Norwich feel aggrieved after controversial Chelsea defeat
Norwich were left seething by the manner of Chelsea's controversial 2-1 Premier League win at Carrow Road, which pushed the home side back into the relegation zone.
The Canaries yet again dispensed some early charity when, after just 39 seconds, Kenedy cut inside Ivo Pinto and Alex Tettey before rifling a low shot through the legs of Ryan Bennett to deceive goalkeeper John Ruddy for the fastest Premier League goal of the season.
Norwich, however, appeared to have cleared their heads until Diego Costa burst free from a clearly offside position in first-half stoppage time to lift a cool finish over the advancing Ruddy. Norwich manager Alex Neil said after the game that he had pointed out the error to referee Lee Mason and his officials.
With their team scrapping for Premier League survival, the sense of injustice was palpable inside the stadium. They had some hope when Nathan Redmond lashed home an angled finish in the 68th minute after the unmarked Cameron Jerome had contrived to hit the bar from six yards.
However there was no late salvation for the Canaries, who now travel to relegation rivals Swansea City this weekend in what promises to be an epic encounter.
Player ratings (1-10; 10=best; players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating):
GK John Ruddy, 6 -- Beaten by Kenedy's low strike from the edge of the penalty area after 39 seconds but made a fine stop from Cesc Fabregas' free kick and swept well behind his defence.
DF Ryan Bennett, 6 -- Sacrificed in the second half with Norwich forced to gamble. Looked assured on the right-hand side of a defensive three but no luck with Kenedy's goal, which went through his legs.
DF Russell Martin 6 -- Much better in this defensive system, where he can drop off and dictate the play from deep.
DF Timm Klose, 6 -- Getting better with every game since his January arrival. Relished the physical tussle with Diego Costa. One or two quality touches on the floor and might have salvaged a point in stoppage time with a swinging shot that cleared the bar.
MF Ivo Pinto, 5 -- More defensive concern with the manner in which Kenedy was allowed to cut inside so early in the game. Looks hesitant and uncertain when back-pedalling and is far happier going forward.
MF Jonny Howson, 7 -- Early goalbound shot struck Jerome and spiralled wide. Arguably Norwich's best performer in their recent winless run. Composed on the ball, injects drive and thrust from central midfield.
MF Alex Tettey, 6 -- Failed to close down Kenedy quickly enough. Departed just past the half-hour mark with a leg injury that might have longer term repercussions.
MF Robbie Brady, 7 -- Another who was in the wars. Lost two teeth and chipped a third in a sickening mid-air collision with Gary O'Neil. Hesitant early but improved with Norwich on the front foot.
MF Nathan Redmond, 8 -- Instinctive finish on the angle of the six-yard box revived Norwich's hopes of an improbable comeback. Two other late efforts just brushed Thibaut Courtois' side netting. He has pace and energy and, right now, is City's main attacking weapon.
MF Wes Hoolahan, 7 -- A class act, he rolled in Redmond for the latest assist of a productive season. Gorgeous first half spot served up a great chance for Jerome, who headed over the top.
FW Cameron Jerome, 5 -- Nightmare spell in front of goal continues. Following on from his glaring miss at Leicester on Saturday, he struck the bar from six yards with a volley. Headed over in both halves and looks bereft of confidence.
MF Gary O'Neil, 7 -- Spilt blood for the cause after suffering a two-inch gash to his forehead in a crunching collision with Brady. Returned to the fray with a head bandage.
FW Dieumerci Mbokani, 6 -- Offered a big physical presence and a focal point when Norwich went with two up top.
Paddy is the chief Norwich City correspondent for media group Archant. He has covered the Canaries for more than 10 years. Twitter: @paddyjdavitt.