Sunderland vs. Norwich: Final score 1-1, Black Cats fail to get past ten-man Canaries

Michael Regan

Norwich were reduced to ten men for much of their game against Sunderland, but still hung on for a point and could have won the game had they not been denied a clear penalty.

Norwich City will feel rightly aggrieved at the referee after they held on with ten men to earn a point at Sunderland, a result that leaves the Black Cats right in the thick of the relegation battle.

More from our team blogs: Sunderland blog Roker Report

The Canaries took the lead after making an uncharacteristically strong start away from home, with Kei Kamara's goalbound header from a corner being headed on by Wes Hoolahan, who made sure or shamelessly stole the credit for the goal, depending on your personal view.

Sunderland had gotten off to a sluggish start and the prospect of a disastrous home defeat seemed very real, but Norwich then made a terrible pair of errors -- Michael Turner's header back to his own net lacked power, and Sunderland pounced, with Danny Graham being played through before Mark Bunn charged out of his area to deny the opportunity with his elbow. A clear red for the keeper, and Norwich were suddenly left with ten men on the field.

Hoolahan was withdrawn for substitute goalkeeper Lee Camp, and although Sunderland hardly put Norwich under siege, it was not long until they found their equaliser. Sebastian Bassong was harshly ruled to have handled the ball after he controlled it on his chest in the area and it rolled onto his arm, and a penalty was awarded to the hosts, which Craig Gardner smashed into the top corner to put his side back in the game.

Camp had two good saves to make as Sunderland searched for another goal, as he was alert to keep out long-range efforts from Sebastian Larsson and Stephane Sessegnon. After half-time, long-range shooting continued to be the blueprint for the hosts as Norwich's deep defending frustrated them, but Craig Gardner could do no better from range.

After already having fallen foul of a poor refereeing decision once, Norwich suffered the same again. Danny Rose clearly handballed in the area for Sunderland in defending Russell Martin's cross, but the referee waved play on despite the furious protests of the visitors.

Grant Holt was introduced as Norwich sensed the possibility of a winner, but gave a poor performance all round, notably when a terrible touch led to him spurning a good opportunity as Simon Mignolet came out to smother the ball, before the big striker clumsily fouled him in the follow-up, earning a yellow card for his trouble.

Sunderland continued to attack but despite their numerical advantage, could not force enough pressure on Norwich's goal. Stephane Sessegnon had the best opportunity in the dying minutes after getting on the end of Craig Gardner's cross, but his effort was poor and the chance was wasted.

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