Cameron Jerome’s winner ten minutes from time handed Bournemouth their first league defeat in fourteen games, giving Alex Neil a dream start to his Norwich managerial career.
Matt Ritchie’s opener was cancelled out by a controversial equaliser through Canaries striker Gary Hooper, which appeared to be handled by Michael Turner in the Bournemouth area before the striker rifled the ball home.
Norwich midfielder Jonny Howson was dismissed by referee Chris Foy after his tackle on substitute Yann Kermorgant was deemed to be overly dangerous.
But Jerome was on hand to brilliantly curl in the winner in past Artur Boruc, from outside the area earning his side a 2-1 win.
Eddie Howe’s men remain at the top of the Championship solely on goal difference, as Ipswich were unable to capitalise on the Cherries defeat when they played Derby earlier in the day.
The opening spell of the game proved difficult for the Cherries, after Norwich dominated possession for quarter of an hour, creating several clear cut chances.
Young winger Nathan Redmond created problems for Charlie Daniels in Bournemouth’s defence, but his efforts from the edge of the area were dealt with confidently by the home side’s back line.
Despite Norwich’s early pressure, Artur Boruc escaped the first period relatively untroubled, as a series of corners were directed wide by Michael Turner and Bradley Johnson.
Eddie Howe’s men settled into the game after their shaky start, and after eighteen minutes, opened the scoring with Matt Ritchie expertly meeting Mark Pugh’s cross, finishing past the helpless Ruddy with a neat left-foot volley.
Ritchie, who signed a contract extension hours before the game, added to his goal tally, now standing at seven league goals, accompanying his eleven assists.
AFC Bournemouth’s more settled spell in the game almost saw them double the lead through Pugh’s volley, which sailed frustratingly over Ruddy’s bar.
Some sloppy defending from the home side almost proved costly as their inability to clear saw Cameron Jerome set up Jonny Howson, who was only able to direct his shot, once again, over the crossbar.
Norwich’s persistence paid off as a Martin Olsson’s corner bundled around the Cherries penalty area, being dispatched past Boruc by Hooper. The Bournemouth protests, led by Harry Arter, were waved away by Chris Foy and his assistant, after the ball was seemingly handled by Turner in the build up.
The Cherries were unable to respond to the equaliser, as Hooper’s strike gave Alex Neil’s men a deserved lifeline going in to the half time break.
The Championship leaders came out of the tunnel for the second period looking rejuvenated, and created many chances, but none that proved serious threat to Ruddy’s goal.
Norwich were put under further pressure as Chris Hoy brandished a straight red card for midfielder Howson, after his dangerous tackle on substitute Yann Kermorgant, meaning the final thirty minutes had to be played with ten men.
The Goldsand’s crowd grew increasingly frustrated as the clock ticked on, with Ritchie coming close to scoring twice, with his curling effort passing the post marginally, and drilled shot producing the same outcome.
Bournemouth’s defensive fragility cost dearly as Simon Francis’ attempted clearance feel straight into the path of Norwich top scorer, Cameron Jerome, who expertly curled the ball into the corner of the net, with Boruc’s fingertips unable to divert the ball away from goal.
Despite the home side’s mathematical advantage, chances were few and far between for Bournemouth, and the final whistle came too soon for Eddie Howe, ending the unbeaten domestic run, whilst also failing to capitalise on Ipswich’s defeat earlier in the game.