A stunning first-half performance saw Cardiff down Norwich and power clear of QPR at the top of the Championship.
In-form Jay Bothroyd headed Cardiff in front after Peter Whittingham's well-worked corner, Gabor Gyepes assisting.
Bothroyd's sweet flick set up Michael Chopra for the second, before Wes Hoolahan pulled one back for Norwich.
But Elliott Ward conceded a penalty for handball, Whittingham scoring from the spot. Cardiff's only setback a Bothroyd booking that rules him out for a week.
The punishment for a late challenge on Steven Smith will keep the red-hot striker out of next Sunday's south Wales derby against Swansea, a match of huge significance with the Bluebirds topping the league after QPR's draw with Burnley and Swansea third in the table after an impressive 3-0 win at Crystal Palace.
The Swans will also be without one of their key men, though, midfielder Darren Pratley banned after picking up a booking at Selhurst Park.
Norwich's second away defeat of the season sees them slip to fifth in the table.
One of the Canaries' old boys Craig Bellamy - who has yet to lose since joining his hometown club Cardiff on loan from Manchester City - was named as the Bluebirds' captain for the day in an unchanged side.
Norwich boss Paul Lambert made two changes, with Hoolahan and youngster Korey Smith being brought back into the starting line-up at the expense of David Fox and Anthony McNamee, who dropped to the bench.
Boss Dave Jones pleased to see Cardiff top
The Canaries, unbeaten in their last three away games, were first to threaten but from a third-minute corner from Simon Lappin - on his 100th appearance for the club - on-loan Leon Barnett headed well over.
Cardiff responded and hit Norwich with two goals in three minutes to take a firm grip of the game.
First Bothroyd - who had moments before been denied by goalkeeper John Ruddy - tucked home his 12th of the season from close range after Gyepes had knocked Whittingham's corner across the face of the goal.
Then Bothroyd profited from a long ball and played in Chopra who made no mistake as he slotted his effort past Ruddy.
Norwich, though, produced a spirited response and Andrew Crofts fired over the bar before Simeon Jackson saw his shot deflected for a corner.
The visitors had the ball in the net in the 17th minute but captain Grant Holt's header was ruled out after he was adjudged to have committed a foul.
Jackson - with a clear sight of goal - was then denied by Bluebirds keeper Tom Heaton.
Hoolahan was also thwarted by Heaton, but he did pull a deserved goal back for Norwich with a brave header from Lappin's cross.
Cardiff immediately restored their two-goal advantage with Whittingham's penalty, his fourth goal in as many games.
Ruddy bravely saved at the feet of Chopra early in the second half and the stopper then foiled Gyepes as Cardiff made a strong start when play resumed.
Bothroyd was unlucky not to get his second of the match 18 minutes from time when his 18-yard effort hit the crossbar and Ruddy made a comfortable save from Chris Burke as the home side enjoyed a good spell of pressure.
Having opened the scoring Bothroyd came close to having the final say, but Ruddy produced a fine fingertip save to turn his strike around the post.
"It was a good game, an open game, but I wouldn't say it was a convincing win," said Cardiff manager Dave Jones.
"Norwich were in the ascendancy and playing well when they got their goal - we needed to go straight back up and score."
Lambert praised his team despite seeing his players suffer a second defeat in three outings.
"We were excellent getting back into the game and caused them problems, especially in the first half," said the Canaries boss.
"The penalty was a bit strange and though we worked hard to pull that goal back, giving away another straight after was a big blow to us.
"In the first half we gave as good as we got and I can't fault any of my players because on another day we may have had some luck.
"Cardiff just missed out last year and they will be there again this season.
"They hit the bar in the second half and had a couple of near misses and really it just shows how far we have come as a club in the last few seasons when we are disappointed at being beaten by a team now top of the league."
Live text and stats
Saturday, 30 October 2010
Whittingham (pen) 37
08 Chopra (McPhail 78)
09 Bothroyd yellow card
39 Bellamy (Koumas 71)
02 R Martin
20 Barnett yellow card
26 Smith yellow card
07 Crofts yellow card
14 Hoolahan (Johnson 81)
19 Lappin (McNamee 62)
09 Holt yellow card
10 Jackson (C Martin 62)
16 C Martin,
Ref: ScottAtt: 24,634
Attempts on target
Attempts off target
90:00+3:06 The referee blows his whistle to end the game.
90:00+1:33 Grant Holt challenges Kevin McNaughton unfairly and gives away a free kick. Tom Heaton takes the free kick.
90:00+1:33 Booking Grant Holt is cautioned by the ref for unsporting behaviour.
90:00+0:21 Chris Martin takes a shot. Blocked by Kevin McNaughton.
87:23 Effort on goal by Jason Koumas from deep inside the area goes harmlessly over the bar.
84:59 Peter Whittingham takes the inswinging corner, clearance made by Elliott Ward.
84:18 Russell Martin challenges Lee Naylor unfairly and gives away a free kick. Jason Koumas crosses the ball in from the free kick,
Andrew Crofts makes a clearance.
82:29 Jay Bothroyd takes a shot. Save by John Ruddy. Inswinging corner taken right-footed by Jason Koumas from the left by-line,
clearance made by Elliott Ward.
80:33 Substitution Oli Johnson replaces Wesley Hoolahan.
77:13 Substitution Stephen McPhail replaces Michael Chopra.
76:56 Shot from just outside the area by Jay Bothroyd misses to the right of the target.
74:24 Chris Burke takes a shot. Save by John Ruddy.
73:38 Anthony McNamee takes a shot. Lee Naylor gets a block in.
71:43 Jay Bothroyd takes a shot.
70:56 The assistant referee flags for offside against Anthony McNamee. Indirect free kick taken by Tom Heaton.
70:56 Substitution Jason Koumas is brought on as a substitute for Craig Bellamy.
67:21 The referee blows for offside against Grant Holt. Mark Hudson restarts play with the free kick.
66:46 Free kick awarded for a foul by Andrew Crofts on Jay Bothroyd. Free kick taken by Lee Naylor.
66:46 Booking Andrew Crofts booked for unsporting behaviour.
64:36 Inswinging corner taken by Craig Bellamy from the left by-line, clearance made by Andrew Crofts.
63:53 Grant Holt challenges Gabor Gyepes unfairly and gives away a free kick. Lee Naylor takes the direct free kick.
63:06 Free kick awarded for a foul by Jay Bothroyd on Andrew Crofts. Elliott Ward restarts play with the free kick.
62:39 Unfair challenge on Steven Smith by Jay Bothroyd results in a free kick. John Ruddy restarts play with the free kick.
62:39 Booking The referee books Jay Bothroyd for unsporting behaviour.
61:08 Substitution Anthony McNamee joins the action as a substitute, replacing Simon Lappin.
61:08 Substitution Chris Martin replaces Simeon Jackson.
59:09 Grant Holt concedes a free kick for a foul on Kevin McNaughton. Mark Hudson takes the free kick. Jay Bothroyd is penalised
for a handball. Indirect free kick taken by John Ruddy.
56:43 Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Craig Bellamy by Leon Barnett. Craig Bellamy fires a strike on goal direct from
the free kick. Corner from the left by-line taken by Craig Bellamy, Elliott Ward manages to make a clearance. Corner taken
left-footed by Peter Whittingham from the right by-line, clearance by Leon Barnett.
56:43 Booking The referee shows Leon Barnett a yellow card for unsporting behaviour.
55:35 Peter Whittingham takes a shot. Blocked by Elliott Ward.
55:17 Foul by Andrew Crofts on Jay Bothroyd, free kick awarded. Peter Whittingham takes the direct free kick.
53:33 Andrew Crofts takes a shot. Gabor Gyepes gets a block in.
50:23 Gabor Gyepes has an effort at goal. Save by John Ruddy.
47:24 Chris Burke takes a shot. Save by John Ruddy.
46:48 Unfair challenge on Gabor Gyepes by Grant Holt results in a free kick. Tom Heaton takes the free kick.
45:01 The referee starts the second half.
45:00+3:59 The first half comes to an end.
45:00+3:16 Peter Whittingham produces a left-footed shot from just outside the box that goes wide right of the target.
45:00+1:16 Inswinging corner taken by Craig Bellamy from the left by-line, John Ruddy makes a save.
44:48 Grant Holt produces a left-footed shot from inside the area that clears the crossbar.
42:37 Simeon Jackson gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Kevin McNaughton. Craig Bellamy has a direct shot on goal
from the free kick.
41:10 Outswinging corner taken by Simon Lappin.
36:40 The referee penalises Elliott Ward for handball.
36:40 GOAL - Peter Whittingham:Cardiff 3 - 1 Norwich Peter Whittingham scores a penalty. Cardiff 3-1 Norwich.
33:41 The assist for the goal came from Steven Smith.
33:41 GOAL - Wesley Hoolahan:Cardiff 2 - 1 Norwich Wesley Hoolahan finds the net with a headed goal from close range. Cardiff 2-1 Norwich.
33:37 Wesley Hoolahan takes a shot. Save by Tom Heaton.
31:22 Free kick awarded for a foul by Steven Smith on Michael Chopra. Direct free kick taken by Tom Heaton.
31:22 Booking Booking for Steven Smith for unsporting behaviour.
28:40 Simon Lappin concedes a free kick for a foul on Kevin McNaughton. Peter Whittingham takes the direct free kick.
28:00 Foul by Korey Smith on Lee Naylor, free kick awarded. Tom Heaton restarts play with the free kick.
Correction - 22:09 Inswinging corner taken from the right by-line by Peter Whittingham, Foul by Mark Hudson on Grant Holt, free kick awarded.
John Ruddy restarts play with the free kick.
22:09 Corner taken by Peter Whittingham, free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Grant Holt by Mark Hudson. John Ruddy takes
the direct free kick.
20:35 Andrew Crofts takes a shot. Seyi Olofinjana gets a block in.
18:00 Unfair challenge on Seyi Olofinjana by Wesley Hoolahan results in a free kick. Tom Heaton takes the direct free kick.
17:44 Simeon Jackson takes a shot. Save made by Tom Heaton.
16:42 Unfair challenge on Mark Hudson by Grant Holt results in a free kick. Tom Heaton restarts play with the free kick.
15:38 Shot on goal by Andrew Crofts from just inside the area goes over the target.
14:55 Simon Lappin takes a inswinging corner from the right by-line played to the near post, clearance by Seyi Olofinjana.
14:02 Simeon Jackson takes a shot. Mark Hudson gets a block in. Corner taken left-footed by Simon Lappin, Gabor Gyepes makes a clearance.
11:47 Assist by Jay Bothroyd.
11:47 GOAL - Michael Chopra:Cardiff 2 - 0 Norwich Michael Chopra fires in a goal from inside the six-yard box low into the middle of the goal. Cardiff 2-0 Norwich.
8:05 Peter Whittingham takes the inswinging corner, assist on the goal came from Gabor Gyepes. Corner taken by Peter Whittingham
from the right by-line, Unfair challenge on Grant Holt by Mark Hudson results in a free kick. Direct free kick taken by John
8:05 GOAL - Jay Bothroyd:Cardiff 1 - 0 Norwich A goal is scored by Jay Bothroyd from close range to the top right corner of the goal. Cardiff 1-0 Norwich.
7:30 The ball is delivered by Chris Burke, Steven Smith gets a block in.
4:57 Jay Bothroyd takes a shot. Save by John Ruddy. Centre by Mark Hudson, Jay Bothroyd takes a shot. John Ruddy makes a save.
4:30 Craig Bellamy takes a shot. Russell Martin gets a block in.
2:18 The referee blows for offside. John Ruddy takes the indirect free kick.
1:16 Outswinging corner taken by Simon Lappin, Header on goal by Leon Barnett from inside the box goes harmlessly over the target.
0:27 Seyi Olofinjana concedes a free kick for a foul on Simon Lappin. John Ruddy takes the free kick.
0:00 The game kicks-off.
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