SUNDERLAND suffered their first away defeat of the season at Carrow Road last night after a sloppy display by Steve Bruce's men.
A Kieran Richardson goal four minutes from time gave the Black Cats hope. They took even more encouragement when Norwich City were then reduced to ten men.
With all three substitutes on, James Vaughan limped off under a heavy challenge from Sunderland’s captain for the night, John O’Shea.
Despite that, however, Steve Bruce’s men were unable to claim an equaliser from a frantic five minutes of stoppage time littered with mistakes on both sides.
In truth, a 2-1 defeat flattered sloppy Sunderland more than the newly-promoted Canaries, who came into the game without a home win in 2011-12.
Norwich had taken the lead through defender Leon Barnett, allowed to tap home Elliott Bennett’s cross in a shocking amount of space in the six-yard box.
The hosts doubled their lead three minutes after the interval when striker Steve Morison climbed above Wes Brown to head in an Anthony Pilkington cross.
Norwich had much the better of the game, with Sunderland dreadful in possession and looking extremely nervous for a team who eight days earlier had recorded their first win of the campaign, 4-0 at home to Stoke City.
Nicklas Bendtner impressed for Sunderland, and there were occasional flashes from David Vaughan and Stephane Sessegnon.
But generally it was a terribly below-par performance from a Black Cats side who have taken five points from their opening six league games of the season, and were knocked out of the League Cup by Championship side Brighton and Hove Albion.
Sunderland’s next match is at home to West Bromwich Albion on Saturday.