Blackburn saved themselves on the last day of last season and they have given themselves a chance of doing so again, even if they will find points harder to come by with away games at Spurs and Chelsea sandwiching their one remaining home fixture against unpredictable Wigan.
Steve Kean called this a must-win game and win it Blackburn did, though not necessarily in a manner to instil confidence in their supporters for the challenges ahead. All three of their next opponents will have something to play for, whereas Norwich are in end-of-season mode already. And whatever the result these days, confidence for the future is not something readily discernible in this part of Lancashire.
"You could see the players and staff were very focused today, so I don't want to dwell on the negativity from some of the supporters," Kean said, reasonably enough. This was a decent Rovers win, after all, and compared with the abuse the manager has been subjected to this season the protests were fairly half-hearted. "If we can play together like that we have an excellent chance of surviving, we just need to take something from every game. We have shown we can go to daunting places like Manchester United and Liverpool and gain a result, and I can only be encouraged by the attitude of the players. Gaël Givet and Bradley Orr took pain-killing injections at half-time. No one wants to come off the pitch, we are all in this together."
Honours were just about even after 40 minutes of open and occasionally entertaining football before Mauro Formica put Blackburn in front, getting on the end of a typically searching Morten Gamst Pedersen cross from the left and beating John Ruddy with a crisp first-time finish at the far post. As Yakubu had hit a post moments earlier with an almost comically weak overhead shot after terrific work on the right by Junior Hoilett, the home side probably deserved to be in the lead at half-time, though Jon Howson had brought the first save of the game from Paul Robinson with a rasping drive from 25 yards, and Grant Holt put a close-range header wide when you would have expected him to do better from Elliott Bennett's cross from the left corner.
"How crap must you be, we're winning one-nil," was the response to the goal from a section of home supporters, an indication that all is not well again at Ewood after five successive defeats. Just over a month ago improved results appeared to have earned Kean and the even more unpopular Venky's a reprieve from the wrath of their own fans, but now Rovers are back in the mire the terrace protests have returned. The pre-match demonstration involved a couple of hundred disgruntled fans and, just as before, Blackburn cannot seem to make up its mind.
When Kean was jeered by a minority of fans early on, supporters in other parts of the ground took up a more positive refrain. Then the Norwich fans joined in with ironic chants of "There's only one Steve Kean", and it all got a bit silly. "Have you ever won the Premier League?" most of Ewood demanded to know, which has about as much relevance to Rovers' present position as the fact that 20 years ago Alan Shearer and Chris Sutton consigned the Canaries to a record 7-1 defeat. The nearest Rovers get to topping the table these days is a goalscorer called Formica.
At least the Argentine was not the only home scorer. Hoilett's goal at the start of the second half, when he cut in from the left touchline to the angle of the area and let fly with a shot that had the beating of Ruddy from the moment it left his right boot, was something to behold. Well, most home supporters would have enjoyed it. "Two-nil up and we want Kean out," could be heard at unforgiving Ewood.
That turned out to be the final score, despite the Norwich substitute Aaron Wilbraham going close twice within a minute to pulling a goal back, first bringing a save from Robinson, then nearly scoring from the corner.
Paul Lambert moaned a little about conceding poor goals, but promised there would be a better performance against Liverpool. The Norwich fans departed happy enough – it was supporters of the winning side who stuck around to grumble.