Trouble in store for Bruce after Morison keeps Canaries flying

 

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The Independent Online

steve bruce was a member of the Norwich side that defeated Sunderland to lift the Milk Cup in 1985 but this repeat result will have caused him no end of trouble. Goals from Leon Barnett and Steve Morison gave the Canaries a deserved victory over Bruce's Black Cats, who have won just one of their opening six Premier League games. This portion of the season is notoriously dangerous for under-performing managers and Sunderland's lack of invention in attack and frailty at the back does not reflect well on Bruce as Norwich moved up to ninth.

Morison, Norwich's Wales international forward, was on target with an early effort from the edge of the area but Sunderland goalkeeper Simon Mignolet's save was comfortable enough. The Belgian, who had to cut off his sleeves to avoid a clash with Norwich's yellow shirts, was then left exposed by Titus Bramble's failure to deal with a routine punt down field.

Wes Hoolahan, playing behind Morison in a free role for the hosts, nipped in only to lob wastefully over but Mignolet showed his nerves were still as frayed as his shirt when he sliced a clearance attempt behind for a corner seconds later.

Norwich took the lead just after the half-hour mark. Barnett was the unexpected scorer but the plaudits belonged to Elliott Bennett, the right winger. First he played a one-two with David Fox before providing a pacy low delivery across the Sunderland box that not even a centre-back could fail to convert. The curiously inert state of the Sunderland defence was a major factor and Norwich doubled their lead within three minutes of the restart with a passing move that made the visitors look second rate defensively once more. Marc Tierney crossed from the left and Morison out-jumped Wes Brown on the six-yard line to head past Mignolet to record his first Norwich goal. Bramble prevented Morison from bursting through and adding a third before Bradley Johnson almost allowed Sunderland a route back into the game with an air kick in his own box.

Kieran Richardson did pull one back in the 86th minute with a drive across Ruddy to set up a frantic finish.

Norwich (4-4-1-1): Ruddy; Naughton, R Martin, Barnett, Tierney; Bennett (Crofts, 84), Johnson, Fox, Pilkington (Vaughan, 78); Hoolahan; Morison (Holt, 78). Substitutes not used: Rudd, Surman, C Martin, De Laet.

Sunderland (4-4-2): Mignolet; O'Shea, Brown, Bramble, Richardson; Elmohamady, Gardner, Vaughan, Larsson (Dong-won, 68); Sessegnon (Wickham, 68) Bendtner. Substitutes not used: Westwood, Turner, Cattermole, Colback, McClean.

Referee: Chris Foy

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