In the end, the Canaries proved no more than generous guests at someone else's Championship survival party as Sheffield Wednesday shrugged off Darren Huckerby's ninth-minute opener to claim both a 4-1 win and condemn Leicester City to the drop.
It was an ill-fitting way for Dion Dublin to bow out of the professional game. He had, at least, departed with one final moment of magic as his wonderful dummy set Huckerby in for the opener.
Thereafter, however, there was much that simply summed up the rest of Norwich's season – a poor refereeing decision to hand Deon Burton his 22nd minute spot-kick and then three, soft defensive goals as first Ben Sahar, then Burton and finally substitute Leon Clarke completed Wednesday's own great escape just a week after Norwich completed their's.
Clarke added the final nail in today's particular coffin when he all but walked through the heart of the City defence before digging the ball out from beneath his feet and under David Marshall. Somewhere in his wake there were at least two, yellow shirts left trailing.
With a full-house packed into Hillsborough and an ageing PA system cranked up to full volume, the first saving grace as far as the Canaries were concerned was the fact that – for them – little more than giving the retiring Dublin a decent send-off rested on this afternoon's contest.
Given the fevered atmosphere that was gripping South Yorkshire with Owls still staring down the barrel of a relegation gun as, across the city, United gunned for that final ply-off spot via a victory at relegation-haunted Southampton, last week's vital victory over Queen's Park Rangers suddenly looked ever more vital. It wouldn't have been the place for faint hearts among the 4,000 travelling Norwich fans had they needed anything from today's final game of the season.
As it was, all Sheffield ears would be on events at both St Mary's and the Britannia Stadium where – ironically – Sheffield United and Stoke City could do the Owls a massive favour by keeping both Southampton and Leicester City nailed to the floor of the Championship.
As the game kicked off, there was little immediate evidence of the Canaries having now packed their bags for the beach. Huckerby slipped Matty Pattison in away on the right and his near-post cross needed to be hastily grabbed from underneath his own bar by Owls keeper Lee Grant.
At the other end and it needed a very important touch from Gary Doherty to whip the ball off Burton's toes as he looked to latch onto a deep Grant punt forward.
By now it was also clear that if this was, indeed, to prove Huckerby's final game in a Canary shirt then he was at least going out where legend demanded – away on the left, with Pattison given the his own, unfavoured gig on the right.
Roeder might be no sentimentalist, but by playing Dublin from the start and Huckerby down the left it gave the travelling Norfolk punters exactly what they would have ordered.
Indeed, the game was just nine minutes old when the one-time Coventry City front two rolled back the years and produced a peach of an opening goal to stun Hillsborough into fearful silence.
Huckerby cut in from the left and clipped the ball into Dublin's feet. As the City winger motored on into the Owls box, Dublin produced a wonderful dummy to wholly bewitch Mark Beevers and allow Huckerby to run unmarked on into the penalty area and with the sweetest of right-foot finishes steer the ball up and away from a helpless Grant.
It was the most perfect of starts for the Canaries; the worst of their nightmares unfolding for the home side. It could have been worse. Five minutes later and Dublin squeezed a woderful ball into the channel for Ched Evans to chase. The Wednesday back four was disappearing without trace as Evans rolled the ball across an empty penalty area to where Pattison had all the time in the world to add a second.
In the end, he dug out an awkward left-foot effort that was still ear-marked for the far post before Grant, twisting on the spot, managed to palm it away one-handed. At that moment Sheffield where League One bound.
Dublin, in particular, was going through all his party pieces for one last time; two minutes after Pattison's chance he almost repeated his goal-trick to set Huckerby away and free again. This time, however, and the ball just got caught up in his pal's feet. In the meantime, Hillsborough was fast pushing the panic button.
Referee Mark Clattenburg was, however, on hand to ride to Wednesday's rescue. Grant's deep punt downfield again found Burton chasing in behind the City defence. This time it was Jason Shackell stretching to reach the ball.
The City defender clearly reached the ball forward only for the Owls' striker to tumble over his out-stretched leg. To City's fury, Clattenburg pointed to the spot. Burton, to his credit, was about the only cool head in the place as he placed his 22nd minute spot-kick low to Marshall's left as the Canary keeper dived off to his right. The fact that Sheffield United had just opened the scoring at St Mary's added to the urgent mood.
Certainly the Canaries weren't giving anyone an easy ride – Evans screwed a 40th minute free-kick routine a yard wide as the visitors continued to look the more composed. The teenager had an even better chance two minutes later as Jon Otsemobor's long ball forward found Evans alone and beyond the last Owls defender.
With Grant horribly stuck in no man's land, a gentle lob appeared to dropping in only for the ball to finally bounce away off the roof of the net. And all with about 32,000 Yorkshire hearts firmly in the 32,000 Yorkshire mouths.
With Southampton holding the shortest of straws as things stood at the interval, the biggest 45 minutes of Sheffield Wednesday's season loomed with both teams unchanged.
And nor, for now, did the balance of play as Evans worked himself into space on the left only to then opt to roll the ball across to a distant, albeit unmarked Patterson on the far edge of the penalty area just as Huckerby moved in from the near. It would prove a costly error – in more ways than one.
Pattison duly lifted a horrible, side-foot shot over into the Leppings Lane End as Wednesday geared themselves up to take the lead. A Franck Songo'o corner was half-cleared and Bartosz Slusarski drilled a low, angled cross back through the City six-yard box – where everyone in a yellow shirt looked at eachother as Ben Sahar nipped in to clip the ball beyond a stranded Marshall.
Seconds later and Huckerby had a gilt-edged chance to level immediately as a Richard Wood back header fell woefully short of Grant, but the City winger could only pull his shot well wide.
Slusarski would force a big save out of Marshall as the game continued on its roller-coaster way – Lee Croft's arrival for Pattison on the hour-mark likely only to add to the fun and games as Huckerby, in particular, began to enjoy the wider spaces. With Southampton having now squeezed ahead of United at St Mary's a goal now for the Canaries would really set the alarm bells ringing.
All such thoughts were to put one side in the 66th minute as Dublin bade farwell to the professional game – to a long and heart-felt standing ovation from every corner of the ground. It is not often that an opposition manager waits to shake the hand of a departing substitute but Brian Laws, to his credit, knew that this was one of football's bigger moments as an emotional Dublin brought the curtain down on a 22-year career.
He had long gone, therefore, when a free header for Burton on the edge of the City six-yard box virtually assured Wednesday of their place back in the Championship again next season. Not for the first time, City's defence was left to look at eachother in bemusement
as Tommy Spurr's 75th minute cross drifted into the danger area – this time it was Shackell and Bertrand shrugging shoulders as Marshall picked the ball out of the bottom corner. He'd be doing that again four minutes from the end.
Sheffield Wednesday (4-4-2): Grant; Johnson, Beevers, Wood, Spurr; Sahar (Clarke, 82 mins), Bolder, Watson (Kavanagh, 55 mins), Songo'o (McAllister, 55 mins); Slusarski, Burton. Subs (not used): Burch, Esajas.
Norwich City (4-4-2): Marshall; Otsemobor (Pearce, 73 mins), Bertrand, Shackell, Doherty; Huckerby, Fotheringham, Russell, Pattison (Croft, 59 mins); Dublin (Cureton, 66 mins), Evans. Subs (not used): Rudd, Chadwick.
Man of the Match: Darren Huckerby.