Norwich 2-1 Sunderland

By Alistair MagowanBBC Sport
Norwich's Leon Barnett
Leon Barnett put Norwich ahead from a well-worked goal on 31 minutes

Norwich beat a lacklustre Sunderland to earn their first home win this season.

The hosts took the lead on 31 minutes with a well-worked goal which ended with Leon Barnett netting from Elliott Bennett's cross.

Nicklas Bendtner had a shot saved soon after, but just after the break Steve Morison doubled the lead when he headed in following Marc Tierney's centre.

Sunderland woke up after the hour but Norwich held on despite Kieran Richardson's long-range goal.

The visitors did have chances to make an earlier breakthrough following Norwich's second goal, but Canaries keeper John Ruddy saved efforts by Bendtner and substitute Connor Wickham.

Both teams had recorded their first Premier League wins of the season prior to this fixture.

But Steve Bruce's side took little momentum from their 4-0 victory over Stoke and the display will leave the Black Cats boss scratching his head as they failed to show any sustained pressure until the final third of the game.

Richardson's 86th-minute goal made for a nervous end to the match for Paul Lambert's side, particularly as substitute James Vaughan had to leave the field, meaning that Norwich went down to 10 men, having used all their replacements.

But overall they were worthy winners and the decision to stick with an unchanged team following their win at Bolton was vindicated as they moved to ninth in the Premier League table.

Sunderland did not exactly make the most positive of starts with keeper Simon Mignolet gifting Norwich an early opportunity by rushing from his goal to intercept a pass. Fortunately for him, Wes Hoolahan could not direct his lob on target.

Bruce bemoans 'too many errors'

In an opening half where neither side were able to take a firm grip on the game, Sunderland did have the majority of the possession though they were limited to long-range efforts.

Bendtner drew a good save from John Ruddy when he shot left-footed from just inside the area on 26 minutes and the Dane was Sunderland's most promising player.

Yet while his team-mates laboured, there was a danger Norwich could capitalise, although when the opener came it was from an unlikely source.

Once a free-kick was cleared, Bennett played a neat one-two with David Fox on the right and his cross found Barnett unmarked six yards out for the centre-back's first goal of the season.

Last season's top scorer Grant Holt was again omitted from the starting line-up and Lambert would have been cheered when his replacement, Morison, put the Canaries further ahead just after the break.

Lambert joy at start to season

Russell Martin burst into the Sunderland half and laid the ball off to Tierney, whose cross was met with a thumping header by the Wales striker.

Up to that point Steve Bruce's team had made little impression but they were almost given a lifeline when Bradley Johnson failed to clear a throw-in but Ruddy made a great save to deflect Bendtner's angled shot.

And after being booed by the home fans for his Ipswich connections, Wickham almost made an instant impact but his header was straight at Ruddy from six yards out.

The Norwich keeper could do little about Richardson's well-struck drive but he and his defence were resolute enough to sustain Sunderland's late rally.

And they will be heartened to record back-to-back wins ahead of a tricky trip to Old Trafford to face Manchester United on Saturday.

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