Norwich City pass their Premier League test

Posted by Paddy Davitt

Clive Mason/Getty ImagesRobert Snodgrass opened the scoring in Norwich's romp over West Brom.

Some days in life are worth waiting for. On their day of reckoning, Norwich City produced a stellar display to secure another season of Premier League football.

Defeat for Aston Villa on Saturday at home to Chelsea coupled with Sunday's 4-0 romp over an anemic West Brom guarantee Chris Hughton and his collective can enjoy a pressure-free final day trip to dethroned champions Manchester City.

- Match report: Norwich 4-0 West Brom

The Canaries were simply magnificent from first minute until Jonny Howson curled home arguably the best goal seen at Carrow Road this campaign.

A season of struggles and uncertainty were washed away with a vibrant confidence the Canaries really had no right to exhibit. A performance the long-suffering but unstintingly loyal home support have cried out for since an encouraging prefestive run gave way to months of angst. Robert Snodgrass lashed home from an acute angle for a slender interval leader before Albion imploded not once, but twice in the space of four second-half minutes. Grant Holt rolled home the easiest goal of his Norwich career after Jonas Olsson and Ben Foster became embroiled in an embarrassing tango attempting to deal with Wes Hoolahan's lifted ball.

Gareth McAuley then miscued a header past Foster from 8 yards -- he of former Ipswich connections who appears to have a penchant for aiding the Canaries' cause. Not that they needed any assistance on a defining afternoon. Howson's curling finish from the edge of the area deep in stoppage time was the coup de grace. Honed in Norfolk, made in Yorkshire -- after the all-action midfielder exchanged passes with his former Leeds ally Luciano Becchio before lifting beyond the sprawling Foster. Only Albion's recently recalled England squad man prevented a heavier reverse. The majority in Carrow Road cared little. The final whistle produced a fresh wave of euphoria. Hughton embraced Hoolahan before patiently waiting in the mouth of the tunnel to greet the rest of his troops.

Both the manager and his squad have endured some dark days on this tumultuous journey. Few will ever forget the cup failures against Luton and Aston Villa, but league longevity was always going to prove the benchmark. And on that measure, Hughton's debut season of consolidation at the helm has been a success.

The alternative was a stark one. Relegation and the attendant consequences loomed larger in the rear view with each winless week. Stuck on the outside of the best club league on the planet while those privileged few carved up fresh reserves of new broadcast revenues in the summer was an unpalatable prospect. Norwich can now build again and seek to follow the likes of both Albion and Stoke, who have established themselves as genuine top-flight commodities. The world is a brighter place in Norfolk this evening.

ESPN Conversations