Norwich City 4-2 Watford: Canaries relegated despite win
By Richard Morgan
Last Updated: 12/05/16 10:29am
Norwich City beat Watford 4-2 at Carrow Road on Wednesday night, but it was not enough to prevent them from being relegated back to the Championship.
The home side fell behind to Troy Deeney's opportunistic 11th-minute goal, before responding three times before half-time through Nathan Redmond, Dieumerci Mbokani and a Craig Cathcart own goal.
However, with news coming through at the break of Sunderland leading Everton 2-0, the mood in East Anglia turned from joy to sorrow as Odion Ighalo broke his recent drought by pulling a goal back for the visitors.
And despite Mbokani adding a second with a fine finish just before the hour-mark, the Canaries' Premier League relegation - 12 months after winning promotion via the play-offs - was confirmed by the full-time whistle at the Stadium of Light.
Norwich boss Alex Neil opted to make four changes to the team that lost 1-0 at home to Manchester United on Saturday in a match the home side had to win to maintain their slim hopes of beating the drop.
However, the Canaries made the worst possible start to proceedings after allowing opponents, who had lost six of their nine games leading into this contest, an early lead.
Watford captain Deeney flicked the ball into the path of Ighalo and despite John Ruddy blocking the Nigerian's close-range effort, his strike partner was in the right place to tap home into an empty net.
The hosts were not behind for long, though, with Redmond drawing them level four minutes later, albeit with help from Watford goalkeeper Heurelho Gomes.
The Brazilian somehow allowed Redmond's near-post shot to squirm under his body after the winger had played a neat one-two with Steven Naismith on the edge of the box.
And just three minutes later the contest was completely turned on its head as Norwich went ahead for the first time, with that man Redmond again heavily involved in the goal.
The England U21 international collected possession towards the left-hand edge of the box, before cutting in and firing a low shot against the post. But giant forward Mbokani was there to convert the rebound from close range, despite desperate Watford appeals for offside.
The hosts really took control of proceedings though eight minutes before the break when Allan Nyom's unfortunate slip allowed Wes Hoolahan to fire a dangerous left-wing cross into the box, forcing Cathcart to slice the ball past his own 'keeper.
But as news of Sunderland's third goal on Wearside reached East Anglia, Norwich switched off temporarily as Deeney broke clear to the right-hand byline, before pulling the ball back for the unmarked Igahlo to score his 15th goal of the season from near the penalty spot.
However, the Canaries had the final say with the best goal of the night as man-of-the-match Redmond cleverly played Mbokani through on goal, with the Congo striker keeping his cool with a lovely dinked finish past the advancing Gomes.
Norwich City: Ruddy (6), Ivo Pinto (6), Martin (6), Bennett (6), Olsson (7), O'Neil (6), Dorrans (6), Redmond (9), Hoolahan (7), Naismith (8), Mbokani (8)
Used subs: Brady (6), Jarvis (6), Odjidja-Ofoe (6)
Watford: Gomes (6), Nyom (5), Cathcart (6), Britos (6), Anya (6), Abdi (6), Mario Suarez (6), Watson (6), Jurado (6), Ighalo (7), Deeney (8)
Used subs: Ake (6), Guedioura (6), Berghuis (6)
Man of the match: Nathan Redmond