Norwich were handed a rude wake-up call on their return to the second tier as unfancied Watford picked up a 3-2 victory in the curtain raiser for the npower Championship season.
John Eustace and Danny Graham had Watford 2-0 up inside 24 minutes to silence a packed Carrow Road crowd who were eager to see the Canaries carry on the momentum from their League One title win in May.
Andrew Crofts narrowed the deficit after the break, however, Graham struck his second late on and though Michael Nelson was able to find a second goal for the hosts in stoppage time, Watford were worthy winners.
Norwich boss Paul Lambert handed debuts to six new signings and had captain Grant Holt on the bench despite a thigh injury and a possible court appearance in Shropshire hampering his build-up to the game.
Watford signed Troy Deeney from Walsall earlier in the afternoon and he was on the bench as boss Malky Mackay - who spent six years as a player for the Canaries - looked to engineer a win.
The visitors were dangerous on the break and took the lead through Eustace in the 14th minute. Don Cowie took a short corner and lofted the return pass into the penalty area. Crofts misjudged his leap and Eustace was afforded the space to bring the ball down on his chest before planting a low left-footed shot past John Ruddy and into the corner.
Graham soon had the Hornets two ahead. Lloyd Doyley hooked a clearance upfield and Graham cushioned the ball on his chest to strike partner Marvin Sordell. Sordell helped the ball on over the top and Graham was lethal in clipping the ball past Ruddy from just inside the area.
Crofts pulled one back in the 52nd minute though. Wes Hoolahan slalomed his way past three players before finding Simeon Jackson on the edge of the area and the Canada international had spotted Crofts run behind him and slid a lovely backheel into his path and the midfielder duly dispatched it past Scott Loach.
Watford wrapped up the game though when Stephen McGinn poked the ball through to Graham on the left-hand side of the box and the former Carlisle man picked his spot perfectly to curl home.
Nelson gave City hope in added time when he met Crofts' cut-back to steer in from 10 yards, however, Watford held on comfortably to claim all three points.
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