Ward ends Megson wait

IAN POTTS

Sunderland 0 Norwich City 1

Victory at last for Norwich under Gary Megson, 12 matches into a managerial spell now in its second phase at Carrow Road

after he returned to the club following a barren 11-game run.

A powerful 12th-minute strike by Ashley Ward, who seized upon an error by the centre-back Andy Melville, condemned Sunderland to their first home defeat since the opening day of the season.

In a dour game that their manager, Peter Reid, had labelled "our most important of the season," Sunderland were short of passion. Rusty, perhaps, in what was their first League outing since before Christmas, but unrecognisable from the side which had drawn at Old Trafford eight days earlier.

Not that the Manchester United manager, Alex Ferguson, eyeing up the FA Cup opposition before tomorrow's third-round replay, would have drawn comfort from an uninspired home performance.

Their plans were disrupted inside the first two minutes, David Kelly hobbling off with a twisted ankle to be replaced by Martin Smith, but the Wearsiders still enjoyed the better of the early exchanges before Norwich snatched a surprise lead. Melville was ambushed on the edge of the box as the ball became trapped between his boots, and Ward advanced to beat Alec Chamberlain.

Thereafter Norwich sat deep, John Polston and Spencer Prior comfortably seeing off a series of hopeful crosses while Jan Molby rarely wasted a ball. From one of his passes, midway through the second half, Robert Fleck should have added a second, but Sunderland lacked the inspiration and the killer instinct to profit from Chamberlain's save.

"Now we've got a win under our belts we can concentrate on what is, effectively, a 20-game league," said Megson, whose side leapfrogged Sunderland to move into sixth place in an increasingly frantic First Division promotion race.

Reid, conceding his side "weren't at our best," will this week renew his search for a back-up goalkeeper, having failed to agree a deal with Manchester City over Tony Coton.

Goal: Ward (12) 0-1.

Sunderland: (4 4 2) Chamberlain; Kubicki (Howey, 81), Melville, Ord, M Scott; Kelly (Smith, 2), Bracewell, Agnew, Michael Gray; P Gray, Russell. Substitute not used: Hall.

Norwich City (4 4 2) Gunn; Bradshaw, Polston, Prior, Bowen; Eadie, Adams, Molby, O'Neill (Ullathorne 56); Ward, Fleck (K Scott 76). Substitute not used: Newman.

Bookings: Sunderland: Melville. Norwich: Eadie, O'Neill.

Referee: G Cain (Liverpool).

Man of the match: Eadie.

Attendance: 14,983.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Latest in Sport
Sport
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Web Developer - Junior / Mid Weight

£15000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: To support their continued grow...

Recruitment Genius: Marketing Data Specialist

£22000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They are the go-to company for ...

Recruitment Genius: Search Marketing Specialist - PPC / SEO

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join the UK's leadin...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This caravan dealership are currently recruiti...

Day In a Page

Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

Is this the future of flying?

Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

Isis are barbarians

but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

Call of the wild

How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate
Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

The science of swearing

What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

Africa on the menu

Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'
10 best statement lightbulbs

10 best statement lightbulbs

Dare to bare with some out-of-the-ordinary illumination
Wimbledon 2015: Heather Watson - 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Heather Watson: 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Briton pumped up for dream meeting with world No 1
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve
Dustin Brown: Who is the tennis player who knocked Rafael Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?

Dustin Brown

Who is the German player that knocked Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?
Ashes 2015: Damien Martyn - 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

Damien Martyn: 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

Australian veteran of that Ashes series, believes the hosts' may become unstoppable if they win the first Test