Norwich City fought back to clinch a first home Premier League win of the season against Southampton in Dean Smith’s first game in charge.
Captain Grant Hanley headed in a late winner from Billy Gilmour’s corner as the Canaries, who climb off the foot of the table to 19th, recorded successive top-flight wins for the first time since 2016.
Former Aston Villa boss Smith suffered the worst possible start to his Norwich tenure when Saints striker Che Adams found the bottom corner after only four minutes at Carrow Road.
However, the hosts were level three minutes later as Teemu Pukki headed in Max Aarons’ cross at the near post.
The equaliser was Norwich’s sole attempt in an otherwise entirely one-sided first half. A dominant Saints registered 12 shots on goal but Adams was denied by Tim Krul at close range with the visitors’ best chance shortly before half-time.
Smith’s men were much improved following the interval, Milot Rashica forcing Alex McCarthy into action while the Saints goalkeeper sprang to his near post to deny Pukki a fine solo goal with 15 minutes remaining.
He was unable to reach Hanley’s header, though, as Norwich survived late Southampton pressure to secure a winning start to Smith’s reign.
The Saints remain 13th in the table.
Smith enjoys winning start in bid for survival
A mere eight days separated the end of Smith’s three-year spell at Aston Villa on 7 November and his appointment as manager of Norwich during the international break.
The struggling Canaries acted swiftly to replace the dismissed Daniel Farke, whose own reign ended with a morale-boosting first league win of the season to offer his successor suitable encouragement that survival can be attained.
Indeed, Smith insisted he had not taken a “risk” in assuming control of a club with five points – effectively six points from safety – after 11 games.
The former Walsall and Brentford manager’s first task was to end Norwich’s 10-game winless home run in the top flight, but Adam’s well-taken opener made that task substantially tougher for a side which had lost their previous 33 Premier League matches when conceding first.
Mohamed Elyounoussi, Kyle Walker-Peters and Adam Armstrong each saw strikes repelled by resolute Canaries defending and – after Ibrahima Diallo had robbed Hanley of possession – Krul came to the hosts’ rescue when Adams broke clear before the break.
Aiming to win three successive league matches for the first time since November 2020, Southampton had hit form prior to the two-week break but failed to replicate their first-half performance.
The hosts still had to hold their nerve in the closing stages and Theo Walcott’s header flew narrowly wide in stoppage time, but it was ultimately a second-half performance that will fill Smith with optimism at the beginning of his new challenge.
- 1KrulBooked at 90mins
- 21WilliamsBooked at 64mins
- 8GilmourSubstituted forRuppat 86′minutes
- 16NormannBooked at 90mins
- 17RashicaSubstituted forTzolisat 90′minutes
- 14CantwellSubstituted forSargentat 45′minutes
- 35BednarekBooked at 64mins
- 2Walker-PetersBooked at 71mins
- 6RomeuSubstituted forLyancoat 73′minutes
- 24ElyounoussiSubstituted forBrojaat 57′minutes
- 9A Armstrong
- 10AdamsSubstituted forWalcottat 62′minutes
- Martin Atkinson
Match ends, Norwich City 2, Southampton 1.
Second Half ends, Norwich City 2, Southampton 1.
Mathias Normann (Norwich City) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.
Armando Broja (Southampton) wins a free kick on the left wing.
Foul by Mathias Normann (Norwich City).
Tim Krul (Norwich City) is shown the yellow card.
Attempt missed. Theo Walcott (Southampton) header from the centre of the box is close, but misses to the left. Assisted by James Ward-Prowse with a cross.
Substitution, Norwich City. Christos Tzolis replaces Milot Rashica.
Attempt saved. Adam Armstrong (Southampton) left footed shot from outside the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by James Ward-Prowse.
Corner, Southampton. Conceded by Max Aarons.
Attempt blocked. Jan Bednarek (Southampton) right footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by James Ward-Prowse with a cross.
Corner, Southampton. Conceded by Grant Hanley.
Substitution, Norwich City. Lukas Rupp replaces Billy Gilmour.
Corner, Southampton. Conceded by Grant Hanley.
Attempt blocked. Adam Armstrong (Southampton) right footed shot from the left side of the box is blocked. Assisted by Kyle Walker-Peters with a headed pass.
Jan Bednarek (Southampton) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Milot Rashica (Norwich City).
Goal! Norwich City 2, Southampton 1. Grant Hanley (Norwich City) header from the centre of the box to the bottom right corner. Assisted by Billy Gilmour with a cross.
Corner, Norwich City. Conceded by Jan Bednarek.
Corner, Norwich City. Conceded by Alex McCarthy.