Second-half strikes from Ched Evans, Mark Fotheringham and the ageless Dion Dublin kept the Canaries powering away from the danger zone this afternoon with an excellent 3-1 away win at Barnsley.
It should have been four as Dublin side-footed over from six-yards out after a typically direct, darting run from second-half substitute Darren Huckerby in the 75th minute. But given that Norwich were 1-0 down and going nowhere but back into the bottom three at the interval, few would complain.
Fotheringham's crucial second in the 69th minute came with a large slice of luck attached as his shot took a huge deflection off a back-tracking Reds defender. But again, if only for their vastly-improved second-half efforts against a home side that visibly crumbled once Evans had marked his return to the fold with a calmly-taken leveller three minutes after the re-start, Norwich proved good value for their latest away-day success.
True to his pre-match word and Roeder kept faith with his one-winger policy away from home – with Lee Croft winning that particular race with Huckerby.
With Matty Pattison suspended for one game after his all-action style racked up five bookings in 11 City outings and Jason Shackell having shrugged off his slight calf knock, so the Canaries ended up making four changes to the side that drew a fourth, consecutive game last weekend with that 1-1 FA Cup draw with Bury.
So in came Shackell back alongside Gary Doherty; up went Dublin into attack; out went top-scorer Jamie Cureton onto the bench; in came the newly-returned Evans to partner Dublin – a mere 19 years his senior.
The other point of interest was a first start for Chelsea starlet Ryan Bertrand. Again, Roeder had long trailed the fact that away from home he could be tempted to run a 'tight' left-hand side with Bertrand stationed just in front of Mo Camara. Defensively, the two should be able to lock down that space; it will then be a question of what the pair offer going forward given the Chelsea youngster's willingness to make Ashley Cole-like forays into the opposition half.
As for the bench, that too offered the odd surprise – Huckerby and Cureton notwithstanding. Disappearing without trace after last week's ghastly 43 second miss was Chris Martin as Ryan Jarvis did just enough to keep his place in the 16, while Matty Gilks made a welcome return after his recent ankle injury.
And there sat alongside all four was Scottish youth international Andrew Cave-Brown. The youngster's only two other City appearances had come in the Carling Cup – should Jon Otsemobor's sore Achilles need a rest at any stage it would be Cave-Brown's first league appearance for the Norfolk club.
The biggest question of the lot, however, was whether the Canaries could actually finish a game with more than one goal to their credit; or else failing that, a clean sheet to give them the three points that their current, still-precarious predicament demands.
That predicament almost became rather worse within the game's opening seconds as the strapping figure of Reds striker Kayode Odejayi headed off goalward with Shackell trailing awkwardly in his wake. In the end a combination of Gary Doherty and an already rutted surface combined to see the ball just run away from Odejayi's feet and on into David Marshall's waiting arms. But there was a warning to be had there – just as there was moments later when Jamal Campbell-Ryce swept an 18-yard effort just over.
For their part, City forced a couple of early free-kicks and a corner without too much of an end product to any. You sensed even then that today's contest would be long, ugly and less than pretty.
It would also demand another fight-back from the Canaries as Barnsley strode into an 18th minute lead. Again it was one of those tha will not look too good on the replay as left winger Martin Devaney stepped inside Croft and discovered he had acres of space opening up in front of him.
Invitation accepted, he motored on to the edge of the City box and let fly with a decent right foot shot that a diving Marshall could only tip onto the inside of his left upright and watch roll in.
Three minutes earlier and the dangerous Campbell-Ryce had found enough space between Camara and Shackell to drill a low cross right through the Canary six-yard box. In short, Barnsley had earned their early advantage as Norwich struggled to get a foothold in the contest. Evans' hugely ambitious 35-yarder straight at an unbothered keeper remained their only shot of note.
Croft made partial amends in the 26th minute with an excellent chase and retrieval tight on the near by-line before teeing up skipper Fotheringham for a flying header that went a yard wide; the City winger would also spring Evans free only for a fine, edge-of-the-box tackle from Stephen Foster to slam the door shut. No worries – Evans would wriggle free again in the 32nd minute only to drill his low shot wide of the far post from an all-too tight angle.
He looked Norwich's best route back into the conest as he took advantage of a poor Foster head to smash a 20-yarder wide. At the back, City continued to wobble their way through the first period; Doherty's interventions tended to be of the more urgent variety. In fact, it wasn't good at either end of the pitch. And there wasn't too much to delight the eye in the middle, either. Dublin's ugly tangle with Foster on 45 minutes which earned the 38-year-old a booking summed up a scrappy, eminently forgettable first-half.
Whatever Roeder said at the break took just three minutes to take effect as Evans hauled Norwich level. Dublin let Fotheringham run onto the ball, his neat little though ball saw Evans beat first the offside trap then keeper Heinz Muller as he calmly tucked his third goal for the club away. Roeder's sweet nothings into Sven Goran Eriksson's ear was reaping its due reward.
The goal certainly lifted City's spirits with Croft, in particular, enjoying himself ever more as the spaces started to open up in front of him. Indeed, the City winger had a glorious opportunity to put Norwich ahead on the hour mark as Fotheringham, Evans and Croft burst free with just one defender between them and goal.
In the end, Evans blocked run found the ball falling kindly into Croft's path. His 15-yard shot looked destined for the far, bottom corner only for it to squirm away off the base of a post with the travelling City faithful already in mid-celebration. That should have been game over – only for City's inability to take such gilt-edged chances to once again haunt their best efforts. Or at least for the next nine minutes.
That said, they were a different side to the one that went in at the interval and thoroughly deserved their slice of luck in the 69th minute when Fotheringham took aim from some 25-yards distant and watched as the ball took a huge, looping deflection off Dennis Souza and as a luckless Muller dived off to his right so the ball dropped in to his left.
Five minutes later and the game was all over as Dublin rose at the far post to meet a deep Fotheringham corner and in it fell off the inside of the keeper's left upright. As second-half turnarounds went, this was up with the best of them.
Barnsley (4-4-2): Muller; Hassell, Souza, Foster, van Homoet; Campbell-Ryce (Leon, 73 mins), McCann, Howard, Devaney (Ferenczi, 78 mins); Mostto (Coulson, 67 mins), Odejayi. Subs (not used): Kozluk, Togwell.
Norwich City (4-4-2): Marshall; Otsemobor, Camara, Shackell, Doherty; Croft (Huckerby, 71 mins), Russell, Fotheringham, Bertrand; Evans (Cureton, 78 mins), Dublin (Ryan Jarvis, 88 mins). Subs (not used): Gilks, Cave-Brown.
Man of the Match: Ched Evans.