Norwich City 3 Rotherham United 1
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
Norwich City moved back to the top of the Championship table with a 3-1 win over plucky Rotherham United at Carrow Road.
City had to endure a nervy final quarter when Dexter Blackstock reduced the deficit after earlier goals from Wes Hoolahan and Cameron Jerome but Steven Naismith sealed another home win for Alex Neil's men.
Neil made one change to his starting line up with Robbie Brady not risked after suffering concussion on international duty for the Republic of Ireland. Alex Pritchard made his first league start since a summer move from Tottenham. Jonny Howson was a notable absentee from the matchday squad after picking up an ankle knock. Howson's misfortune opened the door for Naismith to be included among the substitutes.
Tom Adeyemi missed out for the Millers with the former Norwich academy starlet on the comeback trail after a calf problem but Lee Camp did start in goal against the club he spent two loan spells.
City's early dominance told in the 17th minute with Pritchard's vision picking out Hoolahan who conjured a gorgeous body swerve to lose Camp and another Millers' defender to roll the ball calmly into an empty net seven yards out.
Will Vaulks finally tested Michael McGovern in the 37th minute with a shot from long range at the Northern Ireland international.
Hoolahan was left unmarked but headed at Camp from Martin Olsson's cross in the 53rd minute. Pritchard curled a strike wide from the edge of the area with Norwich looking for a priceless second.
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Jerome released the growing sense of unease when he appeared to get the faintest of touches to Hoolahan's inswinging cross to deceive Camp - although there was a friendly inquest between the two in the aftermath.
McGovern preserved Norwich's lead when he dived low to his left to claw out Vaulks' 25-yard shot before Job Taylor was adjudged to be offside when he slotted the rebound.
Any thoughts of a comfortable final quarter for the hosts, however, were ended when Ivo Pinto and Josh Murphy failed to deal with Darnell Fisher down the Rotherham left who picked out Blackstock to slot at the near post.
Neil introduced Naismith for Pritchard in the 78th minute and Graham Dorrans was inches from adding a third in the 84th minute with a vicious, dipping strike.
But City did avoid a nervy finish when Naismith had the simplest of tasks inside the six yard box to slot Josh Murphy's superb low cross a minute from the end of normal time.
• Norwich: McGovern, Pinto, Martin, Klose, Olsson, Tettey, Dorrans, Jacob Murphy (Josh Murphy 66), Hoolahan (Oliveira 90), Pritchard (Naismith 78), Jerome. Subs (not used): Ruddy, Bassong, Bennett, Thompson.
• Goals: Hoolahan (17), Jerome (65), Naismith (90)
• Rotherham: Camp, Vaulks (Forster-Caskey 88), Frecklington, Ward, Taylor, Ball, Halford, Fisher, Fry, Newell (Blackstock 70), Brown (Allan 88). Subs (not used): Price, Mattock, Forde, Wilson.
• Booking: Brown (foul on Pinto, 81)
• Goal: Blackstock (74)
• Time added on: 1 minute / 4 minutes
• Referee: James Adcock (Notts)
• Attendance: 26,813