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Norwich City 4 : 2 Watford

Ashley Barnes' early header helped Norwich stretch their unbeaten record at Carrow Road to eight league matches

Norwich City beat Watford in a thriller at Carrow Road to move into the Championship play-off places.

The Canaries scored twice in the space of eight first-half minutes, with Ashley Barnes putting them ahead and Josh Sargent doubling their lead.

Mileta Rajovic pulled a goal back shortly before half-time and Yaser Asprilla equalised with a spectacular second-half strike, only for Norwich to respond with goals from Gabriel Sara and Christian Fassnacht.

The victory moved David Wagner’s side up to sixth in the table, above Hull City on goals scored, and extended their unbeaten home run to eight matches.

It also moved them seven points clear of Watford, whose own play-off hopes are dwindling after a run of just two wins in their past 10 games.

Norwich dominated most of the first half and went in front when Onel Hernandez did superbly on the right and crossed for veteran striker Barnes to head over the line.

Worse followed for Watford when they failed to clear their lines and Wesley Hoedt conceded a penalty by bringing down Kenny McLean.

Ben Hamer saved Sargent’s spot-kick but the American headed in the rebound to score for the third match in a row and for a fifth consecutive home game.

Norwich seemed to be in total control but Rajovic brought the Hornets back into game by diverting Ken Sema’s mis-hit shot into the net from close range.

Asprilla then hauled Watford level in emphatic fashion. The Colombian youngster, on as a substitute, darted in from the right and sent an unstoppable 30-yard shot beyond keeper Angus Gunn.

But just as Watford were in the ascendancy, two goals in five minutes won the game for the hosts.

Barnes found Sara near the edge of the penalty area and the Brazilian fired into the far corner, before Fassnacht tucked away Jack Stacey’s right-wing cross to end Watford’s seven-match unbeaten away record in the Championship.

Norwich boss David Wagner told:

“For the neutral it was a top, top match and for me as a manager it was a top match.

“In the first half we played very, very good. We created chances and scored two goals and then unfortunately they were able to score with their first chance.

“We have faced a top side with top individuals and in the second half we didn’t start well and we conceded another top goal.

“How the players reacted was just unbelievable. To come back and score two super goals – it was a totally deserved result. I’m very proud of what the players did.”

Watford boss Valerien Ismael told:

“The feeling was there, especially in the crowd, that something had happened and the momentum changed for us.

“We came back well in the second half and scored an awesome goal. We’re back on track and everything is there.

“From nowhere, we lost control of the game. At 2-2, you need to be calm and keep control of the game.

“It’s frustrating because we were really on top. It’s unacceptable how it’s happened.”