Norwich City 3, West Brom 0
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
Norwich City cruised into the Capital One Cup fourth round with an emphatic 3-0 win over Premier League rivals West Brom at Carrow Road on Wednesday night.
Matt Jarvis thumped City in front in the seccond half before Kyle Lafferty marked his return to the City ranks with a cool slot from 18 yards. The Northern Irishman's nuisance value also brought a third a minute from normal time, although West Brom's Sebastian Pocognoli got the final touch to Jonny Howson's near post cross to divert the ball past his own keeper.
Seb Bassong, Graham Dorrans and Jarvis were the only starters retained from the weekend's 1-1 Premier League draw at Liverpool – Dorrans lining up against his old club.
Lewis Grabban made his first Carrow Road appearance since a recent suspension following a disappearance from the team hotel prior to the previous round's win at Rotherham. Grabban was deployed slightly deeper than Dynamo Kiev frontman Dieumerci Mbokani, who made his full Norwich debut.
Declan Rudd was recalled after his impressive display in the cup win at the New York Stadium with John Ruddy, captain Russell Martin and Cameron Jerome all given the night off.
City's bench, however, contained plenty of top flight nous with Wes Hoolahan, Howson and Nathan Redmond joined by Lafferty and Harry Toffolo. There was also a first senior match day appearance for Jake Kean following his free transfer summer arrival.
Albion chief Tony Pulis rang the changes from the weekend's 1-0 Premier League win at Aston Villa with the likes of Saido Berahino and Darren Fletcher absent. Craig Dawson was the only starter from the win at Villa Park, with former Everton striker Victor Anichebe operating in a holding midfield role.
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Grabban linked with Olsson for the first home foray but the Swede's cross was too deep for Mbokani lurking on the six yard line.
Jarvis' closing down of James Chester earned appreciation from the home fans, underlining Neil's pre-match pledge to seriously attack the tie.
Andre Wisdom's first time rolled pass freed Elliott Bennett in the 15th minute but Jonas Olsson cleared at his near post with the likes of Mbokani and Grabban in close attendance.
City continued to dominate territory and possession as the Baggies looked to hit on the counter and get quick raiding parties around Rickie Lambert.
Albion carried a threat on set pieces but Rudd's handling proved secure under intense pressure from Anichebe in the 20th minute.
Mbokani created a pocket of space on the edge of the visitors' penalty box at the opposite end but sliced his right-footed shot wide.
Grabban's curled attempt, after cutting in off the left flank, brought the first real save of note for either keeper as Anders Lindegaard gathered.
Jarvis then stood up an inviting cross for Elliott Bennett but the former Wolves' man's glancing header drifted wide.
The West Ham loanee continued to be Norwich's most productive outlet, easily outwitting Dawson but Lindegaard was decisive in his handling at the near post.
Elliott Bennett spurned the best chance of the tie to date in the 33rd minute when he planted a rebound wide nine yards out, after captain O'Neil's deflected shot had thudded against the base of a post.
Olsson then crafted a teasing cross with no takers that veered along Lindegaard's six yard line as City searched for the decisive intervention.
Bassong responded to the crowd's urges to shoot five minutes before the interval with Anichebe happy to concede a corner as he came to confront the Cameroon international.
The centre back was required back on familiar territory seconds later to halt Serge Gnabry after Lambert's flick momentarily altered the dynamic of total City control.
Neil opted to make a change at the break with Howson introduced for Dorrans. City were indebted to Ryan Bennett's header clear with Lambert poised to test Rudd in the 48th minute from a swift Albion counter sparked by Christian Gamboa.
Craig Gardner then had Rudd scrambling across his line with an instinctive strike from long range that dropped wide in a signal of greater ambition from the visitors.
Howson then thwarted Gamboa at the far post after City were picked off again on the counter.
Elliott Bennett curled over the top before Neil reacted to Albion's growing threat with the arrival of Hoolahan on the hour mark for Grabban, who earned a generous round of applause from the home fans for his night's work.
Olsson's overlapping run spelt danger to the visitors in the 61st minute but Elliott Bennett was eased past the ball by Dawson's close attentions.
City broke through in the 62nd minute, however, with Jarvis crashing a thunderous first time hit against the underside of the bar from 12 yards after latching onto Mbokani's perfect pass.
Albion should have levelled when Gardner's diving header slipped wide seven yards out after Jarvis left Sebastian Pocognoli unattended to whip in a cross.
Mbokani's big moment arrived in the 76th minute when he controlled Jarvis' deep corner at the far post but stabbed over five yards out.
The Congolese striker made way before play restarted for Lafferty to make his seasonal bow for the Canaries.
Albion made a double change in response and James McClean should have tested Rudd in the 78th minute but for a superb sliding challenge from Ryan Bennett to foil the Republic of Ireland international.
Rudd then acrobatically tipped over Gardner's piledriver with Albion going for broke but with the visitors committing men forward it was City who profited on the break with Lafferty bursting clear to guide a left-footed finish into the far corner from 18 yards.
Norwich sealed their cup progress in the 89th minute when Pocognoli appeared to get the final touch with Lafferty in close attendance at the near post from Howson's cross.
• Norwich City: Rudd, Wisdom, R Bennett, Bassong, Olsson, E Bennett, Dorrans (Howson 45), O'Neil, Jarvis, Grabban (Hoolahan 59), Mbokani (Lafferty 76). Subs (not used): Kean, Whittaker, Toffolo, Redmond.
• Goals: Jarvis (62), Lafferty (85), Pocognoli og (89)
• West Brom: Lindegaard, Chester, Dawson, Olsson, Pocognoli, Gamboa, Anichebe (McClean 77), Gardner, Sessegnon (Leko 77), Lambert, Gnabry (McManaman 68). Subs (not used): Rose, Ward, Edwards, Donnellan.
• Bookings: Pocognoli (foul on Jarvis, 65); Chester (foul on Elliott Bennett, 69)
• Added on time: 1 minute / 5 minutes
• Referee: Craig Pawson (South Yorks)
• Attendance: 19,015