City missed a huge opportunity to make up some valuable ground on their play-off rivals this afternoon, going down 2-1 to an impressive Blackpool side at Carrow Road.
The Seasiders now leapfrog ahead of the Canaries on goal difference and in an action-packed encounter, the home side were made to pay for some sloppy first-half defending.
Simon Grayson's men went into the half-time interval two goals to the good after a double from Stephen McPhee and despite a second-half Jamie Cureton penalty, Glenn Roeder's men fell to their first home defeat since November 6 ? the City boss' second game in charge.
There were two changes from last week's 1-0 win over Barnsley and City captain Mark Fotheringham was straight back in the thick of it with Matty Pattison making way for the Scot.
Canary chief Roeder admitted yesterday that it would be touch and go whether the former Celtic man would reclaim his place, and his captain's armband.
But with experience thin on the ground, Roeder opted to bring Fozzy back into the fold and he took his place alongside Arsenal starlet Kieran Gibbs.
In attack, Dion Dublin, who, like Fotheringham, served a one-match ban last weekend, also returned with Welsh Under-21 star Ched Evans dropping to the bench.
Otherwise, the Canaries were unchanged and it was the home side who were controlling the play early on but in truth, the opening stages were scrappy at best. City were passing the ball well enough, but in turn, finding it difficult to penetrate the Seasiders' defence.
Last week's captain and match-winner Cureton found himself clear through on 12 minutes with the goal at his mercy after a clever flick from Dublin but, to the dismay of the Canary faithful, he was adjudged offside.
However, it was the away team who took a shock lead on 15 minutes and it will be one David Marshall will want to forget.
Tangerines striker Andy Morrell was put through and although his shot was well saved by the Scottish keeper, Gary Taylor-Fletcher's resulting cross was headed into the net by Stephen McPhee. There was no doubt about it though, Marshall should have done better.
Just three minutes later, giant defender Kaspars Gorkss headed over the bar and then Morrell found himself clean through again, his shot looked to be arrowing into the corner but this time, the City stopper made a tidy save with his feet.
The Canaries were now finding life difficult and Roeder's anger was plain to see on the touchline. City had to improve, and fast. To be fair, the windy conditions were not helping matters but the Norfolk club were looking nervy. The Tangerines' goal had really knocked the stuffing out of them.
And it could so nearly have been two on 28 minutes when yet another defence splitting ball found its way to McPhee, only for the goal-scorer to shoot agonisingly wide.
Seven minutes later, a Dublin header flew wide after a Darren Huckerby free-kick but the Canaries were looking distinctly off-colour and the Seasiders were well worth their lead.
On 37, there was a penalty shout when Huckerby flew down the left, only to be felled by Shaun Barker. The referee, however, thought differently to the 24,000 Canary fans inside Carrow Road.
And it got worse for the City supporters just two minutes later when the dangerous Wes Hoolahan played in McPhee and this time, he made no mistake. His right-footed shot slammed into Marshall's goal; 2-0, and Norwich had an uphill battle to get back into the contest.
To make matters worse, in the build up to the goal, returning skipper Fotheringham was the victim of a clash of heads and after the Seasiders doubled their lead, he was stretchered off to be replaced by Pattison.
It was turning into a first-half to forget for the home side, although in stoppage time, Cureton could have reduced the gap after an expert Dublin flick-on. His shot, however, went just wide.
The Canaries started the second-half the brighter – in fairness, they had no choice ? and Pattison almost burst the net on 48 minutes with a rasping 30-yard strike. Moments later, Jon Otsemobor headed just wide from a Huckerby corner and City were finally starting to wake up from their slumber.
A twisting Huckerby turn and shot was the next effort to test the Blackpool goal on 56 minutes and with the introduction of Ched Evans, City were now piling on the pressure.
But the Seasiders were still capable of producing a moment of magic and Taylor-Fletcher found himself clean through. Much to the dismay of Blackpool boss Grayson, his drive flew past Marshall's right-hand post.
However, the game sprung into life on 65 minutes when Barker was adjudged to have tripped Pattison inside the box after a cute Cureton through ball. All that was left was for the City favourite to slot home from the spot. He duly obliged. Game on.
City had to keep on their toes though, and the visitors proved their attacking prowess with two disallowed goals in the space of as many minutes. Both efforts were deemed to be offside ? just. But Canary hearts were in mouths yet again.
On 74 minutes, substitute Evans, who was looking lively in attack, showed plenty of power to muscle his way past two Seasiders defenders. He couldn't continue his good work though, and his weak shot fell into Rachubka's arms.
City were huffing and puffing but still struggling to create too many real openings but the Blackpool defence had a scare with eight minutes remaining when defender Alex Pearce looped in a shot which almost beat the visiting keeper.
With a minute left on the clock, Huckerby should have done better after an Evans pull-back but his shot was hit straight at Rachubka. It was just going to be one of those days.
Disappointingly for the home support, that was that and it doesn't get much easier for the Canaries ? next up are Watford at Vicarage Road on Tuesday night.
Norwich City: Marshall; Otsemobor, Pearce, Doherty, Bertrand; Croft (Evans 59), Fotheringham (c) (Pattison 44), Gibbs, Huckerby; Dublin, Cureton.
Blackpool: Rachubka; Barker, Evatt, Gorkss, Crainey; Taylor-Fletcher (Coid 84), Jorgensen, Southern, Hoolahan; Morrell (Flynn 87), McPhee (Burgess 90).
Man of the match: Jamie Cureton