Norwich City today ensured that their fight for Championship survival this season will go all the way to the wire after their 2-1 defeat at Swansea City and Nottingham Forest's 3-2 home win over Bristol City dumped the Norfolk side right back into the bottom three.
Two goals from Jason Scotland – the second from the penalty spot five minutes after the restart – did all the damage in South Wales; back at the City Ground and it was Dexter Blackstock's 90th minute winner that had Forest scrabbling out of the bottom three.
All of which leaves Norwich two points away from safety with just four games to go.
In theory, it looks a two-way tussle between Norwich and Forest with Barnsley three points distant with a game in hand.
But given the very nature of the Championship beast, events have a habit of changing very rapidly.
On Monday, Forest travel to Sheffield United as the Canaries entertain Watford. Logic would suggest that Forest will come a-cropper; City will sneak a win and the two will swap places again.
Unfortunately, logic can't be relied on in this division – even if results, by and large, went as the form book would suggest this afternoon. Either way, today's defeat at the Liberty Stadium suggests nothing will be decided until after that final Sunday of the season when Norwich travel to Charlton.
“We were hoping to come here and get something from the game,” City boss Bryan Gunn told BBC Radio Norfolk afterwards.
Scotland's 20-yard opener had, in fairness, been wiped out within four minutes by Alan Lee's first goal for his new employer. And at 1-1 at the break, most people would have been satisfied with both the result and the performance – Gunn's decision to match Swansea up and go all 4-3-3 for a change looking justified.
Five minutes after the re-start, however, and his best-laid plans to leave both Lee Croft and Alan Gow on the bench came unstuck as skipper Gary Doherty clipped the ever-dangerous Scotland and the Jamaican international duly converted from the spot for his 23rd goal of the season.
“We got ourselves to half-time level – and a lot of positive things were said in the dressing room at half-time. But like we did against Sheffield Wednesday, the third minute of the second-half we went and shot ourselves in the foot.
“The ball went out wide; it came back in too quickly – and Scotland's a crafty player. He manages to side-step Gary Doherty and it's a penalty kick.”
The phrase 'shooting ourselves in the foot' was one beloved of ex-City boss Glenn Roeder and it could yet be engraved on Norwich's Championship tombstone if City do not return to the kind of form that delivered ten points from 15 just four short weeks ago.
Alas, the international break conspired to whip such wind from City's sails and with the likes of Sammy Clingan, David Carney and Lee Croft all looking off the pace following their World Cup and treatment room adventures so Norwich slipped back into the mire with that 1-0 home defeat by Wednesday.
Gunn's decision to leave Lee on the bench that day is also one that he has had cause to regret as the bruising City forward put Swansea through their paces this afternoon – alas, his only reward was just the one, looping header off a deep Simon Lappin cross.
“It was always going to be hard after that [the penalty],” admitted Gunn. “We tried to make changes; we tried to be positive.
“And we got ourselves a couple of opportunities but our final ball wasn't good enough today,” added the City chief, disappointed by the lack of quality from Norwich's set-plays – one area in which Swansea were deemed to be weak.
“The goalkeeper was catching too many,” he said, as City failed to capitalise on Lee's aerial strength.
“That delivery wasn't as good as it could have been. And when you look around the dressing room after the game, the guys are dejected. They know how important today was.
“Other teams have got results and picked up points on us, but we've got to go out and believe that we can go out and get three points against Watford and from there hope that twists and turns will happen like they have done today.”
It was the Forest result that, potentially, was the real killer. With less than ten minutes to go, Bristol City were 2-1 up and the Canaries – even with that defeat – would have stayed out of the drop zone. Even when Joe Garner levelled, City's superior goal difference would have kept them out of the relegation zone.
Once Blackstock had found that last minute winner, however, and so the pendulum was swinging back Forest's way. That said, it will be a result and a half if they derail Sheffield United on Monday. The Blades are now in third, just one point behind Birmingham City and storming into that second automatic promotion slot.
A trip to Bramall Lane is precisely the kind of fixture you would wish one your biggest relegation enemy. In the meantime, however, City staff and Canary faithful had a job to do.
“As a staff we'll be looking to get them lifted at Colney tomorrow,” said Gunn. “And then the crowd at Carrow Road – they will play a big part on Monday.”