David Wagner’s first match in charge of Norwich ended in defeat as they were beaten 1-0 by Blackburn in the third round of the FA Cup.
Having taken over from the sacked Dean Smith on Friday, Wagner saw City dominate for long periods against their fellow Championship outfit only to lose out to a first-half goal from Jack Vale after Grant Hanley’s error, handing Blackburn a fourth-round tie with either Forest Green or Birmingham.
It was Blackburn’s second win at Carrow Road in the space of three weeks and a fifth game without a win for the Canaries, with Wagner facing a big challenge when the league season resumes.
After a quiet start, Norwich finally managed a decent effort on target, Hanley’s header from a Gabriel Sara corner tipped over by the alert Aynsley Pears.
Teemu Pukki then flicked the ball just over after being fed by Onel Hernandez before Rovers took the lead against the run of play in the 31st minute.
The goal was gifted to them by former Blackburn defender Hanley who, under no pressure, left his back-pass to Tim Krul woefully short. The keeper’s hurried clearance was blocked by Dilan Markanday and the ball fell kindly for Bradley Dack to square for Vale to roll the ball into an unguarded net.
As Carrow Road was engulfed in a torrential deluge that required the floodlights to be switched on early, Norwich strove hard for an equalizer and it needed a fine stop low to his right from Pears to keep out a well struck 20-yarder from Sara.
At the other end Ben Brereton Diaz broke free as the hosts appealed in vain for offside but the Chilean international skied his shot over with just Krul to beat.
The Canaries started the second period strongly, with long-range strikes from Pukki and Marcelino Nunez comfortably gathered by Pears, who then had to dive to stop a more threatening effort from Hernandez.
Max Aarons then stung the keeper’s palms with a rising drive as Rovers struggled to get out of their own half in the face of an almost constant onslaught from the hosts.
Substitute Jordan Hugill wasted another good chance with 10 minutes remaining, shooting straight at Pears when well placed, and Rovers were able to weather the storm.
Antoine Semenyo headed a second-half equalizer as Bristol City fought back to earn an FA Cup third-round replay with Swansea City after a 1-1 draw at Ashton Gate.
The visitors were gifted a 15th-minute lead when Rob Atkinson’s misplaced pass inside his own box was intercepted by Liam Cullen, who squared for Joel Piroe to shoot into an unguarded net.
But after being outplayed in the first half, the hosts battled hard to level on 75 minutes when Semenyo netted with a downward header from Andreas Weimann’s left-wing cross.
Both sides could have won it in a rip-roaring finale but in the end Swansea paid for not making more of their first-half dominance.
The winners of the replay at the Swansea.com Stadium will play either Chesterfield or West Brom in round four.
Stoke’s Championship struggles were put aside with a comfortable 3-0 victory at Hartlepool to secure a place in the fourth round against Stevenage, who stunned Aston Villa away from home.
Alex Neil’s side secured a two-goal cushion at half-time and Pools, fighting against relegation in League Two, could not find a way back.
An own goal from Hartlepool defender Euan Murray in the 16th minute was followed by a predatory Jacob Brown strike two minutes before the break to put Stoke in control.
Even though Hartlepool had their moments, particularly in the first half, Neil’s men never really looked like throwing that advantage away and Rollin Menayese also put into his own net two minutes after the restart.
Derby booked their place in the fourth round with a comfortable 3-0 victory over fellow League One side Barnsley at Pride Park to set up a fourth-round tie with Premier League West Ham.
James Collins opened the scoring from the penalty spot just before half-time while Tom Barkhuizen and Jason Knight also hit the target for the in-form Rams.
Barnsley had made a fast start to the first FA Cup meeting between the clubs in 125 years and almost went ahead in the fourth minute when Tom Edwards’ header was superbly saved by Joe Wildsmith.
Substitute Andy Williams slotted home a 95th-minute penalty to earn Walsall a dramatic 2-1 victory at League Two rivals Stockportwith a tie against Leicester their reward in the next round.
Williams scored after Liam Kinsella had been fouled by Paddy Madden, securing the Saddlers a place in the fourth round for the first time in seven years.
Danny Johnson had opened the scoring for the visitors in the second half only for Madden to level late before the drama at the death.