Sunderland 1 Norwich 3: Canaries see off Black Cats

A debut goal for ex-Hibs loanee Duncan Watmore couldn't detract from a mauling for Sunderland. Picture: Getty
A debut goal for ex-Hibs loanee Duncan Watmore couldn't detract from a mauling for Sunderland. Picture: Getty
Have your say

Norwich playmaker Wes Hoolahan turned in a master-class as Sunderland head coach Dick Advocaat witnessed another horror show.

The Republic of Ireland international was the architect of a 3-1 victory at the Stadium of Light, his side’s first on Wearside since 1997 against the opposition which had presented the Canaries with their last Barclays Premier League victory.

First-half goals from defenders Russell Martin and Steven Whittaker and a third after the break from Nathan Redmond left the home fans among a crowd of 41,379 singing: “Are you watching, Ellis Short?”

The Black Cats are desperately short of the quality they need to avoid another relegation scrap.

It was Hoolahan’s invention – he played key roles in the second and third goals – which repeatedly tore the home side apart and helped to pave the way for Norwich’s first win of the new season despite substitute Duncan Watmore’s late consolation strike.

Advocaat shelved his retirement plans to accept the job of head coach after initially turning down chairman Short’s offer of an extended stay, and he could have been forgiven for regretting his decision by the time the break arrived.

Having seen his team capitulate horribly in the first-half at Leicester last weekend, he looked on as they shouldered arms once again as a lack of cutting edge going forward and an inability to defend once again cost them dearly.

Norwich, who had also emerged from their opening-day fixture empty-handed, were far sharper and exploited their hosts’ frailty at the back in ruthless fashion, if initially with a touch of good fortune when keeper Costel Pantilimon could only push Robbie Brady’s 26th-minute shot against the shins of Martin and ultimately into the back of the net.

Whittaker added to Advocaat’s misery eight minutes before the break when he played a one-two with the excellent Hoolahan – full-back Patrick van Aanholt, at fault for the opening goal, was once again marooned – and fired past the helpless Pantilimon.

Steven Fletcher headed just wide on 41 minutes, but the boos which greeted the half-time whistle told their own story.

Redmond wrapped up the win with 33 minutes still to go, and former Hibs loan player Watmore’s 88th-minute goal on his Premier League debut was all too little, too late.