Sunderland secured their first win of the new Championship season in style as they ran out 3-1 winners against Norwich at Carrow Road. It’s fair to say few fans would have been totally convinced that we could come away with all the points, however the contingency in attendance in the away end witnessed a classy, committed performance.
We were unchanged from our first league outing last Friday with a decent looking bench (can’t say we’ve had that too often recently). The opening exchanges produced little in the way of clear cut chances with both sides keeping things simple. It was the hosts who made the better start, their new manager Daniel Farke clearly keen to bring his clinical passing game over to Carrow Road after seeing success with Borussia Dortmund’s B side. They had plenty of possession and Cameron Jerome was proving to be a handful for a Sunderland backline which needed a solid performance.
If you ever find yourself looking for a dictionary definition of the term ‘against the run of play’ (I don’t know what you crazy cats do for fun) then the opening goal was exactly that. We’d held our own and didn’t look to push too high, however a James Vaughan knockdown was latched onto from Lewis Grabban and the on-loan Bournemouth forward kept his cool to slot home past Angus Gunn. 1-0 and not really deserved but, whose complaining?
The remainder of the first half continued in the same fashion, Norwich attempting to play neat passing football but being unable to make anything of it. No one was quite sure how, but Sunderland went into the break with the lead.
HT: Norwich City 0-1 SAFC
The second period, probably unsurprisingly, started much the same way the first had ended. Norwich were pressing but on the few occasions they beat Brendan Galloway or Billy Jones out wide their deliveries were dealt with by confidently by Lamine Kone and Tyias Browning. Russell Martin came close to finishing off a move from a corner from the hosts before Sunderland doubled their lead in emphatic fashion on the hour mark. A corner was only half cleared to the edge of the box, Lee Cattermole found Aiden McGeady and the Irishman fired a superb effort into the top corner away from the outstretched Gunn. 2-0 to the visitors.
Just ten minutes later McGeady turned provider as he cut inside past his man for the millionth time and sent a fantastic ball in towards the far post. His delivery evaded everyone in the box and Grabban popped up to head home his second and Sunderland’s third. People couldn’t say we didn’t deserve it, but Norwich were stuttering.
It was hard to see the hosts getting so much as a goal now, but Sunderland seemed intent on keeping the game alive. Lewis Grabban found the back of his own net whilst attempting to clear and suddenly Norwich sensed a chance.
The remaining ten minutes saw Sunderland camped in their own half as Norwich pressed, although other than one or two blocked efforts and a downward header wide from substitute Nelson Oliveira the hosts didn’t trouble us too much.
Sunderland ran out winners and it’s exactly what we deserved after a hard working performance. Is the same again at Sheffield Wednesday too much to ask for?
Final Score: 3-1
ALS Man Of The Match: Simon Grayson
by Patrick Hollis
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