Norwich City 5 Wolves 2
Wolverhampton Wanderers were knocked off top spot in the Coca-Cola Championship after an humiliating thumping in East Anglia.
Mick McCarthy’s men were the authors of their own downfall, gifting the Canaries their first goal, having more than a helping hand in two others and losing defender Richard Stearman after a second yellow card from referee Graham Horwood in the second half.
Goalkeeper Carl Ikeme was quickly public enemy No 1 with the home fans after avoiding a booking for bringing down Antoine Sibierski, but the visiting contingent were delighted to see him turn an Elliott Omozusi thunderbolt around the post on 11 minutes.
Sylvan Ebanks-Blake then saw a deflected shot cleared by the legs of goal keeper David Marshall before Ikeme turned villain, failing to hold Sammy Clingan’s 26th-minute free-kick from the left to gift the hosts the lead.
Ikeme appeared to have got his hands around the ball, but his momentum took him over the goalline and although he pushed the ball out to safety, assistant official Declan Ford’s flag confirmed his worst fears by ruling that the ball had crossed the line.
Wolves had to wait until the 38th minute for their first corner, but when they failed to pick up the clearance, City broke with a vengeance.
Clingan set Leroy Lita free down the right and the on-loan Reading striker teased Stephen Ward on the right of the area before firing in a low shot which Kevin Foley, standing on the goal line, could only help into the net.
With half-time approaching Wolves needed a lifeline, and they got it four minutes before the break. Carlos Edwards’ free-kick was turned aside for a corner, but the same player took the dead-ball kick and central defender Neil Collins rose well to head the ball down between the keeper’s legs and over the line.
That made it two goals in as many minutes and a game which had been very definitely going Norwich’s way was now back in the balance.
But Edwards gifted the Canaries the third goal on 58 minutes, heading the ball into the path of Lita who clipped it over Ikeme’s head.
Ebanks-Blake got in on the act with a 67th-minute penalty after he had been fouled by Wes Hoolahan but Norwich then took over, Lita heading home Clingan’s free-kick on 69 minutes to make it 4-2, although the ball appeared to touch a Wolves player’s head before it went in.
Gary Croft hit the fifth after Lita’s shot had come back off the woodwork and although substitute David Jones hit the bar with a free-kick in the final minute of normal time, Wolves were a well-beaten side.
Scorers: Clingan (26) 1-0; Lita (39) 2-0; Collins (41) 2-1; Lita (58) 3-1; Ebanks-Blake (67 pen) 3-2; Lita (58) 4-2; Croft (74) 5-2.
NORWICH CITY Marshall, Omozusi, Doherty, Stefanovic, Bertrand, Croft (Bell 77,), Russell, Clingan, Hoolahan, Sibierski (Cureton 85), Lita (Lupoli 80). Subs: Nelson, Pattison.
WOLVERHAMPTON WANDERERS: Ikeme, Foley, Stearman, Collins, Ward, Kightly (Jones 77), Henry, Dave Edwards, Carlos Edwards (Keogh, 62), Iwelumo (Shackell, 72), Ebanks-Blake. Subs: Hennessey, Vokes.
Referee: Graham Horwood (Beds)
Bookings: Norwich – Lita (foul); Wolves – Henry (unsportsmanlike conduct)
Sending-off: Wolves – Stearman (second bookable offence)