Sheffield Wednesday 5 Norwich City 1
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
Norwich City crashed to an embarrassing 5-1 Championship defeat at promotion-chasing Sheffield Wednesday.
The Canaries' faint hopes of a late play-off push crumbled in another abject defensive display at Hillsborough from Alex Neil's under-performing squad.
Ross Wallace punished John Ruddy's sliced clearance to guide home a strike from fully 40-yards to spark the rout. Jordan Rhodes grabbed the first of two free headers before Cameron Jerome briefly stemmed the flow. Morgan Fox added a third just three minutes after Jerome's finish, when he held off Russell Martin at the far post, before Rhodes and Fernando Forestieri struck after the interval.
Neil opted for an unchanged line up and substitutes' bench from the 1-1 Championship derby draw against Ipswich Town. Steven Naismith and Wes Hoolahan were again preferred to Yanic Wildschut and Alex Pritchard.
The Owls went with January signings Rhodes and Sam Winnall up front with ex-City striker Gary Hooper again absent with the thigh injury that kept him out since November.
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City fell behind in bizarre circumstances when Ruddy raced from his line but miscued his clearance to Wallace, who composed himself to launch the ball past Martin's despairing dive into the empty net from fully 40-yards.
Forestieri then lashed wide on the angle with the Canaries trying to clear their heads from the latest self-inflicted defensive error.
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Forestieri doubled the misery when he picked out the unmarked Rhodes to head past Ruddy from eight yards in the 22nd minute.
Jerome replied from point blank range, after Steven Naismith's first shot on target for the visitors, looped up off the sprawling Keiren Westwood.
The revival last barely three minutes when Fox held off Martin at the far post to meet Forestieri's corner with a stooping header.
Jonny Howson could have ended a frenetic half with a second Norwich goal but his shot from the edge of the area deflected away via Barry Bannan's sliding challenge.
Ryan Bennett replaced Jacob Murphy at the break with City switching to a back three and Ivo Pinto and Mitchell Dijks deployed as wing backs.
Wallace teed up Winnall who screwed his shot wide from 18 yards after Norwich had piled bodies forward in a bid to get back in the game.
Rhodes slotted number four with another free header from 10 yards when he escaped behind Klose to power Barry Bannan's cross beyond Ruddy.
Jerome capitalised on a miscue from Wallace but his tame effort was straight at Westwood. Forestieri made it five in the 66th when he bent a stunning long range free kick over the City wall and past Ruddy into the top right-hand corner.
• Sheffield Wednesday: Westwood, Hunt, Loovens, Sasso, Fox, Wallace (McManaman 77), Hutchinson (Jones 34), Bannan (Semedo 74), Forestieri, Rhodes, Winnall. Subs (not used): Wildsmith (GK), Fletcher, Reach, Palmer.
• Goals: Wallace (15), Rhodes (22, 54), Fox (41), Forestieri (66)
• Norwich: Ruddy, Pinto, Martin, Klose, Dijks, Tettey, Howson, Jacob Murphy (Bennett 45), Hoolahan (Pritchard 71), Naismith (Josh Murphy 71), Jerome. Subs: (not used): McGovern (GK), Whittaker, Wildschut, Lafferty.
• Bookings: Klose (foul on Bannan, 46); Naismith (foul on Forestieri, 56)
• Goal: Jerome (38)
• Time added on: 3 minutes / 3 minutes
• Referee: Andy Davies (Hampshire)
• Attendance: 28,178