Premier League: Sunderland 1 Norwich 1
By Football News
Sunderland will be looking over their shoulders in the relegation battle after a 1-1 draw against a 10-man Norwich City on Sunday.
Norwich City took the lead through a Wesley Hoolahan header from a corner in the 26th minute, but had their goalkeeper Mark Bunn controversially sent off only three minutes later.
Minutes later, Sebastian Bassong was harshly penalised for handball and Craig Gardner converted the penalty two minutes later for the home side at St Mary's.
Norwich jump to 11th after the draw, while Sunderland are seven points clear of 18th-placed Wigan.
The game reflected the league positions of both teams, with defences on top and set-pieces the main threat to both goalkeepers.
After 26 minutes and a succession of early corners, Norwich took the lead through the recalled Hoolahan.
A Robert Snodgrass in-swinging corner found an unmarked Kei Kamara six yards out and his header was flicked in on the line by the Irishman for his fourth league goal of the season.
But only three minutes later, the game swung.
A poor Michael Turner header back to Bunn was pressured by Danny Graham, forcing the goalkeeper into a handball outside the area.
Referee Chris Foy adjudged it to be denying a goalscoring opportunity and sent Bunn off.
Norwich substitute goalkeeper Lee Camp made his English Premier League debut as he replaced Bunn, and his hopes of a clean sheet were gone five minutes before half time.
Bassong was harshly adjudged to have handled inside the Norwich area in the 38th minute, the ball striking his arm after deflecting off his chest.
Gardner stepped up to convert the penalty into the top corner and send the hosts into the break level.
The second half saw Sunderland in the ascendancy, with Norwich dropping deep but defending well.
Former Sunderland man Michael Turner and Bassong dealt with a succession of Sunderland crosses, and Gardner forced Camp to tip his close-range shot over.
The big decision of the second half came after Danny Rose seemed to handle inside the Sunderland box in a position similar to Bassong in the first half, but only a free-kick was given.
The visitors posed a threat on the break.
Substitute Grant Holt should have scored after a long ball from Snodgrass, but his first touch let him down.
Martin O'Neill brought on James McClean and Connor Wickham in search of a winner, and Stephane Sessegnon should have claimed all three points for Sunderland with three minutes to go.
But the Beninese international dragged his shot wide from eight yards as the Norwich defence held firm to see out the draw.