2016 in the rear mirror, Norwich got 2017 off to a superb start on Monday with a 3-0 win at home to Derby.
It was a disappointing first half of the season for Alex Neil's side. Even with the boost on yesterday's win they are still ninth in the Championship, five points outside the playoff places.
The victory was aided by a red card for Derby's Jacob Butterfield. Norwich led 1-0 through Nélson Oliveira at the time.
20 minutes into the second half, Butterfield flew in with a wild challenge on Wes Hoolahan. It apparently dislodged the Irishman's shinguard and resulted in him writhing in pain on the ground.
Despite the unnecessary ferocity of the challenge, Hoolahan was able to continue and finish the game.
Post-match, Derby manager Steve McClaren disagreed with referee Darren Bond's decision to send off Butterfield saying that the player 'got the ball' in the challenge along with catching Hoolahan. 'Caught the player' is certainly a benign description of what happened in the tackle. Butterfield was closer to cutting Hoolahan in half.
He also added that he felt Hoolahan's reaction to the tackle was a factor in the red card.
I think the referee got it wrong and we will be looking at an appeal. Butterfield’s feet were not off the ground and he got a little bit of the ball. He also caught the player as well and because of that he falls down.
I think the reaction of the player (Hoolahan) and the crowd, which I can understand, played a part in it.
That was a big turning point, for me it was all about the sending off. We were up against a very good Norwich side, who have got one of the best squads in this division, and it was always going to be very difficult for us when we went down to 10.