Premier League - Sunderland ease past Norwich
Sunderland climbed into the top half of the Premier League table with a comprehensive 3-0 win over Norwich City at the Stadium of Light.
Former Aston Villa boss Martin O'Neill has imprinted his style upon the team and that was evident from the outset as the hosts pressed the opposition and fed their wide players swiftly and accurately.
Left winger, James McClean, who has been a revelation under O’Neill, set the tone of the game early on as beat his marker and picked out Fraizer Campbell in the box, but the former Manchester United striker was unable to guide his header past John Ruddy.
Sunderland continued to dominate, but were almost punished for switching off when Grant Holt was given time and space to test Simon Mignolet with a first time volley.
However, this didn’t act as the fillip Paul Lambert would have hoped for and as the visitors continued to stutter, Campbell produced a moment of brilliance.
Starting his first Premier League game since August 2010, after 17 months out of the game with a cruciate ligament injury, Campbell picked up a loose ball 25 yards out and sent it soaring over a helpless Ruddy with an exquisite volley.
This goal, his first in the Premier League since April 2010, added to his equaliser against Middlesbrough in the FA Cup on Sunday.
Full of confidence, the goalscorer linked up with Stephane Sessegnon to double the home side’s lead as the half hour mark approached.
Breaking from midfield, Sessegnon swept the ball to Campbell pulling out to the right wing, who returned the pass with a pinpoint cross, which he duly dispatched with an unstoppable header.
The Canaries’ misery continued nine minutes into the second half when a quicksilver attack down the right wing ended with Bardsley’s cross being turned into his own net by Ayala.
Trigger-happy Craig Gardner threatened to add to the scoreline and Steve Morison came close to grabbing a consolation goal with a header, before the referee blew time on an impressive Sunderland display.