THERE was no happy homecoming for manager Paul Warne as his Rotherham United side lost out at Championship leaders Norwich City and slipped back into the drop zone.
The Millers boss was brought up in Norfolk and was a regular at Carrow Road during his childhood.
However, he could only suffer on the sideline as the Canaries showed why they are top of the table and condemned the visitors to their third successive defeat.
Rotherham were much better after the break and had chances to equalise but the damage was done in the first half when Norwich were irresistible.
The loss left the Millers back in 22nd spot, although they do have games in hand on the teams around them.
Daniel Farke's side dominated from the off and Viktor Johansson saved from Teemu Pukki and was relieved to see a Mario Vrancic shot go just wide early on.
Rotherham had the ball in the net in the 11th minute as Clark Robertson headed home from a corner but his effort was ruled out for a Dan Barlaser foul on goalkeeper Tim Krul.
The Millers were being troubled by Pukki's runs in behind and the striker made no mistake on 17 minutes when was sprung clear by Emi Buendia's pass and coolly beat Johansson.
They could have fallen further behind only seconds later when a Michael Ihiekwe error allowed in Cantwell who should have done better than blaze the ball off target.
On a bright, windy day, it was a tough opening period for the visitors as they were unpicked by the home side's quick, clever passing.
Vrancic's raking long ball instigated another Norwich attack and only a stunning block from Robertson denied Buendia in the 39th minute.
Ryan Giles cut in from the left and sent a tame shot at Krul as the Millers tried to respond towards half-time.
There was no shortage of effort from Warne's men. They were simply being outclassed by the best team in the division.
The boss had resisted the temptation to rest several of his players after the long midweek trip to Bournemouth and with a key game against survival rivals Nottingham Forest coming up on Tuesday.
He restricted himself to two changes, bringing in Angus MacDonald and Giles and naming Richard Wood and Matt Olosunde among the substitutes.
MacDonald didn't show for the second half, being replaced by Olosunde, and Rotherham came agonisingly close to an equaliser two minutes after the restart.
Ben Wiles' timing was perfect on the edge of the area and his thunderous volley rocketed past Krul only to rattle the bar.
Johansson had to be alert to thwart Pukki on 70 minutes but the Millers were much more in the contest and again almost levelled the scores.
Matt Crooks seemed certain to make it 1-1 when he latched on to Freddie Ladapo's 72nd-minute pull-back and could hardly believe it when Max Aarons produced a goal-saving block.
That was to be the Millers' last real threat on a day when they were simply beaten by a better side.
Goals: Pukki 17 (Norwich).
Norwich (4-2-3-1): Tim Krul; Max Aarons, Christoph Zimmerman, Grant Hanley, Dimitris Giannoulis; Oliver Skipp, Kenny McLean; Emi Buendia, Mario Vrancic (Alex Tettey 90+4), Todd Cantwell (Lukas Rupp 90); Teemu Pukki (Adam Idah 90+3). Subs not used: Daniel Barden, Kieran Dowell, Xavi Quintalla, Jacob Sorensen, Onel Hernandez, Andrew Omobamidele.
Rotherham (3-5-1-1): Viktor Johansson; Angus MacDonald (Matt Olosunde H-T), Michael Ihiekwe, Clark Robertson; Wes Harding (Florian Zozefzoon 83), Dan Barlaser (Freddie Ladapo 67), Lewis Wing, Ben Wiles, Ryan Giles; Matt Crooks (Kieran Sadlier 75), Michael Smith (George Hirst 67). Subs not used: Jamal Blackman, Richard Wood, Trevor Clarke, Shaun MacDonald.
Referee: Tony Harrington (Cleveland).