Referee Mark Clattenburg's return was overshadowed by a terrible mistake from Southampton goalkeeper Paulo Gazzaniga that gifted Norwich a point.
Clattenburg was in charge for the first time since Chelsea made a false accusation of racial abuse against him.
But Gazzaniga's poor attempt to stop Robert Snodgrass's free-kick in the 45th minute was the talking point.
The goal cancelled out Rickie Lambert's 32nd-minute finish after a free-kick deflected to him off Grant Holt.
Clattenburg was applauded by fans as he warmed up for his first game since the match between Chelsea and Manchester United on 28 October.
And he had an easy night with the only decision open to contention surrounding Lambert's goal.
Hughton pleased to extend run
Before the ball dropped for him off Norwich skipper Holt it bounced up off his arm.
Norwich appealed for a free-kick but Lambert knew little about the ball until it smacked his limb.
The goal was fully deserved as Southampton had run the opening stages of the game.
They felt they should have been awarded a penalty when defender Sebastien Bassong used his shoulder to barge Adam Lallana to the ground as the pair tussled for a ball, but Clattenburg was not interested.
Lallana's next foray into the box almost brought the opener. Lambert picked him out superbly with a cross the Saints captain caught on the volley and watched fly just over the bar.
Southampton did not have to wait much longer for their opener, though, with Lambert scoring his sixth of the season.
goals this season have been equalisers that earned his side 1-1 draws
It should have triggered a flurry of goals, but instead Southampton's Achilles heel of letting leads slip returned to haunt them again.
Nigel Adkins's men had shipped 13 points from winning positions before this game and they let more fall through their fingers just before the break.
Snodgrass's low free-kick beat the wall but looked an easy stop for Gazzaniga. That was until the 20-year-old Argentine let the ball bounce under him.
Gazzaniga is the third keeper Southampton have used this season after Kelvin Davis and Artur Boruc both failed to nail down their place in what is proving a problem position for the south coast club.
Adkins disappointed with Norwich goal
The keeper partly redeemed himself by making a point-blank stop to keep out Holt's header from a corner early in the second half, and that gave Southampton hope of recording a third successive win.
Substitution Jonathan Howson joins the action as a substitute, replacing Wesley Hoolahan.
Wesley Hoolahan takes a shot. Maya Yoshida gets a block in.
Anthony Pilkington takes a shot. Jose Fonte gets a block in.
Substitution Elliott Bennett on for Robert Snodgrass.
Substitution Jason Puncheon leaves the field to be replaced by Jay Rodriguez.
The assistant referee flags for offside against Rickie Lambert. Javier Garrido restarts play with the free kick.
Substitution Luke Shaw goes off and Ben Reeves comes on.
Rickie Lambert produces a right-footed shot from inside the area that clears the bar.
Jack Cork sends in a cross, Wesley Hoolahan makes a clearance.
Header on goal by Steve Morison from just inside the area goes over the goal.
Substitution Steve Morison replaces Grant Holt.
Gaston Ramirez takes a shot from deep inside the box clearing the bar.
Maya Yoshida fouled by Grant Holt, the ref awards a free kick. Paulo Gazzaniga restarts play with the free kick.
Rickie Lambert gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Alexander Tettey. Mark Bunn takes the free kick.
Jason Puncheon takes a shot. Steven Whittaker gets a block in.
Morgan Schneiderlin restarts play with the free kick.
Booking Ryan Bennett is cautioned.
Gaston Ramirez fouled by Ryan Bennett, the ref awards a free kick.
A cross is delivered by Jason Puncheon, save by Mark Bunn.
Free kick awarded for a foul by Gaston Ramirez on Sebastien Bassong. Free kick taken by Mark Bunn.
Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Rickie Lambert by Sebastien Bassong. Paulo Gazzaniga restarts play with the free kick.
Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Grant Holt by Maya Yoshida. Robert Snodgrass restarts play with the free kick.
Jason Puncheon takes a shot. Mark Bunn makes a save.
Inswinging corner taken by Robert Snodgrass from the right by-line, Grant Holt takes a shot. Save by Paulo Gazzaniga. Corner taken by Anthony Pilkington, Bradley Johnson has a headed effort at goal from deep inside the area missing to the right of the goal.
Wesley Hoolahan takes a shot. Save by Paulo Gazzaniga.
Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Steven Whittaker by Gaston Ramirez. Robert Snodgrass takes the direct free kick.
The ball is delivered by Javier Garrido, Maya Yoshida makes a clearance.
A cross is delivered by Adam Lallana, save by Mark Bunn.
Corner taken by Adam Lallana played to the near post, clearance by Bradley Johnson.
Bradley Johnson has an effort at goal from outside the penalty box missing to the wide left of the goal.
Corner from the right by-line taken by Robert Snodgrass, clearance made by Jose Fonte.
The assistant referee flags for offside against Gaston Ramirez. Mark Bunn restarts play with the free kick.
The ball is crossed by Robert Snodgrass, Jose Fonte manages to make a clearance.
Headed effort from deep inside the area by Grant Holt misses to the right of the target.
Ryan Bennett challenges Rickie Lambert unfairly and gives away a free kick. Adam Lallana takes the free kick. Corner taken left-footed by Gaston Ramirez from the right by-line, Rickie Lambert takes a shot. Save made by Mark Bunn.
The official flags Grant Holt offside. Free kick taken by Paulo Gazzaniga.
Unfair challenge on Jason Puncheon by Bradley Johnson results in a free kick. Gaston Ramirez crosses the ball, Shot by Jose Fonte.
The ball is crossed by Nathaniel Clyne, clearance by Ryan Bennett.
The game restarts for the second half.
45:00 +1:24 Half time
Half Time The referee calls an end to the first half.
44:12 Goal scored
Goal! - Robert Snodgrass - Southamp'n 1 - 1 Norwich Robert Snodgrass scores a goal direct from the free kick from just outside the penalty area to the top right corner of the goal. Southampton 1-1 Norwich.
Booking Nathaniel Clyne goes into the book for unsporting behaviour.
Short corner taken by Robert Snodgrass from the right by-line. Free kick awarded for a foul by Nathaniel Clyne on Robert Snodgrass.
Centre by Wesley Hoolahan, Luke Shaw makes a clearance.
Free kick awarded for a foul by Javier Garrido on Jason Puncheon. Strike comes in from Gaston Ramirez from the free kick.
Foul by Rickie Lambert on Ryan Bennett, free kick awarded. Ryan Bennett takes the direct free kick.
The ball is delivered by Steven Whittaker.
Free kick awarded for a foul by Luke Shaw on Wesley Hoolahan. Robert Snodgrass takes the free kick.
A cross is delivered by Jason Puncheon.
Adam Lallana provided the assist for the goal.
31:59 Goal scored
Goal! - Rickie Lambert - Southamp'n 1 - 0 Norwich Rickie Lambert scores a goal from inside the six-yard box to the bottom left corner of the goal. Southampton 1-0 Norwich.
Robert Snodgrass challenges Luke Shaw unfairly and gives away a free kick. A cross is delivered by Adam Lallana,
Jose Fonte challenges Grant Holt unfairly and gives away a free kick. Direct free kick taken by Grant Holt.
Robert Snodgrass takes a shot. Paulo Gazzaniga makes a comfortable save.
The ball is swung over by Adam Lallana, save made by Mark Bunn.
Centre by Jason Puncheon, clearance by Ryan Bennett.
Adam Lallana produces a left-footed shot from inside the area that goes over the bar.
Jason Puncheon gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Anthony Pilkington. Direct free kick taken by Javier Garrido.
Anthony Pilkington produces a cross.
Nathaniel Clyne gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Grant Holt. Anthony Pilkington delivers the ball from the free kick right-footed from left wing.
Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Robert Snodgrass by Adam Lallana. Steven Whittaker restarts play with the free kick.
A cross is delivered by Anthony Pilkington, clearance made by Luke Shaw.
Inswinging corner taken left-footed by Robert Snodgrass from the right by-line to the near post, Morgan Schneiderlin makes a clearance.
Foul by Jason Puncheon on Wesley Hoolahan, free kick awarded. Robert Snodgrass crosses the ball from the free kick left-footed from left wing, clearance by Morgan Schneiderlin.
Jason Puncheon takes a shot. Sebastien Bassong gets a block in.
The assistant referee signals for offside against Grant Holt. Indirect free kick taken by Jose Fonte.
The offside flag is raised against Robert Snodgrass. Jose Fonte takes the indirect free kick.
Inswinging corner taken left-footed by Gaston Ramirez from the right by-line, save by Mark Bunn.
Robert Snodgrass takes a shot. Save by Paulo Gazzaniga.
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