Sunderland 1 Norwich City 3
PUBLISHED: 16:53 15 August 2015 | UPDATED: 12:41 16 August 2015
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Norwich City powered to an impressive 3-1 Premier League win at Sunderland to continue Alex Neil’s flawless away record since taking charge of the Canaries.
Russell Martin, Steven Whittaker and Nathan Redmond sunk the Black Cats for a slick visiting outfit, who remain unbeaten on the road since Neil’s arrival in January.
Martin bundled home from close range after Costel Pantilimon spilled Robbie Brady’s shot before Whittaker finished a flowing team move prior to the interval.
Redmond then slotted a cool third in the 57th minute to spark a furious reaction from the Wearside public, already angry at the manner of Sunderland’s opening weekend 4-2 defeat at Leicester. Duncan Watmore did beat John Ruddy in the 88th minute from 14 yards, but large swathes of the home support had long since departed the Stadium of Light.
Neil made two changes to the starting line up that lost 3-1 against Crystal Palace. Redmond and Cameron Jerome were both restored after their impressive second half cameos at home to the Eagles. Redmond replaced Bradley Johnson with Jerome preferred to Lewis Grabban. The duo were joined on the bench by Gary Hooper and Liverpool loan signing Andre Wisdom but there was no place again for Ricky van Wolfswinkel in the matchday squad.
Sunderland boss Dick Advocaat reacted to the Black Cats’ Leicester loss by recalling Steven Fletcher to partner Jermain Defoe.
Brady underlined City’s spirit of adventure with an early raid down the left but Younes Kaboul at full stretch cut out his near post cross.
Seb Bassong picked up an early yellow card for scything down Jeremain Lens but Brady headed Seb Larsson’s free kick away before the Swede’s follow up forced a corner.
Referee Friend then evened up the crime count with Lens booked for a similar lunge on Wes Hoolahan. The Dubliner’s Republic of Ireland international continued to provide attacking assistance with a swinging shot that flew over in the 12th minute.
Martin thwarted Lens after new boy Yann M’Vila’s diving header in central midfield threatened to cut City open.
Redmond robbed Patrick Van Aanholtbut Hoolahan’s flick for Graham Dorrans was cleared at the expense of a corner.
Jerome earned a free kick in the 20th minute a yard outside the home penalty area after Kaboul rashly tried to clear the ball only to kick through the striker – but Brady struck the Sunderland wall.
Jonny Howson’s first time flick was comfortably gathered by Pantilimon but again there was plenty of encouragement for the Canaries down their left flank.
Captain Martin berated Hoolahan when the Irishman was easily dispossessed 10 yards outside his own area but Sunderland were unable to fashion a chance.
Pantilimon brilliantly denied Howson with a parry to keep out his low, one-handed goalbound strike but from a quick corner routine the keeper could only spill Brady’s shot at the feet of Martin who bundled home from inside the six yard box.
Lens tried to reply with a 25-yard shot that Ruddy was able to watch past his right-hand post. Redmond was then crudely upended by Sebastian Coates but the midfielder’s long range free kick hit the Sunderland wall.
City doubled their lead in the 37th minute with a brilliantly incisive move. Whittaker rifled a low angled finish beyond Pantilimon from seven yards after collecting Hoolahan’s cheeky backheel following a sharp switch of play involving Redmond and Brady.
Advocaat responded at the interval with Danny Graham replacing Larsson to bolster the Black Cats’ frontline.
Lens drilled at Ruddy shortly after the restart with Tettey slow to sense the danger before the Norwegian international was the second Norwich player booked for clipping Defoe.
Ruddy denied Graham in the 52nd minute with a smothering close range stop but the assistant had already flagged for offside.
Kaboul then shrugged off the attentions of Bassong but miscued his header from six yards. Redmond crashed a third home in the 57th minute after the midfielder was left unmarked at a throw-in to exchanges passes with Hoolahan again before a low finish that beat Pantilimon at his near post.
Neil withdrew the Irishman shortly afterwards for the more solid presence of Johnson with Norwich in total control on Wearside.
Jerome pulled a first time strike wide from Redmond’s rolled pass with the visitors now toying with Sunderland. Grabban was introduced for his fellow striker ahead of the final quarter to offer a fresh injection of energy and drive up top.
Johnson’s defensive instincts were required after Brady rashly tried to rush Billy Jones, who was allowed to race unchecked into the Norwich area.
The powerful midfielder was able to rumble forward at the opposite end, but his left-footed strike from 25 yards struck Kaboul as City probed for an improbable fourth in the closing stages.
But it was Sunderland who grabbed the slimmest of consolations two minutes from the end when Watmore stabbed a bouncing effort past Ruddy from 14 yards.
• Sunderland: Pantilimon, Jones, Kaboul, Coates, van Aanholt, Cattermole, Larsson (Graham 45), M’Vila, Defoe, Lens, Fletcher (Watmore 70). Subs (not used): Mannone, Bridcutt, Rodwell, Matthews, O’Shea.
• Booking: Lens (foul on Hoolahan, 8)
• Goal: Watmore (88)
• Norwich City: Ruddy, Whittaker, Martin, Bassong, Brady, Redmond (O’Neil 83), Tettey, Dorrans, Howson, Hoolahan (Johnson 62), Jerome (Grabban 68). Subs (not used): Rudd, Wisdom, Hooper, R Bennett.
• Bookings: Bassong (foul on Lens, 6); Tettey (foul on Defoe, 48)
• Goals: Martin (26), Whittaker (37), Redmond (57)
• Added on time: 3 minutes / 3 minutes
• Referee: Kevin Friend (Leics)
• Attendance: 41,379