Quickfire start helps Norwich advance in FA Cup after easing past Coventry
Kenny McLean and Jordan Hugill on target at Carrow Road.
Norwich scored two early goals to see off fellow Championship side Coventry 2-0 in a low-key FA Cup third-round tie at Carrow Road.
An assured sixth-minute finish from Kenny McLean and a firm header from Jordan Hugill 80 seconds later settled a game that rarely hit the heights after an exciting start.
Coventry had their moments but found young goalkeeper Daniel Barden in good form and could have few complaints about the final outcome.
The game got off to an explosive opening with Coventry wasting three early chances before Norwich converted two of theirs.
In the opening 90 seconds, Max Biamou and Jordan Shipley had shots on goal for the Sky Blues while Callum O’Hare fired straight at Barden from close range when he really should have scored.
Norwich then showed their visitors how it should be done by scoring in the sixth and seventh minutes to take a firm grip on the tie.
McLean set the ball rolling by slipping the ball past an exposed Ben Wilson after being picked out by an inch-perfect Todd Cantwell pass.
Then, from their very next attack, Przemyslaw Placheta worked himself some space on the left before crossing for Hugill to nod home at the near post for his first goal in open play for the Canaries.
The hosts very nearly made it three after 14 minutes when Julien Dacosta got caught in possession on the edge of the box, allowing Cantwell a shot at goal that was inches wide of the target.
After a breathless start the game gradually settled down with Norwich having most of the ball, although their visitors nearly pulled one back midway through the half when Biamou robbed Ben Gibson before shooting just wide from a tight angle.
Barden, deputising for the self-isolating Tim Krul, made an excellent stop to keep out a close-range header from Biamou as Coventry made a bright start to the second period while Ryan Giles sent a long-range effort just over.
Barden denied Biamou again just past the hour mark, producing a fine one-handed stop to deny the Frenchman after he had swivelled in the area and got his shot away.
Norwich were struggling to make any impact going forward but with a two-goal lead were keeping their opponents largely at arm’s length.
With six minutes remaining substitute Teemu Pukki finally record the home side’s first attempt of the second period, hitting the upright from a narrow angle after pouncing on a loose ball in the box.
Coventry kept pressing until the final whistle but were restricted to a couple of harmless long-range efforts as Daniel Farke’s side comfortably booked their place in the fourth round.