Norwich City 2
A deserved first Premier League home victory of the season pushed Norwich into the top half of the table. Not that they had to play especially well as Sunderland were toothless, lacked a fighting spirit and are clearly in for a season of struggle.
The Canaries started the game by pushing the Wearsiders back with Steve Morison forcing Simon Mignolet to get down quickly to save. Then when the keeper dashed from his box he was beaten to a loose ball by Wes Hoolahan and fortunate to see the Norwich skipper’s shot clear the empty goal.
It took Sunderland 15 minutes to fashion their first opening but with just John Ruddy to beat midfielder Craig Gardner hit his left shot well over from the edge of the area. The keeper then got down smartly to block a Nicklas Bendtner shot before Paul Lambert’s side took the lead on 32 minutes.
Playing a 1-2 with David Fox to get beyond Kieran Richardson, Elliott Bennett’s cross from the byline left Leon Barnett with the simple task of putting the ball into an empty net. It took Norwich just three minutes into the second period to double their lead when Steve Morison headed a floating Marc Tierney cross powerfully home. The scorer was then denied a chance to add to his tally when only a last ditch Titus Bramble tackle prevented him running clear.
2-0 down Sunderland were given a great chance to get back into the match when Bradley Johnson’s back pass was short but Bendtner hit his shot too close to Ruddy and the ball went out for a corner.
Substitute Connor Wickham might also have done better with an Ahmed Elmohamady cross but his header from five yards out lacked pace and power. Ruddy then saved well from David Vaughan as for the first time Steve Bruce’s side put the home side under pressure.
Five minutes from the end a powerful drive from the corner of the box by Richardson caught Ruddy off-guard to reduce the arrears and after which the home fans endured an anxious few minutes before they were able to celebrate all three points.