Norwich City began to look very much at home in the Premier League as they produced a polished display to chalk up their second successive victory – though they had to endure a nervous finale at Carrow Road.

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Defender Leon Barnett’s first goal of the season and striker Steve Morison’s first for the club gave them a two-goal cushion inside 48 minutes as they turned on the style against Sunderland for another packed house and the TV cameras.

Barnett’s first goal for 10 months came after 31 minutes when he finished off a slick move involving David Fox and Elliott Bennett.

Morison headed the second three minutes after the break from a cross by Marc Tierney, thanks largely to a surging run by Russell Martin.

There was a tense ending to proceedings, however, when Kieran Richardson reduced the arrears four minutes from time and City were left to play out stoppage time with 10 men after substitute James Vaughan hobbled off with what looked like a knee injury, just 12 minutes after coming on.

Both sides were unchanged after registering their first victories of the season, with manager Paul Lambert fielding the same eleven who started the 2-1 victory at Bolton nine days earlier, and ex-Canary Steve Bruce sticking to the same formula that brought Sunderland a 4-0 home win over Stoke.

The Canaries wasted no time getting on the front foot and in only the third minute, Morison’s determination gave him the first shooting opportunity of the night as he outmuscled Wes Brown and struck a low drive that goalkeeper Simon Mignolet smothered as he dived to his left.

Two minutes later, Wes Hoolahan might have given City the lead when Leon Barnett’s long ball cleared Morison and Brown and left him in the clear, but his lob cleared both the ’keeper and the bar.

It was a bright start by City and Mignolet, who betrayed early nerves with a badly sliced kick, twice had to cut out crosses from Anthony Pilkington.

A neat interchange between Kyle Naughton and Elliott Bennett led to the full-back’s cross being cleared for City’s third corner, but Nicklas Bendtner was back to clear it.

With 21 minutes gone, Bendtner carved an opening at the other end for Craig Gardner, but the midfielder blazed his shot over the top, and moments later Stephane Sessegnon was equally wayward when he fired well wide.

Sunderland produced their best effort so far on 25 minutes when Sessegnon set up Bendtner for a smart volley on the turn that John Ruddy dived to his right to keep out.

Pilkington forced another corner with a jinking run after good work by David Fox and Morison and though Fox’s corner failed to clear the first man, City stayed on the offensive and moved ahead in the 31st minute.

Bennett played a one-two with Fox and crossed low towards the six-yard box, where centre-back Barnett arrived unmarked to sidefoot home.

With Mignolet not inspiring too much confidence, Sunderland looked nervous at the back and Brown was lucky to escape a yellow card for a trip on Hoolahan that earned him a word from referee Foy.

A mistake by Brown handed Hoolahan an opening in the final minute of the half but his shot deflected wide off Titus Bramble.

• Half-time: Norwich City 1, Sunderland 0

Within three minutes of the restart, City stretched their lead with a superbly-worked goal, Morison scoring his first for the club.

Russell Martin was the architect with a storming run forward after he collected Bradley Johnson’s pass inside his own half, and he slipped the perfect pass to the overlapping Marc Tierney, who floated an inviting cross into the six-yard box for Morison to head home.

Bennett whistled a powerful shot wide as City grew in confidence and an appreciative home crowd pumped up the volume.

A misplaced pass by Sebastian Larsson provided Morison with the chance to add to his tally but as he sprinted away and homed in on goal, Bramble did just enough to halt his progress.

A miskick by Johnson almost enabled Bendtner to reduce the arrears after 63 minutes, but the former Arsenal man somehow squeezed his shot across the face of the goal.

As City broke through Russell Martin once again, he sent Bennett clear on the left and the winger’s shot was beaten away by Mignolet, but Martin’s follow-up cross just eluded Morison.

Former Ipswich man Connor Wickham was introduced as part of a double substitution midway through the second half and had an immediate chance to reduced the arrears but headed straight at Ruddy from Elmohamady’s cross.

Sunderland suddenly looked more urgent and Ruddy had to dive low to his left to foil David Vaughan after substitute Ji-Dong Won broke down the left.

Lambert made a double change with 12 minutes left when Pilkington and Morison made way for James Vaughan and skipper Grant Holt, the two players leaving to a standing ovation.

Andrew Crofts replaced Bennett with six minutes left and Vaughan, keen to make an impact, whistled a 20-yard shot wide.

With four minutes left, however, City were facing a nervous finish when Kieran Richardson reduced the arrears with a powerful drive from the left-hand corner of the penalty area that may have brushed Barnett’s toe on the way past Ruddy.

The sight of Vaughan hobbling, clutching his left knee, then sitting on the turf in need of attention, was a major worry for City in the closing minutes – and he had to be helped off after treatment, leaving City with 10 men for five minutes of added time.

Meanwhile, John O’Shea was booked for a high challenge on Tierney.

Barnett conceded a needless corner with a stray backpass and Ruddy was booked for holding on to the ball as Sunderland tried to take it quickly. Naughton followed the keeper into the book as the seconds ticked away, but when Ruddy made a vital grab from the onrushing Ji, City were home and dry.

• Result: Norwich City 2, Sunderland 1

• Norwich City: Ruddy; Naughton, Barnett, Russell Martin, Tierney; Bennett (Crofts, 84), Fox, Bradley Johnson, Pilkington (Vaughan,78); Hoolahan; Morison (Holt, 78). Subs (not used): Rudd, DeLaet, Surman, Chris Martin.

• Sunderland: Mignolet; O’Shea, Brown, Bramble, Richardson; Elmohamady,Gardner, Vaughan, Larsson (Ji, 68); Sessegnon (Wickham, 68); Bendtner. Subs (not used) Westwood, Turner, Cattermole, Colback, McClean.

• Referee: Chris Foy (Merseyside)

• Attendance: 26,107

• Goals: Norwich: Barnett (31), Morison (48). Sunderland: Richardson (86)

• Bookings: Norwich: Ruddy (time-wasting, 90), Naughton (time-wasting, 90). Sunderland: O’Shea (foul on Tierney, 89)

20 comments

  • I'm in no position to dare to criticise PL after 2 great wins, but if Holt had replaced Morison and we'd used a more defensive sub for Bennett in de Laet, poor James Vaughan wouldn't have got injured. You could tell from his reaction how upsetannoyed he was at getting injured again.

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    richard1

    Tuesday, September 27, 2011

  • Does anyone know were Rioch is no plying his trade? As for last nights performance it should just how far Norwich have come in two years under PL. I was amazed to learn that just two years ago Norwich were 14th in league one after our 1-1 draw at Gillingham - whos goal was scored by a certain Simone Jackson. Now Norwich are 9th in the premier league and have the services of that certain Simone Jackson. Keep it up lads O.T.B.C

    Report this comment

    capital-canary

    Tuesday, September 27, 2011

  • Rioch last spotted taking coaching sessions at Falmouth Town, near where he lives. 2010. Any more recent sightings?

    Report this comment

    Mad Brewer

    Wednesday, September 28, 2011

  • Great 3 pts! So pleased to see Morison score, should boost his confidence no end. Anyone who still wants Holt to start must be mad. Russel Martin is a revalation at centre back too! Vaughan's injury looks bad - chance for Jackson off the bench?

    Report this comment

    canarydownunder

    Tuesday, September 27, 2011

  • As football fans we naturally question team selections and managerial decisions. However, I ask myself why am I doing that with Lambert?? I ask myself this with Ruddy in mind as I was one who felt that we might need another keeper. The Brewer is right, he is growing into the role and I was gutted for him that he didn't get the clean sheet he deserved last night. As for Martin, always liked him, but never knew he could play centre back as well as that. Plus, how many centre backs in the PL can bring the ball out of defence the way he did for our second??

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    Preston Canary

    Tuesday, September 27, 2011

  • Hi Preston Canary. Russell Martin has learned his Trade the old-fashioned way by applying effort and hard work to his talent. He has played just about everywhere in his career in the "lower leagues":- LB, RB, CB, Midfield. A proper professional footballer. Anachronism maybe, but that`s good. Lambert seems to recognise them, get them and nurture them. We Norwich fans are so blessed just now. Think "Roeder, Gunn" etc. A World apart. OTBC.

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    Mad Brewer

    Tuesday, September 27, 2011

  • capitalcanary, I don`t know how Simeon will take to becoming a Simone! With the sad injury to Vaughan, Jackson is the only pacy alternative we have. If he doesn`t gettake his chance now, he never will. I suppose Bennett could be used in that role, though. No doubt PL`s on the case. Yes, where is Rioch now I wonder?

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    Mad Brewer

    Wednesday, September 28, 2011

  • Yes, Timbo that Wickham has a unique heading technique. Involves missing it with his head and using his shoulder instead. Where could he have picked up such bad methods I wonder? Having said that, the otherwise admirable Johnson did an awful airshot and Barnett`s back-pass was nearly as funny as Wickham. Methinks Sunderland have been connored. My choice for MoM is Russell Martin. Just about faultless in defence and looked mighty powerful coming forward. They all played very well-including Ruddy. He`s getting better all the time. OTBC.

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    Mad Brewer

    Tuesday, September 27, 2011

  • I thought it was a very composed performance generally. I was a bit worried when we tried to shoot ourselves in the foot in the second half with that defensive blunder. Hopefully we are starting to really settle in to this league. OTBC

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    Preston Canary

    Tuesday, September 27, 2011

  • What No Ged Steroo !! Probably planning his routes to League one Grounds next year Ha ! Ha!

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    yellows9blues2

    Tuesday, September 27, 2011

  • Good performance. Like Canarydownunder I was very impressed with Russell Martin. Looks made for the centre back role and a surprise package coming forward, too. Great shame about James Vaughan. If PL wants a pacy alternative there is now only Simeon Jackson. Will he get a chance? Is he good enough? Long way to go but we`re going in the right direction at a fair old lick. I was at Carrow Road when we achieved a scoreline of 1-7 against the mighty Colchester (complete with David Fox and Marc Tierney-I wonder where those two are now?). OTBC.

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    Mad Brewer

    Tuesday, September 27, 2011

  • A vital 3 points indeed. A good result even if it was a totally unconvincing performance against possibly the worst team I have ever seen at Carrow Road. We really need to be putting these awful teams to the sword and not desperately hanging on for the points at the end. With the injuries mounting up I think our paper thin squad will come back to haunt us later in the season, unfortunately we won't be playing teams as poor as Sunderland every week. We've done well to scrape a mid table position, but given our easy start to the season I doubt it'll be enough in the long run. We need to improve and improve quickly.

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    Ged Steroo

    Tuesday, September 27, 2011

  • Wot no pen?,,,,ha ha. Great result. Love it that we have a manager that celebrates a goal, rather than the likes of old Rafa Benitez that very rarely showed any reaction. All in it together; the players, the manager & the crowd.

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    Meds

    Monday, September 26, 2011

  • I should think Simeon would be feeling a bit cut up if he's now Simone!

    Report this comment

    The Crab

    Saturday, October 1, 2011

  • Pundits make you sick keep saying Sunderland under par and Bolton. No suggestion that Norwich are playing very well. Was really pleased with the performance last night, team worked their socks off and look comfortable and can stay in the Prem provided they don't get too many injuries or we have players pinched off us in the January transfere window. A pleasure to come and watch. Come on you yellows.

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    goldie

    Tuesday, September 27, 2011

  • Sunderland definitely NOT the worst team ever seen at Carrow Road. That "Honour" belongs to a village team near the Orwellian Stream. Of course, one of The Makem`s worst players was nurtured there. Wickham Marketed out of the game. Worst header of the ball ever seen. An £8 million Debachle.

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    Mad Brewer

    Tuesday, September 27, 2011

  • Great 3 points, was a little worried at points when we dropped off and let them shoot to easily, but when we pressed looked like a real prem quality team. Morison looked good today, really threatened in behind as well as aerially. easy 3 on sat as well

    Report this comment

    anonamouse

    Tuesday, September 27, 2011

  • United seem to have been hit by injuries at the moement, were thugged over by Stoke at the weekend and have my home team, Basel, to deal with tonight who also have a tendency to dish it out and are having a below average season at present. Though MU have been almost unstoppable this season, they are due a blip, we can only hope that Saturday is the day for it. There is a lot of talk about Sunderalnd and Bolton being "poor" but one reason is that our midfield has established control of the park and made them look poor. OTBC

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    Swiss Canary

    Tuesday, September 27, 2011

  • I've instructed a "no win no fee solicitor" to sue Wickham for damages after I fell off a chair laughing @ him. I think Sunderland have just made a very expensive mistake with that signing !

    Report this comment

    Timbo

    Tuesday, September 27, 2011

  • No Ged Dont think Sunderland were even close to being as bad as your Boys now were they ? Mind you it will be a long long time before we see them at Carrow road again , Shut up and plan for life in League one !! OTBC

    Report this comment

    yellows9blues2

    Tuesday, September 27, 2011

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