Norwich City earned their first win of the new season with a tightly contested 1-0 victory against a very good Sunderland side. Unlike the rest of the 3:00 pm slate, this match was reasonably entertaining, with both teams playing well and good chances at both ends.
The first half was marked most heavily by a pair of penalty appeals, one of which was much stronger than the other. Southampton should certainly have had a spot kick when Bradley Johnson slapped Adam Lallana's shot out of the air, although the hosts were looking for one as well when Ricky van Wolfswinkel's header caught Callum Chambers in the arm, an altogether less convincing shout.
There were other chances as well. Artur Boruc had to be at his best to keep out a point-blank shot from Leroy Fer, who'd collected van Wolfswinkel's knockdown and looked certain to score. At the other end of the pitch, Lallana nearly snapped the post in half following a partially cleared free kick.
But despite the action, nobody scored until well into the second half, when Nathan Redmond collected the ball on the Norwich left, cut inside James Ward-Prouse and unleashed a rocket that beat Boruc inside his near post. That it was the Canaries who took the lead was a bit of a surprise; Southampton had looked the stronger side following the break, and after going behind they pushed forward even harder in search of the equaliser.
Their last, best chance came when Fer fouled Jay Rodriguez 35 yards out with five minutes to go. Rickie Lambert stepped, stared down John Ruddy and ... fired straight into the wall. It was their last, best chance, and the hosts' victory was sealed.
Norwich City (4-4-1-1): John Ruddy; Javier Garrido, Sebastien Bassong, Michael Turner, Steven Whittaker; Nathan Redmond, Bradley Johnson, Leroy Fer, Robert Snodgrass; Johan Elmander (Jonathan Howson, 76'); Ricky van Wolfswinkel.
Goals: Redmond, 68'
Southampton (4-2-3-1): Artur Boruc; Daniel Fox; Dejan Lovren, Jose Fonte, Callum Chambers; Victor Wanyama, Morgan Schneiderlin (Stephen Davis, 72'); Adam Lallana (Gaston Ramirez, 62'), Pablo Osvaldo (Jay Rodriguez, 78'), James Ward-Prowse; Rickie Lambert.