It was defeat for Barnsley in our opening fixture of the new year, as table-topping Norwich took all three points at Carrow Road.
Argentine midfielder Emi Buendía's second half strike was enough for the Canaries in an entertaining encounter in bitterly cold Norfolk.
With COVID-19 affecting the plans of Head Coach, Valérien Ismaël who was without all of Brad Collins, George Miller, Conor Chaplin and Alex Mowatt, it was a spirited performance from the Reds who probably should have been ahead at the break.
Looking to take the opportunity of a rare start, Luke Thomas rattled the crossbar on 11 minutes whilst Callum Styles saw a right-footed effort from the edge of the box saved by Tim Krul before Cauley Woodrow dragged wide on his 100th appearance for the club.
The hosts had their moments in the opening period with their best chance seeing Teemu Pukki lift the ball over Jack Walton only for Callum Brittain to clear the ball off the line.
HALF-TIME: Norwich City 0-0 Barnsley
Our goalkeeper had to be sharp early in the second half when he got down well to smother an effort from Pukki in on goal, before Walton then denied Jacob Sorensen at his near post as the home side ramped up the pressure.
But that pressure paid off when on 62 minutes, a wonderful diagonal ball into the box from the impressive Kenny McLean was slotted beyond Walton, first time by the outstanding Buendía.
Ismaël made substitutions in an effort to salvage something from a game that was slipping away from the Reds, but didn't carve out a clear opening until the final stages.
A long ball from Callum Brittain reached Styles at the far edge of the box and the little maestro hit it low and hard across goal but a sliding Michal Helik was unable to touch home what would have been a last-gasp leveller.
It was a valiant effort from the Reds in Norfolk, but the league leaders' bit of quality shone through as 2021 began with a defeat for Barnsley.
FULL-TIME: Norwich City 1-0 Barnsley
Walton, Brittain, Sollbauer, Helik, Andersen, Styles, James (Palmer), Kane, Frieser (Adeboyejo), Woodrow, Thomas (Schmidt).
Unused: Kendrick, Oduor, Moon, Christie-Davies.