Norwich earned their second point of the season but failed to take advantage of a host of chances to punish a below-par Brighton at Carrow Road.
Still searching for their first Premier League win of the season, the Canaries could not find a knockout punch despite their energy and industry ruffling the visitors.
Striker Josh Sargent squandered Norwich’s best two chances and as the openings ebbed away so did his confidence.
Brighton moves up the table to fourth, climbing above Manchester United – who lost to Leicester – and Everton, who play West Ham on Sunday. But they were well short of the form that has carried them into the upper reaches of the table before the international break.
Having picked up the first point of their Premier League campaign a fortnight ago at Burnley, Norwich started well, stretching Brighton’s defence and forcing Robert Sanchez into an early save from Sargent’s deflected shot.
Brighton picked up momentum and asserted themselves on the hosts. Neal Maupay, with four goals in his past seven games, was a constant nuisance to the Norwich defence, appealing in vain for a penalty after going down under the challenge of goalkeeper Tim Krul.
If Krul was judged not to get enough of a touch on Maupay, he certainly did of Leandro Trossard’s volley shortly after, brilliantly tipping the goal-bound shot onto the bar.
Brighton created Norwich’s best chance of the half as Sanchez rushed out of goal, missed his kick and presented Sargent with an open goal. However, the American’s attempt from 20 yards and an angle lacked power, allowing Shane Duffy to cover round and hoof clear.
Sargent’s sloppy touch allowed another prime chance to go to waste after the break, as his lack of conviction and accuracy gave Dan Burn room to slide in and block his way to goal.
Sargent was withdrawn on 75 minutes by manager Daniel Farke as Norwich came into the ascendancy in the second half and his replacement Milot Rashica sprung Teemu Pukki with an exquisite touch.
However, the Finn, who had clipped a previous chance wide, could not out-run the covering Burn, who made another excellent tackle.
Maupay came close to wrecking Norwich’s afternoon entirely as he turned Solly March’s cross over the top in the final five minutes.
Brighton will have to improve with both Manchester City and Liverpool to play before the end of the month but the return of energetic wideman Tariq Lamptey off the bench to make his first Premier League appearance in 10 months following a series of hamstring injuries was one positive to take back to the south coast.
While a second successive point after six straight defeats is a sign of improvement for Norwich, their performance did little to foster faith they can survive in the top flight.
They have scored just twice in the league this season with both strikes coming from Pukki. With Todd Cantwell sidelined and Emi Buendia having left for Aston Villa, he looks woefully short of a quality company to share the goal-scoring burden.
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