A four-goal blast from ex-Town hero Darren Bent gave Premiership visitors Spurs a comfortable 5-1 victory over Glenn Roeder's Canaries this evening.
All square at 1-1 after Jamie Cureton's clinical finish wiped out Dejan Stefanovic's tenth minute own-goal, the Londoners stepped on the gas either side of the interval and in Bent found an all-too willing marksman – one determined to make the very most of Robbie Keane's exit to Liverpool and the continuing uncertainty surrounding Dimitar Berbatov.
As willing as Norwich were, Spurs just had that slicker edge to their game and once they slipped up the gears around the hour-mark the gulf between the two top tiers of the English game was all-too readily evident.
On the plus side, Wes Hoolahan looked bright and inventive on his Carrow Road debut, while at centre-half Elliott Omozusi looked cool enough a character to cope with all that an average Championship side could throw at him.
Darren Bents don't lie around every corner.
With Hoolahan as expected dropping into the little hole off Cureton, the former Blackpool favourite was swiftly making a decent impression on his new employers as he robbed a dawdling Chris Gunter – before performing the same trick on Didier Zokora moments later.
Elliott Omozusi was another to catch an early eye as he mopped up deep in the Canary box as Spurs new-boy Giovani dos Santos lurked.
For Stefanovic, however, fate was about to prove less kind on his first appearance on the Carrow Road turf. Like a certain Steve Bruce before him, within ten minutes of his debut he had an 'og' next to his name.
Dos Santos twisted Ryan Bertrand this way, then that before drilling a low cross along the edge of the City six-yard box. There Stefanovic somehow managed to all but back-heel the ball beyond a wholly-stranded David Marshall and hand the Premiership visitors a tenth minute opener.
Hoolahan was certainly not about to let Stefanovic's early upset knock him out of his rhythm; he was at the centre of all things good – holding off two Spurs defenders before slipping Croft in; teeing Cureton up for an eight-yarder well saved by Heurelho Gomes.
Three minutes later and Paul Robinson's replacement had no answer to a clinical Cureton finish as the Canaries conjured up a 16th minute leveller. Jon Otsemobor's regulation, angled ball forward should have long been dealt with before skipper Ledley King turned and slipped. In walked Cureton and calmly tucked the ball away low to Gomes' left – much to the Barclay's noisy glee.
Hoolahan's next moment of note was to end Michael Dawson's gentle evening out with an inadvertant elbow that drew blood beneath the centre-half's right eye socket. Off he went – only to be replaced by one-time Derby boy-giant, Tom Huddlestone.
Bertrand's night like-wise ended before the break; he was notable by his absence two minutes before the break as Darren Bent restored Spurs' one-goal advantage. The ball was allowed to drift all-too easily across the front of the City back four; stand-in left-back Matty Pattison stepped into the centre just as the ball was released to Bent standing unmarked beyond him.
With both angle and time on his side, the former Town star calmly drilled his second goal in a week beyond Marshall and on inside his right-hand post.
Marshall was back in the firing line twice within the first ten minutes of the second period as City's Premiership visitors upped their game another notch. On both occasions it was the teenage Mexican dos Santos finding both space and menace in the Canary box; on both occasions the City No1 found a save to match the drive – the first, in particular, bringing the Barclay to its feet as he flung himself to push the ball wide.
He had, however, no absence to Bent's second of the night in the 57th minute – a thumping great diving header on the end of a perfect, in-swinging cross from French left-back Benoit Assou-Ekotto. Moments like that were when class was starting to tell. Curling away from the keeper and behind a helpless centre-back it was meat and drink to the Spurs forward.
His third of the night on 71` minutes was equally easy. Marshall failed to hold onto a low drive from dos Santos and before Omozusi could dig the ball out from beneath his feet, Bent was in and pouncing – driving the ball low and true beneath a guilty Marshall.
The fourth wasn't long in coming. Again it owed little to his own work – bar the finish – as ex-Cardiff City full-back Chris Gunter timed his over-lapping to perfection and with the Canary defence split wide open, Bent was eventually allowed all the space he ever needed to fire Spurs' fifth home with a confident aplomb.
Norwich City (4-4-1-1): Marshall; Otsemobor, Bertrand (Russell, 38 mins), Stefanovic (Shackell, 58 mins), Omozusi; Croft, Fotheringham, Clingan, Pattison; Hoolahan (Chadwick, 81 mins); Cureton (Martin, 68 mins). Subs (not used): Nelson, Renton, Eagle, Smith, Daley.
Tottenham Hotspur (4-4-2): Gomes; Gunter, Dawson (Huddlestone, 26 mins), King (Assou-Ekotto, 45 mins), Zokora; O'Hara, Jenas, Modric (Lennon, 45 mins), Gilberto (Bale, 58 mins); Bent, Dos Santos (Taarabt, 81 mins). Subs (not used): Janson, Berbatov.
Man of the Match: Wes Hoolahan.