Mar 17, 2013 at 1.30pm UK at ​Stadium of Light
Sunderland
1-1
NorwichNorwich City
Gardner (40' pen.)
Larsson (89')
FT(HT: 1-1)
Hoolahan (26')
Snodgrass (39'), Holt (72'), Camp (90')
Bunn (30')

Live Commentary: Sunderland 1-1 Norwich City - as it happened

Norwich City's goalkeeper Mark Bunn is sent off during his side's Premier League clash with Sunderland on March 17, 2013
© PA Photos
Find out how Sunderland and Norwich City played out a 1-1 draw at the Stadium of Light with Sports Mole's live updates.

Sunderland and Norwich City met at the Stadium of Light this afternoon with both sides in need of the three points to help with their respective fights against relegation.

As it was, the spoils were shared on a controversial afternoon in the North East.

Wes Hoolahan put Norwich in front midway through the first half, but the visitors were reduced to 10 men when goalkeeper Mark Bunn was sent off for handling the ball outside the area.

Craig Gardner then drew the hosts level just before the break from the penalty spot, but the Black Cats were unable to make their numerical advantage count.

You can find out how the match unfolded with our minute-by-minute commentary below.


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12.33pmAfternoon all. Every game has seems to have something riding on it at the moment and this one is no different. While neither are in any immediate relegation trouble, a defeat here - particularly for Sunderland - could make for a nervy ending to the season. It's a fixture that both sides dare not lose.

12.34pmRight, before we talk about the facts and figures surrounding this encounter, the team news is beginning to filter through from the Stadium of Light. Let's start with the hosts...

12.35pmSUNDERLAND XI: Mignolet; Gardner, Rose, O'Shea, Cuellar; Vaughan, Larsson, Johnson, Sessegnon; Fletcher, Graham

12.37pmDespite having Phil Bardsley available, manager Martin O'Neill has opted to start with Craig Gardner at right-back today. Elsewhere, David Vaughan has been included in the middle of midfield, while Danny Graham will continue his search for his first goal for the club alongside leading goalscorer Steven Fletcher up front.

12.38pmAnd now for the visiting Canaries...

12.39pmNORWICH XI: Bunn; R Martin, Bassong, Turner, Garrido; Johnson, Howson, E Bennett, Snodgrass, Hoolahan; Kamara

12.41pmThe big news for Norwich is that captain Grant Holt has been dropped, with January signing Kei Kamara preferred to lead the line by manager Chris Hughton. Jonny Howson has also come into the lineup and will form a three-man central midfield partnership alongside Bradley Johnson and Robert Snodgrass. Also, Michael Turner has been included against his former employers.

12.44pmThe exclusion of Holt from the Norwich lineup is actually a bit of a shock. Rumours were rife a few weeks ago that he had fallen out with his manager. Although it was denied at the time, his stint on the bench today will no doubt see that speculation resurface.

12.46pmTalking of the benches, here is who has been named among the substitutes for both teams. Interestingly, Connor Wickham has been included for Sunderland following his loan stint with Sheffield Wednesday.

SUNDERLAND: Bardsley, N'Diaye, Wickham, Colback, Bramble, McClean, Westwood

NORWICH: Whittaker, Holt, Jackson, Fox, Becchio, R Bennett, Camp



12.50pmIncidentally, Wickham joined Sunderland in 2011 from Norwich's bitter rivals Ipswich Town. How the 19-year-old would love to come off the bench and find the net. During the two side's meeting earlier in the season, he was given plenty of stick by the Norwich faithful because of his connection with Ipswich.

12.54pmAs mentioned in the introduction, both of these clubs really could do with a win today to help ease any lingering relegation fears. It's a particularly big match for Sunderland, because only six points separate them and the relegation places. Having said that, they are not exactly heading into this fixture in the best run of form.

12.58pmSince the turn of the year, the Black Cats have won twice from 11 outings in all competitions. Only won of those wins (a 3-0 success over West Ham United) came at the Stadium of Light. It's hardly the best run of form to be taking into match like this, is it? But hang on - because visiting Norwich are hardly setting the world alight.

1.03pmHughton's men have failed to score in six of their last eight matches. What's more, they have only won once from their 10 most recent outings. Want even more? Well, they have only been able to win away from home once all season. So, in short, neither side is going into this one with much confidence!

1.08pmHaving just scanned Sunderland's remaining fixtures, it makes today's match even more important. After today, O'Neill's side will face Man United at home, before travelling to both Chelsea and rivals Newcastle United. They also have a trip to Tottenham Hotspur to come. That's hardly an ideal run of fixtures when you're struggling.

1.12pmOne player that the Black Cats could do with finding his best form between now and the end of the campaign is Danny Graham. Big things were expected of the striker when he joined from Swansea City in January, but he is yet to find the net. However, in the days leading up to this game, his manager has backed the Englishman to show his true ability soon.

"We said before that we have relied very heavily this season on Steven Fletcher scoring the goals, more so than we should have done," said O'Neill. "We needed some sort of experienced player in there alongside him.

"I thought Danny fitted the bill and I do believe that he will get goals when he gets fully match fit. He'll prove a handful."


1.15pmO'Neill has also been quick to highlight the significance of today's encounter:

"We need to start winning, really. I think next week is a big, big game for us," he told reporters. "We have difficult fixtures coming up, including Norwich. We have our work cut out. We have known that since the start of the season.

"It has been tough going throughout the season and we have to fight through these last nine games."


1.20pmSunderland will also be coming up against familiar face today in Michael Turner. Some supporters of the Black Cats view his three-year stint in North-East as a disappointment, but Turner feels otherwise:

"I had a great first season there, but in my second year I picked up a bad injury. It was a massive setback for me and after that my time there was just completely disrupted by one injury after another," he told The Mirror.

"I played a few good games for them and we had some big wins. But their supporters never saw the best of me. I definitely don't feel I have anything to prove. But hopefully I can show them that I'm a pretty good player."


1.25pmRight then, the players are now in the tunnel. Sunderland skipper John O'Shea is looking particularly relaxed and is joking with referee Chris Foy. Not long now until we are off and running at the Stadium of Light.

1 minGAME ON! Hosting Sunderland, attacking from left to right, get this very important Premier League encounter started.

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4 minIt's been a frantic start to proceedings here at the Stadium of Light, with both sides having won corners. Norwich have perhaps looked the more threatening, but neither goalkeeper has been forced to make a save. On another note, there is a lot of empty seats. A sign of how Sunderland have been playing recently.

7 minSAVE! That's encouraging for Sunderland, as Graham and Steven Fletcher link for the first time. The latter flicks it on for his strike partner, who bursts onto the loose ball. Norwich goalkeeper Mark Bunn is aware though and he races off his line to block the shot from point-blank range.

11 minBradley Johnson doesn't look like he knows what day it is at the moment. Standing in the wall, he bravely blocks Sebastian Larsson's free kick with his face, before losing his balance and hitting the deck. He gets a bloodied nose for his trouble and has been forced off for a minute to receive some treatment.

15 minCHANCE! A second opportunity for the home team as Adam Johnson swings over a corner from the right to the back post. Skipper O'Shea gets above his marker to meet the ball, but the angle is narrow and he can only succeed in sending a headed effort well over the target.

20 minVery little happening at this present moment in time. Both sides look too nervous to over commit in attacking areas. For Sunderland, the movement of Graham and Fletcher has been very good, but they need to get more support forward to help them.

23 minCHANCE! Another sight of goal for the home team, as Stephane Sessegnon finally gets beyond the Sunderland front pair. He bundles his way past Turner, but the ball sits up awkwardly as he goes to shoot from the edge of the area and the attacker scuffs an effort high, wide and not very handsome.

25 minGOAL! Sunderland 0-1 Norwich (Hoolahan)

27 minWith marking like that, you can see why Sunderland are candidates for relegation. Kei Kamara is left totally unmarked as he heads goalwards from eight yards out. The ball is going in, but the pint-sized Wes Hoolahan makes sure with a flicked effort from virtually on the line. The home fans instantly voice their displeasure and who can blame them?

29 minRED CARD! Mark Bunn (Norwich)

32 minChristmas has come early for Sunderland! They've just fallen behind to a disastrous goal and now they have been given a lifeline. It's a poor back header from Turner, which gives Graham a chance. Bunn is quick off his line, but the Sunderland striker gets there first. The ball hits Bunn, who is outside of his area, on the elbow and Chris Foy is quick to issue the red card. Bunn is furious and you can sort of understand where he is coming from. It did strike his elbow, but he knew nothing of it and it was hardly deliberate. That could be a big moment in Sunderland's season.

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34 minSUBSTITUTION: Goalscorer Hoolahan is the unfortunate one as he is hooked to allow back up goalkeeper Lee Camp to come on for Norwich. It's his first appearance since his January switch from Nottingham Forest. His first involvement is to watch a free kick from Craig Gardner whistle inches beyond his post.

37 minPENALTY TO SUNDERLAND!

38 minNorwich are absolutely fuming. First Bunn has been sent off and now they have had penalty awarded against them for handball against Sebastien Bassong. Replays show that the ball struck his upper arm after hitting his chest. Again it is harsh, but you can see why it was given.

39 minGOAL! Sunderland 1-1 Norwich (Gardner, pen)

40 minThere are very few players in the Premier League that are more reliable from 12 yards than Gardner. He wraps his right foot around the ball at the last moment which wrong foots Camp and the ball flies into the top left hand corner of the net, with the Norwich keeper diving right. Game on now and Norwich look up against it.

43 minCHANCE! Graham won't get many better chances to open his goalscoring account for Sunderland. First Camp is called into action to push clear a powerful drive from Larsson. The rebound falls kindly for Graham, but he bounces the ball into the ground and it skids wide of the target with Camp stranded on the floor.

45 minThere will be a minimum of three minutes of stoppage time at the Stadium of Light.

45+2 minA tweet from injured Norwich midfielder Anthony Pilkington, who is not happy!

"Yes it's handball but surely [the Sunderland player] is interfering and has to be offside! Officials must have had a bad Cheltenham Festival! Fuming."


45+3 minHALF-TIME: Sunderland 1-1 Norwich

2.20pmWell, after what was a relatively poor opening 20 minutes or so, this one exploded into life. Unfortunately for Norwich, it all went against them. They have lost their goalkeeper to a red card and went on to concede a penalty, which was duly converted. They will probably be feeling like the world is against them right now.

2.23pmIt's important that Hughton calms his Norwich players down during the next 10 minutes or so. They were clearly angered by the decisions that were made by Chris Foy and his assistant. Their performance suffered as a result and they were quite frankly battered during the remaining minutes of the half. That will need to change after the restart if they are to collect anything from this encounter.

2.27pmFrom a Sunderland point of view, O'Neill will want them to continue how they finished the half. There was much more intensity about their play once Norwich went down to 10 men. The crowd is also back on side following their negative reaction to their team having fallen behind.

2.32pmFormer Manchester United striking duo Andy Cole and Dwight Yorke have just been discussing the two major decisions on Sky Sports News. It seems that the pair believe that Bunn should not have been dismissed, but the penalty was correctly awarded. It's one of those that will probably be talked about for a few days to come.

45 minHere we go then. A depleted Norwich restart the second half.

50 minVery little has happened during the early exchanges, where as expected Sunderland have seen an awful lot of the ball. They seem to be trying to spread the play as much as possible out wide to either Sessegnon or Johnson. The longer that continues, it is likely to tire out the Norwich players.

55 minThe tone has now been set for the remainder of this half. Both of Sunderland's full-backs are constantly camped in Norwich's half as the home team attempt to make the most of their numerical advantage. It looks like a training encounter at the moment - attack vs. defence.

59 minSAVE! Gardner is having a really good game for Sunderland today. His latest effort is from a narrow angle, but it causes problems as it rises towards the target. Camp sticks up a late hand to divert the powerful shot away from goal. It must have hurt the Norwich keeper because it was struck with some force.

63 minOne player that deserves a mention for Norwich is Kamara. He is playing as a lone striker and is getting very little help, but that has not stopped him from working the channels at every opportunity, while also not allowing the Sunderland defenders to have time on the ball. It's a thankless task, but Norwich need him to keep going.

65 minSUBSTITUTION: It's actually proved to be too much for Kamara, who looks shattered after a brilliant shift for his team. On in his place is Grant Holt and he will no doubt look to continue that level of workrate.


68 minFair play to Norwich, because having weathered the early storm in this half, they are now defending relatively high up the pitch. At the same time, they are restricting Sunderland to shots from distance, which Camp has been so far able to deal with. The home team's main problem is that they don't have much pace to trouble the Norwich rearguard.

70 minQuite simply, Chris Foy and his assistants are having a bit of stinker today. Danny Rose has just handled a cross from Russell Martin inside the area, yet a free kick has been awarded to Norwich. It was similar to Marouane Fellaini at Everton yesterday afternoon. Norwich must feel that everything is against them today because it hasn't been good enough from the officials.

71 minSUBSTITUTION: First switch of the afternoon by Sunderland, who have brought on Titus Bramble at the back in place of Carlos Cuellar. The Spanish defender has picked up an ankle injury.

73 minBOOKING! Holt and Bramble's first real involvements almost result in Norwich going back in front. The Norwich striker skips away from his Sunderland counterpart, but his touch is too heavy and Simon Mignolet is able to collect. Holt slides in on the Sunderland keeper and is booked, although he was entitled to challenge for the ball. It's another strange decision from Foy.

76 minSUBSTITUTION: Another alteration for the home team and it is a strange one. They need a goal and off comes a striker in Graham and he is replaced by winger James McClean. It's hardly the most attacking switch from O'Neill and the supporters are not too happy.

80 minFormer Norwich striker Darren Huckerby on Twitter:

"I'd take a point under the circumstances but Sunderland are a poor team! #ncfc"


83 minThe home fans are becoming rather restless. Jeers ring out as a pass from Gardner intended for Sessegnon rolls straight out of play. At this moment in time, Sunderland look like they have run out of ideas.

85 minSUBSTITUTION: Final roll of the dice from Sunderland as the disappointing Johnson is replaced by young striker Wickham. The switch is greeted by ironic cheers from the home supporters, who feel that he should have been introduced much earlier. In contrast, the former Ipswich player gets the sort of reception you would expect from the travelling faithful!

88 minCHANCE! A big, big opportunity is wasted by Sessegnon and Sunderland. Gardner's deflected cross from the right falls straight to the Benin midfielder, who swivels and shoots all in one movement 10 yards from goal. The ball is always drifting wide of the target though and Norwich live to fight another day.

89 minSUBSTITUTION: A defensive switch from the away side as Scotland internationals Robert Snodgrass and Steven Whittaker trade places. It's Whittaker's first outing for three months following a hip injury.

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90 minBOOKING! Cynical stuff from Sunderland's Larsson, who trips Howson up just inside the home team's half as he looked to progress forward. The Swedish international is deservedly cautioned and Norwich have a free kick, which eventually comes to nothing.

90 minThese sides have a minimum of four minutes of stoppage time to find a winning goal.

90+2 minBOOKING! Norwich keeper Camp is clearly trying to run down the clock but he takes it too far over a goal kick and Foy brandishes him the yellow card.

90+4 minFULL TIME: Sunderland 1-1 Norwich

3.26pmLoud boos ring out at the Stadium of Light as Foy blows for full time. In truth, Sunderland failed to make the most of their numerical advantage and visiting Norwich were more than good value for their point. It's back to drawing board for O'Neill ahead of three tough-looking fixtures.

3.28pmThat's all we have time for from the North East. Thanks for joining us today and be sure to stick with Sports Mole over the remainder of the afternoon and evening for coverage of all the football from at home and abroad. Until next time, goodbye.

Stephane Sessegnon and Craig Gardner
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