Paddy Davitt delivers his Plymouth verdict after Norwich City’s pathetic display.

1. Blitzed

When was the last time Norwich capitulated to concede four goals in one half? Well, it was April actually. It was under David Wagner, and a squad who imploded at Middlesbrough to continue a sad, slow spiral into the middle ground of that Championship renewal.

But that was all behind the Canaries now. New faces, renewed optimism. A pre-season to embed this head coach’s ideas. And, in truth, the sort of start to a season that suggested a corner had been turned.

Little did we know there was a brick wall the other side of that corner. A third defeat in four, in all competitions, and Josh Sargent and Ashley Barnes sidelined for months through injury. This campaign has headed south in alarming fashion.

Plymouth were energetic, aggressive and fearless. Norwich were rudderless, compliant and off the pace in thought and deed.

Morgan Whittaker had a field day. Bali Mumba’s smile only temporarily left his features when he upended Onel Hernandez for Adam Idah’s penalty. Plymouth’s fans kept up a relentless din from start to finish.

To lose on a ground where Argyle had previously won 22 from 26 this calendar year, in surging to the League One title, was no disgrace. But to surrender in the manner they did was unacceptable.

No amount of words or apologies will cut it from here. Idah’s second half brace in reply does not even come close.

Wagner even cautioned his players in the pre-match build up to remember what unfolded at Rotherham in that recent opening league defeat of the season.

The Millers had rolled over the top of his side in a dispiriting first half. But Home Park witnessed carnage on a whole different level in that first 45 minutes.

Frankly, much of that good early season work has been undone. This was not a one-off. This was more of the same. Only worse.

2. Fan power

To the great misfortune of Wagner, his players and backroom staff the tunnel at Home Park was situated between two stands, one of which was populated by the 1,640 away supporters. A group who in many, many cases would have left Norfolk before dawn and would not return until the early hours of Sunday morning.

Hundreds of miles, numerous hours and not inconsiderable expense. Little wonder some of their number chose to vent their frustration at close quarters both at the interval and full time.

When Kenny McLean led his players back onto the park after the interval, well before Plymouth’s players returned, there was boos from the away end to greet them. Unheard of.  

The contrast in what was served up at Huddersfield or even Southampton was staggering. Those fans want to see their side win, they want to see them perform, and they want to be entertained. Wagner’s squad had delivered on the brief until short-changing those travelling fans at Rotherham and now Plymouth.

But what surely cuts deeper than losing is the manner those in green and yellow succumbed.

Argyle’s opening goal came when Ben Gibson’s initial clearing header dropped into midfield. Two City players stood and watched the flight. No second ball challenge was offered, Plymouth accepted the invitation and Whittaker applied the finish.

The hosts’ second goal came from a quick piece of thinking on a free kick that left City outnumbered down their left. A lack of concentration, a lack of conviction, a lack of personal responsibility.

Those are charges that should trouble Wagner and his staff more than coming up against Championship rivals with the quality to inflict league defeats.

3. Idah at the double

The result had long since been decided, but given much of the pre-match talk revolved around the young Irish forward finally grasping his opportunity to step out of the shadow of Sargent and Barnes to assume top billing, Idah’s second half salvo was at least something that could carry a longer term dividend.

The 22-year-old opened up last season about the struggles he has had with confidence and self-belief as he tried to navigate his passage from a prolific scorer at academy level to the first team glare.

When Teemu Pukki rode off into the sunset, Idah may have sensed an opportunity. But such was the symmetry and the telepathy that emerged almost instantly between Sargent and Barnes he had been thrust again in the role of support act.

But arguably for the first time in his senior career at Carrow Road the path is clear. Barnes will not return from his medial knee ligament damage until late November. Sargent until 2024.

Wagner said all the right things on the eve of this battle. He wants Idah to relax, release any pressure on his shoulders and have fun in an extended run in the side.

But that will only happen if he can hit the back of the net. That is the staple the striker and those fans will measure success by. His first goal again underlined his predatory instincts.

Gabby Sara’s pass matched the run and the finish was instinctive beyond Conor Hazard. His penalty was nerveless and emphatically slotted.

Given Wagner opted to withdraw Hwang Ui-Jo after the first half carnage, Idah will know he is pole position.

One can only hope on a personal level he takes the shot of confidence from a brace that could have even been a hat-trick, but for Hazard’s excellent stop earlier in the second half from Idah’s stretching volley.

4. Sara promotion

Wagner has been around the block to know when the Championship ranges back into view against Birmingham the City head coach and his players better have a response. The vast majority who turn up at Carrow Road will demand nothing less.

There was just a teaser at his pre-match press conference ahead of Plymouth as to his thought process in how he plots a route through losing both Sargent and Barnes.

It is not solely an equation that rests on the likes of Idah and Hwang. There is also the dimension of what it means at the sharp end of the Norwich midfield.

Wagner ticked through his mid to longer term options and listed both Liam Gibbs and Marcelino Nunez. But he also offered up Sara in a more advanced role, now Adam Forshaw is in the building and up to speed.

At the start of the second half with the game long since up, Forshaw did indeed appear and that in turn allowed the Brazilian to roam further forward. There was one gorgeous cross whipped in for Idah to volley at Hazard.

Followed by the pinpoint ball into the channel that had the right weight and pace on it for Idah to re-direct it across his body for the first of his two goals.

A little link up that might point the way forward. It does nothing to address the slackness of City’s work out of possession, that was exposed by the Pilgrims, but one problem-solving exercise at a time.