Norwich City 2-1 Sunderland
DESPITE A much improved second-half showing, Sunderland went down at Carrow Road, extending their abysmal record at the home of Norwich.
The Canaries took the lead through Seb Bassong in the ninth minute before Anthony Pilkington doubled the lead after 37th minute. Sunderland got their consolation through Craig Gardner in the 44th minute.
Martin O`Neill made one change, bringing James McClean in for Lee Cattermole meaning Seb Larsson started in the centre of midfield with McClean and Adam Johnson out wide.
Chris Hughton named the same XI that drew with Southampton last time out.
The Canaries took the lead in the eighth minute when former Newcastle defender Bassong prodded home from close-range after meeting Grant Holt's accidental flick-on from a free-kick.
Sunderland's best chance of the opening half an hour came when Danny Rose met a short corner, slamming a low left-footed effort into the palms of Mark Bunn from the edge of the area.
Pilkington doubled Norwich's lead in the 37th minute when he raced onto Bradley Johnson's through ball, cut inside Matt Kilgallon and curled into the bottom left-hand corner with venom.
Seconds before half-time, Gardner pulled one back when he drove a left-footed effort across the face of the Norwich goal and in off the far post to halve the deficit.
Top-scorer Steven Fletcher was replaced by Connor Wickham at half-time for what was eventually announced as a pre-existing ankle issue.
Sunderland started the second period much brighter, Carlos Cuellar's half-volley from a corner well-blocked as the Black Cat's enjoyed more of the ball.
Pilkington tested Simon Mignolet just before the hour when he cracked a fierce drive toward to the top corner, the Belgian pushing away strongly.
The Black Cats should have levelled immediately after when Gardner slammed a free-kick against the face of the post before Kilgallon followed up by firing over on an open net.
Stephane Sessegnon was next to test Bunn; rounding Ryan Bennett with a delightful touch before seeing his left-footed effort held by the Norwich 'keeper.
With 17 minutes left Danny Rose made good progress down the left but was unable to pick out Wickham with his low cross, earning the Lads a corner instead.
Four minutes later Rose cracked a volley from outside the area which Bunn could only shovel into the path of Wickham, the England U21 international buried from close-range before being flagged offside.
Norwich City: Bunn; Whittaker, Bassong, R.Bennett, Garrido; Johnson, Tettey; Snodgrass (E.Bennett), Hoolahan (Howson), Pilkington; Holt (c).
Subs not used: Martin, Jackson, Morison, Barnett & Rudd (GK).
Sunderland: Mignolet; Bardsley (c), Kilgallon, Cuellar, Rose; Johnson, Larsson (Vaughan), Gardner, McClean (Campbell); Sessegnon; Fletcher (Wickham).
Subs not used: McFadden, Colback, Bramble & Westwood (GK).
Attendance: 26 228
Referee: Mr P Dowd.