Norwich City 0, West Brom 1
An early goal from Peter Odemwingie proved decisive as Norwich City were left licking their wounds from their second successive Barclays Premier League defeat.
It was a stormy contest at times with Albion awarded the softest of second-half penalties – saved by goalkeeper Declan Rudd - and City substitute James Vaughan left bloodstained by an elbow in the face in stoppage time.
Odemwingie struck the only goal in the third minute when he cashed in on hesitancy by Ritchie de Laet and poked a shot past goalkeeper Rudd.
Rudd, replacing the suspended John Ruddy, denied Odemwingie a second with a brilliant penalty save 14 minutes from time after Steve Morison was adjudged to have fouled Steven Reid – the fourth spot-kick awarded against Norwich in four Premier League games.
The game became bad-tempered in the closing stages with referee Mark Halsey the focus of the crowd's anger. Vaughan was clearly caught by an elbow by Gabriel Tamas in time added on, but the incident went unpunished.
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So City go to Bolton next week with just two points from a possible 12 on their return to the top flight.
There were three changes to the City starting eleven from the 3-1 defeat at Chelsea.
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Goalkeeper Rudd replaced the suspended Ruddy after his red card at Stamford Bridge, while defender Zak Whitbread, withdrawn after half an hour at Chelsea, was also missing.
Wes Hoolahan was relegated to the bench as Lambert brought in Elliott Bennett and Andrew Surman into a four-man midfield.
There was no substitute 'keeper on the bench as Lambert chose not to recall Jed Steer from his loan spell at Yeovil, nor to bring in a back-up 'keeper, while winger Anthony Pilkington was another absentee from the 18 on duty a fortnight earlier.
Albion boss Roy Hodgson was able to pair Peter Odemwingie and summer signing Shane Long in attack for the first time and Jerome Thomas was preferred to Chris Brunt in one of the wide roles.
Before kick-off, the suspended Ruddy received his award as player of the month for August.
A minute's silence was held before kick-off to mark the 10th anniversary of the 9:11 attacks in the United States.
Rudd's first test came in the opening minute with a swirling cross from full-back Reid that forced him to race from goal to deny Long by nodding the ball past him and knocking it into touch, though the assistant referee ultimately flagged for offside.
There was a bad start for City and the young 'keeper in only the third minute, however, when Odemwingie gave Albion the lead.
Crofts came off second best in a midfield challenge but a through-ball from Shorey ought to have been dealt with between De Laet and Rudd, only for Odemwingie to muscle his way ahead of the hesitant defender and poke the ball past Rudd for the opening goal.
There was the first opening for the Canaries after eight minutes when Chris Martin played in Surman on the left and his cross was kept out by the legs of Foster, for Holt to knock the rebound wide.
Johnson then miscued with a volley from Bennett's cross and, as City kept up the assault, Surman glanced a header wide from another Bennett cross.
Scharner earned the first yellow card of the afternoon with a heavy challenge on Johnson, though it was a delayed booking by referee Halsey after he initially gave City the advantage.
Surman brought Foster into action in the 20th minute with a low shot from the edge of the area after collecting Holt's pass, but it lacked the power to trouble the 'keeper.
Naughton cut out a dangerous cross from Thomas after he and Shorey carved City open down the right side of the defence, and Rudd had to race to the edge of the area to clear as Odemwingie and Barnett chased another through-ball.
Mulumbu whistled a low shot just past the post after 28 minutes when he shrugged off the attentions of Holt and Bennett, but Rudd appeared to have it covered.
There was a good opening on the half-hour when Tierney crossed from the left but Bennett struck it first time, on the bounce, over the bar.
Another Tierney cross forced Albion to concede a corner, City's first, but Bennett's inswinging kick was cleared.
Bennett cut in from the left and tested Foster with a powerful drive that the 'keeper parried, diving to his left, but as Holt nodded the rebound across goal, Surman was flagged offside.
Ten minutes before the break, Rudd denied Odemwingie with a fine save as he moved on to an excellent ball from Mulumbu and struck a powerful effort that the 'keeper kept out with his legs.
Rudd saved again, diving to his right to keep out Thomas's shot, as Albion continued to look dangerous.
That was underlined when Dorrans let fly with a 30-yard thunderbolt that rebounded off Rudd's right-hand post and, with seconds, Rudd was diving to his left to save another Dorrans effort, though he spilled it and De Laet had to clear hastily.
There was further concern for City as the overworked Rudd appeared to be moving none too freely as the interval approached.
• Half-time: Norwich City 0, West Brom 1
Crofts hooked a shot over the top in the third minute after the restart from a Surman cross, but did not connect cleanly.
City threatened again when a cross from Bennett forced Reid to head clear under pressure from Holt.
Dorrans went down needing treatment on his left ankle after a challenge on Bennett midway into the Norwich half, but was able to resume fairly quickly.
City squandered another opening nine minutes into the half when Chris Martin cashed in on a lucky rebound to find Bennett, but when the winger found Surman in the penalty area, the midfielder lost control and the chance was gone.
Another touch from Martin set up Johnson for well-struck effort from
25 yards that narrowly cleared the bar and brought the crowd to life.
City were getting into their stride, not helped when a touch by the referee ended one promising move, but there was a warning at the other end when Thomas curled a shot over the top.
Chris Martin almost worked himself a shooting chance but was crowded out on the edge of the Albion area, though Holt's determination win the ball back had the crowd on their feet.
Lambert made his first change with just over half an hour left when Hoolahan replaced Surman, and within seconds Hoolahan set up Crofts for a 20-yard shot that fizzed just wide.
As the tempo increased, a bad challenge by Dorrans on De Laet left the defender needing treatment on his ankle, but the official kept his cards in his pocket.
There was an angry clash between Johnson and Reid before Albion broke and De Laet had to block Odemwingie's shot.
Albion made a change on 69 minutes with Morrison replacing Dorrans and then there was a double change up front for City with the debut-making Vaughan and Morison taking over from Holt and Chris Martin.
The crowd were appealing for a penalty as Vaughan and visiting skipper Olsson tumbled together in the Albion six-yard box.
But it was at the other end that we were treated to more penalty drama with 15 minutes to go as referee Halsey pointed to the spot when Reid went down under challenge from Morison.
There appeared to be little or no contact as Morison shadowed the full-back on the edge of the six-yard box but the official had no hesitation in giving the spot-kick and De Laet was booked for protesting.
Odemwingie stepped up in the hope of adding to his early goal, but Rudd dived to his right to make an excellent save.
Crofts had a couple of opportunities to bring City back into the contest, but pulled a close-range shot wide and then fired over the top from 20 yards when he had other players in support.
The home crowd were angry again when Thomas went down in the centre circle and took an eternity to hobble off, to be replaced by Brunt.
Vaughan flashed a shot wide as City continued to try to find a way back into the game.
Fellow substitute Morison then put a free header wide – a decent chance but he was taken a little by surprise by Tierney's cross from the left.
Johnson wasted a free-kick opportunity in the final minute when he thundered a shot well wide from 30-plus yards.
Tamas was the next to go down injured during four minutes of stoppage time, the cause of more derision from the home supporters.
There was more controversy when Vaughan was left with blood all over his face from an elbow by Tamas in the six-yard box but the official was unimpressed.
As the second ticked away, Reid was booked for a blatant foul on Morison, but Johnson's free-kick rattled into the wall.
The blood-stained Vaughan finally returned to the field, but was involved in angry exchanges with Albion players at the final whistle.
• Result: Norwich City 0, West Brom 1
• Norwich City: Rudd; Naughton, Barnett, De Laet, Tierney; Bennett, Crofts, Bradley Johnson, Surman (Hoolahan, 62); Holt (Morison, 70), Chris Martin (Vaughan, 70). Subs (not used): Russell Martin, Fox, Wilbraham, Jackson.
• West Brom: Foster; Reid, Tamas, Olsson, Shorey; Dorrans (Morrison, 69), Scharner, Mulumbu, Thomas (Brunt, 84); Long (Tchoyi, 88), Odemwingie. Subs (not used): Fulop, Dawson, Jones, Cox.
• Referee: Mark Halsey (Lancashire)
• Attendance: 26,158
• Goal: Albion: Odemwingie (3)
• Bookings: City: De Laet (75). Albion: Scharner (16), Reid (90)