One Neanderthal's alleged racist abuse – an ugly throwback which is showing disturbing signs of a copycat trend – should not be allowed to detract from a minor epic, which was a credit to both sides.
The seven goals could easily have been a round dozen, such was the rich, rollercoaster entertainment provided by two well-matched teams who have much in common, and continue to prove that it does not take an oligarch's ransom in transfer fees and wages to play good, attractive football.
These two provincial clubs of broadly the same size were promoted together at the end of 2010-11. Both then lost messianic managers, poached by bigger rivals in need of their restorative skills, but replaced them shrewdly with young men in the same vein and remain happily unaffected by the cliché that is "second-season syndrome".
Swansea's Michael Laudrup and Chris Hughton at Norwich have operated with intelligent economy in the transfer market, retaining mid-table stability for an outlay that would keep the most parsimonious of bank managers happy.
It is instructive – some might say pleasing – to note that the other club promoted in the summer of 2011, Queens Park Rangers, opted for the money-no-object approach and currently find themselves bottom of the table, without a win all season.
In contrast, Swansea's acumen is typified by the acquisition of Michu, who must be the bargain of the season at £2m from Rayo Vallecano. Another two goals on Saturday took his tally to 12 in 16 Premier League appearances.
For Norwich, Robert Snodgrass has also been a snip at £3m from Leeds, and Hughton is making a silk purse out of the sow's ear Sébastien Bassong resembled at Spurs. It was Bassong who was at the centre of the latest racist idiocy, the Cameroon defender's celebration of Norwich's fourth, clinching goal curtailed by an inflammatory gesture which, reported and reviewed on CCTV, saw a Swansea fan rapidly identified and charged with "racially aggravated public order offence". The 23-year-old supporter was released on bail on Sunday night with the investigation into the incident continuing.
Much better, surely, to concentrate on a match that was a cracker from start to finish, and all the better for being utterly unexpected. Norwich arrived with a miserly 13 goals to show for 15 league games, with their leading scorer, Grant Holt, becalmed on three from 15 appearances. Not even the perkiest Canary can have envisaged four on a ground that had previously been a fortress.
To the dismay of the home crowd, Hughton's well drilled outfit rattled in three in a first half they dominated completely.
The Swans were lame ducks, unrecognisable as the slick adventurers whose cohesive, kaleidoscopic passing had embarrassed Arsenal at the Emirates the previous week. Why the difference? Laudrup had seen it coming. His players were starting to believe the rave reviews they had been receiving and thought they could get away with what he called 90% performances.
The manager quickly disabused them during the interval, and that extra 10% in the second half transformed the game. Michu, with an instinctive volley, and Jonathan de Guzmán's low drive into the corner made it 3-2 after 58 minutes, and suddenly the Liberty was rocking.
Had what looked like the equalising goal from Itay Shechter been allowed to stand, then the smart money would have been on a home win. Instead Howard Webb ruled that the goalkeeper, Mark Bunn, had been fouled in the buildup and Norwich, reprieved, secured the points with a handsome free-kick from Snodgrass.
Michu did manage a third for Swansea in added time, but much too late to prevent Norwich from extending their unbeaten run in the Premier League to nine matches – a club record.
Man of the match Robert Snodgrass (Norwich)
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