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 By PA Sport

Gary O'Neil sent off as Norwich City slump to defeat at Stoke City

Stoke CityStoke City
Norwich CityNorwich City
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Norwich were instrumental in their own downfall as they succumbed to a 3-1 Premier League defeat at Stoke.

With the score at 0-0 in the 31st minute, the Canaries were reduced to 10 men when Gary O'Neil was sent off for a needless slide tackle on Ibrahim Afellay.

After falling behind to Jonathan Walters' 49th-minute effort, Norwich were level six minutes later through a cracking Jonny Howson strike.

But Stoke regained the lead through Joselu's smart finish in the 67th minute, and the away side shot themselves in the foot again as Ryan Bennett's own-goal 12 minutes from time sealed victory for the hosts.

Norwich remain five points clear of the relegation zone in 15th place, but will be disappointed after registering three wins from their previous four league fixtures.

The Potters now have three victories from four top-flight games themselves and are up to seventh.

Stoke -- with most of the players rested for Saturday's FA Cup game back in their side -- made a positive start to the contest.

Marko Arnautovic brought a decent save out of Declan Rudd having received a fine lofted pass from Joselu, who was then just unable to finish on the stretch as the same pair combined again.

Joselu restored Stoke City's lead after Norwich had levelled.

Howson sent Norwich's first real effort into the stand before both Walters and Joselu steered wide from Arnautovic tee-ups.

The home side seemed in control, but survived a scare when Wes Hoolahan collected the ball direct from a poor Jack Butland kick, only to send his effort wide.

Butland quickly redeemed himself, pulling off a great diving stop to push away Bennett's strike.

Moments later, Norwich found themselves a man down when O'Neil opted to make a lunging tackle from behind on Afellay, despite the ball having already more or less run out of play by the dugouts.

The challenge left referee Neil Swarbrick with no option but to produce the red card for O'Neil.

Walters looped a shot over the bar, then Arnautovic completely miskicked when in a decent position as Stoke looked to make their man advantage count.

And soon after the break that duo fashioned the opener, Arnautovic whipping in a delightful cross that Walters tucked away.

Things looked grim for Norwich, but the 10 men shocked their hosts with a swift and emphatic response as Vadis Odjidja-Ofoe chested down a Hoolahan cross on the edge of the box and Howson lashed high into the corner.

But within only a few minutes of that, Stoke's lead was restored, Sebastien Bassong's attempt at a clearance going to Afellay, whose pass was slotted in coolly by Joselu.

Bennett then inadvertently made the points safe for the opposition, nodding Afellay's free-kick past Rudd, who denied Stoke substitute Peter Crouch in the final seconds.


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