 , Ridgewell 6, Yacob 6, Mulumbu 7, Amalfitano 6, Sessegnon 7, Brunt 6, Anichebe 6. Subs: Long 6, Vydra 5, Berahino. 6
Norwich: Ruddy 7; Whittaker 6, Turner 6, Bassong 7, Olsson 6; Redmond 6, Howson 5, Johnson 5, Fer 7, Elmander 5, Hooper 7. Subs: Murphy 5.
THE MATCH IN A TWEET