Sunderland 1, Norwich City 0
Sunderland gained revenge for their defeat at Carrow Road four weeks ago with a second half winner from Daryl Murphy this afternoon. Murphy struck 15 minutes from time with an excellent left-foot shot from the edge of the area.
Sunderland gained revenge for their defeat at Carrow Road four weeks ago with a second half winner from Daryl Murphy this afternoon.
Murphy struck 15 minutes from time with an excellent left-foot shot from the edge of the area.
It was a game of few clear-cut chances with City keeper Lee Camp producing an excellent first half save from Sunderland skipper Steven Caldwell, and Robert Earnshaw producing the only effort on target for the Canaries just before Sunderland broke the deadlock.
Norwich lost midfielder Carl Robinson in the second half with a knock above the eye.
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It was a disappointing afternoon for City's travelling fans, who had been hoping they would follow up their midweek win over Leicester with another victory, but they seldom threatened to deliver it.
There was good news for City manager Peter Grant when three of his doubtful starters were passed fit for today's match.
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Midfield pair Dickson Etuhu (foot injury) and Carl Robinson (calf) plus skipper Adam Drury (back) all recovered to take their place in the starting line-up.
Grant made just one change to the 11 who started the 3-1 victory over Leicester in midweek, with Youssef Safri retained after coming on as an early substitute on Tuesday.
Striker Peter Thorne was back on the bench and goalkeeper Lee Camp was making his second appearance, with his loan period from Derby set to expire after next week's game against Sheffield Wednesday.
Sunderland boss Roy Keane made two changes to the team that won 2-1 at Queen's Park Rangers in midweek.
Lewin Nyatanga and Dean Whitehead returned in place of Nyron Nosworthy and the suspended Stanislav Varga.
Robinson, who scored the winning goal for Sunderland the last time the two sides met on this ground, was given a warm reception from the home fans, while in goal for Sunderland was Darren Ward, who left City in the summer after two seasons at Carrow Road.
Murphy produced the first shot of the afternoon when he cut in from the right and his left-foot effort was saved by Camp.
There was then a delay of over a minute while Wallace was treated after a challenge by Robinson but play restarted with a drop ball, so it was not deemed to be a foul.
A slip by Dublin almost had Norwich in trouble in the third minute, but Shackell was on hand to stop Murphy taking advantage.
Referee Joslin produced the first yellow card after just five minutes when Miller was guilty of a bad challenge from behind on Huckerby.
A foul on Earnshaw on the edge of the Sunderland area handed City a free-kick. Robinson's kick was easily headed clear but City pressed again and won a corner on the left.
Robinson took the flag-kick but it was an easy catch for Ward.
A foul by Wallace on Robinson gave City another free-kick and this time Safri's cross was volleyed away by Kavanagh, another wasted opportunity for the visitors.
Sunderland then spoiled a promising break when a poor cross from Wallace fell into no-man's-land.
As the home team pushed forward again, a moment's hesitation from Colin that could have proved costly and this time it was Dublin who atoned for his earlier error by making a vital clearance.
There was a narrow escape after 15 minutes when Wallace this time delivered what looked like the perfect cross to the far post, which eluded Camp, but Murphy, who seemed well-placed to get in a header, let it run past him and out of play.
At the other end Etuhu got in a header from a Dublin free-kick but there was no yellow shirt in the right place to take advantage.
Shackell was in the right place to head clear from another Wallace centre as Sunderland began to look a little more urgent. Then Camp came out confidently to claim yet another Wallace cross.
It was a blustery afternoon, as illustrated by one clearance from Ward, which caught in the wind, but Earnshaw was unable to control the dropping ball.
In the 23rd minute, Sunderland went the closest yet to opening the scoring when Caldwell met a free-kick from Kavanagh with a glancing header, which Camp did well to keep out, diving to his left to save with one hand before Drury cleared for a corner.
A Drury free-kick into the Sunderland area was intended for Dublin but Hughes was penalised for pushing.
City lost possession from their own throw-in by the left corner flag and Shackell, who had won some important headers, had to do so again when Wallace floated the ball towards the penalty spot. He was there again and appeared to take a bang on the head in clearing a Whitehead centre after Elliott had intercepted a Dublin clearance.
Elliott was involved again a minute later but his left-foot shot from just outside the box was easily gathered by Camp.
Elliott might have done better when the hosts threatened again, his cross towards the six-yard box proving far too strong.
City had been tidy enough up to now but with half an hour gone they had yet to produce a genuine shot at goal.
At last they did deliver an attempt on goal after 34 minutes, but Earnshaw hooked his left-foot shot over the bar after Safri had won an important challenge and set up the attack.
A neat passing move involving Drury, Huckerby and Hughes looked promising for Norwich but Robinson's centre was easily cut out by Ward at the near post.
Sunderland fans had already summed up their thoughts on the first half and with seven or eight minutes to go to the break, many of them were already making for the exits for their half-time refreshments.
Safri was in the right place to stop a potentially dangerous run from Elliott and then, when Elliott gained possession again, his centre was headed clear buy Shackell.
The stadium was deathly quiet as the interval approached and the fourth official showed that there would be two extra minutes for the home crowd to endure.
The referee lectured Earnshaw when he tried to prevent Ward taking a drop kick but that was the last action of the half.
t Half-time: Sunderland 0, Norwich City 0
One of the biggest cheers of the afternoon came during the interval when Durham cricketer and Sunderland fan Paul Collingwood was congratulated, albeit from a great distance, on his double century for England against Australia earlier in the day.
The home side won the first corner of the second period but the kick from Wallace was easily headed clear by his opposite No. 33, Robinson.
Shackell made another timely challenge to halt Miller's progress, but at the expense of another corner.
Kavanagh's flag-kick was met with a deft flick by Murphy but Camp was alert enough to grab it by the near post.
A huge up-and-under by Etuhu gave Caldwell problems as he twice tried to head clear but as the ball fell for Hughes, his cross to the edge of the area fell behind Earnshaw and Huckerby and Sunderland were able to clear their lines.
City had a rare opportunity 10 minutes into the half when Colin was fouled by Wallace, but the free-kick by Robinson was a poor one and Sunderland were able to break. When they did, Murphy probably should have done better than fire a left-foot shot into the side netting with two or three team mates in better positions in the penalty area.
Elliott was also off target when he intercepted a stray pass after hesitation by Shackell and strode forward but his right-foot drive was sliced well-wide of Camp's left-hand post.
There were appeals for a penalty on the hour when Hughes crossed from the right and Huckerby went down under challenge from Elliott, but the referee was unimpressed.
Hughes was soon helping out at the other end with a timely header back to Camp after a long ball had dropped behind Colin.
As Sunderland swept forward again, Leadbitter sent a screaming right-foot shot over the bar from 25-yards.
There was a scare for the Canaries after 63 minutes when Robinson, left in trouble by a short ball from Safri, tangled with Caldwell.
Robinson fell flat on his back and was surrounded by concerned colleagues as City physio Reynolds rushed out.
It became apparent that Robinson had taken a bang close to the eye and there was blood on his shirt as he got to his feet and was led off the field by the physio.
With City down to 10 men, Etuhu distinguished himself with a couple of very important clearances from his own penalty area.
After a couple of minutes, Robinson was back on the field, seemingly none the worse for the knock.
With less than 20 minutes left it was a fairly scrappy contest and the home crowd were becoming increasingly impatient with their team's efforts.
There was a brief ripple of applause when Wallace sent a left-foot drive over the top after a corner was headed clear into his path.
Sunderland made their first change with 16 minutes left when the veteran Yorke replaced Leadbitter.
City produced their first shot on target with 15 minute to go when Earnshaw struck a sizzling right-footer which Ward grabbed above his head but as Sunderland counter-attacked they got the goal their frustrated fans had been hoping for.
It was a superb effort from Murphy who, on the edge of the area with his back to goal and Shackell behind him, swivelled to fire a low, left-foot shot just inside the post.
Before City kicked off, Eagle was sent on in place of Robinson.
Grant made a second change with 10 minutes left when Thorne replaced Safri, who had had rather a quiet game.
Norwich stepped up their efforts in search of an equaliser and Huckerby burst clear, with the home side waiting for the offside flag, but his cross, intended for Earnshaw, was cut out by Miller.
Eagle took two corners in quick succession but Sunderland were able to deal with them before another Eagle centre tested Ward. As the keeper jumped to gather it, he was fouled by Shackell and the City defender earned a yellow card for the challenge.
Sunderland made another change with five minutes left when Hysen was sent on in place of Wallace.
Drury was shown the yellow card two minutes from time when he was slightly late with a challenge on Miller.
Shackell made a timely tackle on Yorke as Sunderland looked for a second goal and then Elliott was off target as the match headed into four minutes of added time.
In the dying seconds, Shackell, one of City's better performers sent a left-foot shot just over the bar.
t Result: Sunderland 1, Norwich City 0
t Sunderland: Ward, Whitehead, Caldwell, Collins, Nyatanga, Stephen Elliott, Miller, Kavanagh, Leadbitter, Wallace, Murphy.
Subs: Fulop, Hysen (for Wallace, 84), Robbie Elliott, Connolly, Yorke (for Leadbitter, 74)
t Norwich: Camp, Colin, Shackell, Dublin, Drury, Hughes, Etuhu, Safri, Robinson, Huckerby, Earnshaw.
Subs: Lewis, Thorne (for Safri, 80), McVeigh, Ryan Jarvis, Eagle (for Robinson, 77).
t Referee: P Joslin (Nottinghamshire)