It was not so much Indian summer as Trinidad & Tobago action replay, as Norwich City's hold on second place in the Championship was emphatically broken. Coventry City had started considerably the slower of these two teams, but now have a handsome victory to help smooth their team-building.
The World Cup pair of Chris Birchall and Stern John each struck fine goals, as did the recent signing Kevin Kyle on his home debut. Leon McKenzie, unavailable due to a condition in his £1 million deadline-day move from Norwich, was therefore not missed, and Micky Adams will enjoy deciding when to introduce him.
"We changed a winning team here," said the Coventry manager. "If it's good enough for [Rafa] Benitez and [Jose] Mourinho, it's good enough for me. It's all about competition. We need to get Kyle fitter. He was doubtful with a thigh strain but he's a handful.''
Coventry's third successive League clean sheet coincided with Norwich's third consecutive Championship trip without a goal. They arrived in the Midlands as the division's leading scorers, not that you would have guessed it.
Norwich's defending was just as unconvincing. This was highlighted by the lack of distance in Jason Shackell's 12th-minute clearing header from Kyle's cross, and Birchall had time to chest down and bend a low right-foot drive beyond Paul Gallacher from 25 yards. It was the midfielder's first goal since a summer move from Port Vale.
His colleague and international team-mate did much to make the points safe just after the hour. John's diagonal centre was headed down and inside Gallacher's post by Kyle.
John then skimmed a shot narrowly wide before leaving Carl Robinson and Gary Doherty grounded and benefiting from a deflection as his low right-foot shot laboured across the line. Norwich, able to field the same 11 in every League game so far, were never three goals worse on the balance of play, although their ample possession led to little. Paul McVeigh, twice, and Youssef Safri went close, but their manager, Nigel Worthington, admitted: "We weren't up to the standards we have set. The quality wasn't there in the final third, but I will treat this as a blip and look ahead to midweek.''Reuse content