Match Report: Norwich City 1-0 Sunderland AFC

Sunderland’s winless run extended to four matches, as Josh Sargent’s 81st-minute strike sealed all three points for Norwich City on Saturday afternoon.

2WNFKXY Josh Sargent of Norwich City celebrates after making it 1-0 with Sydney van Hooijdonk of Norwich City during the Sky Bet Championship match between Norwich City and Sunderland at Carrow Road, Norwich on Saturday 2nd March 2024. (Photo: David Watts | MI News) Credit: MI News & Sport /Alamy Live News

A rather tepid affair never really sparked into life, but the American’s finish nine minutes from time proved decisive as the Canaries moved one point off the play-offs, but added on Sunderland’s misery.

Mike Dodds’ interim spell in charge is now two matches without a win, whilst Sunderland’s four-match losing run has put the Black Cats nine points off the play-off pack, and nine points from the relegation spots.

After last week’s defeat to Swansea City started his third spell in charge, Dodds made two changes, with Luis Hemir gaining his first start since the opening day of the season, replacing Nazariy Rusyn, and Romaine Mundle came in for Abdoullah Ba.

A lacklustre opening to the game saw the home side dominating possession with the Black Cats happy to sit in and trigger on the break.

However, for another afternoon in their season, the away side never really posed an attacking threat, as Norwich saw all of the openings.

Sargent’s instinctive shot from just inside of the penalty area was blocked by Jenson Seelt, whilst Borja Sainz’ thunderous effort was tipped over the bar by Anthony Patterson.

2WNF8TF Sunderland’s Romaine Mundle battles for the ball against Norwich City’s Kenny McLean during the Sky Bet Championship match at Carrow Road, Norwich. Picture date: Saturday March 2, 2024.

David Wagner’s side stepped up the tempo at the start of the second half, but continued to struggle to break down the Black Cats’ defensive system.

Gabriel Sara had two great opportunities to put Norwich into the driving seat, but first, his left-footed shot was parried away by Patterson, before a defensive error allowed the ball to drop at his feet in front of an empty net, but the Brazilian skied over.

The closest Dodds’ side came was through substitute Ba, as a quick burst of pace along the by-line and into the penalty area led to his shot from a tight angle being tipped onto the crossbar.

However, their poor run of form continued through Sargent’s strike, as poor defending from a long ball into the 18-yard box allowed the American to fire in his 11th goal of the campaign.

In the remaining 10 minutes, the away side struggled to carve out any clear-cut chances, and their fixture schedule doesn’t get easier, with league-leaders Leicester City visiting Wearside on Tuesday night.