Norwich 0-1 Blackburn: Wagner suffers FA Cup exit in first game
David Wagner’s first match in charge of Norwich ended in defeat when they were beaten 1-0 by Blackburn in the third round of the FA Cup.
Having taken over from the sacked Dean Smith on Friday, Wagner saw his new side dominate for long periods against their fellow Championship outfit only to lose out to a first-half goal from Jack Vale after Grant Hanley’s error.
It was Blackburn’s second win at Carrow Road in the space of three weeks, having won 2-0 just before Christmas, and a fifth game without a win for the Canaries, with Wagner facing a big challenge when the league season resumes.
After a quiet start, Norwich finally managed a decent effort on target with Hanley’s header from a Gabriel Sara corner being tipped over by the alert Aynsley Pears.
Teemu Pukki then flicked the ball just over after being fed by Onel Hernandez before Rovers took the lead against the run of play in the 31st minute.
The goal was gifted to them by former Blackburn defender Grant Hanley who, under no pressure, left his back-pass to Tim Krul woefully short. The keeper’s hurried clearance was blocked by Dilan Markanday and the ball fell kindly for Bradley Dack to square for Vale to roll the ball into an unguarded net.
As Carrow Road was engulfed in a torrential deluge that required the floodlights to be switched on early, Norwich strove hard for an equaliser and it needed a fine stop low to his right from Pears to keep out a well struck 20-yarder from Sara.
At the other end Ben Brereton Diaz broke free as the hosts appealed in vain for offside but the Chilean international skied his shot over with just Krul to beat.
The Canaries started the second period strongly, with long-range strikes from Pukki and Marcelino Nunez comfortably gathered by Pears, who then had to dive to stop a more threatening effort from Hernandez.
Max Aarons then stung the keeper’s palms with a rising drive as Rovers struggled to get out of their own half in the face of an almost constant onslaught from the hosts.
Substitute Jordan Hugill wasted another good chance with 10 minutes remaining, shooting straight at Pears when well placed, and Rovers were able to weather the storm and book their place in the fourth round against Forest Green or Birmingham.