Norwich City 1 Sunderland 4: It’s Lambert to the slaughter!
25 August 2009 12:04
Life is certainly not dull at Norwich these days. A helter-skelter season at Carrow Road continued with a clinical Carling Cup dismantling at the hands of a largely reserve Sunderland side.
Three goals in 10 first-half minutes effectively decided the tie in the Barclays Premier League club's favour, while the fourth made it 12 goals conceded by Norwich in three home games. Entertainment is guaranteed, although at which end it will come, nobody knows.
It is not that new manager Paul Lambert's team were especially poor, more that, when it comes to naive defending, they possess the current copyright.
NORWICH CITY V SUNDERLAND
A slimline Andy Reid, having lost 20lb during the summer, was Sunderland's inspiration, scoring twice and pushing his case for promotion to Steve Bruce's first-choice side.
A diagonal chip over Norwich keeper Ben Alnwick was sublime in its quality, while his second goal, a crisp finish to a flowing four-pass, first-touch move nine minutes before half-time, ended the game as a contest.
Manager Bruce's praise for the Irish midfielder was effusive. He said: 'I don't think anyone has ever doubted Andy's ability, it's his physical condition which has been the problem. The penny's dropped, though. He has watched what he has put in his mouth and trained hard.'
Sunderland might have been ahead before Kenwyne Jones, one of only two players to start Saturday's win over Blackburn, eased the ball across for Teemu Tainio to slide home.
Too often neat approach play by the home side foundered on the edge of the Sunderland box. That changed in the 63rd minute when substitute Cody McDonald's header struck the post and Wes Hoolahan stole in to stab home the rebound. Had Chris Martin diverted Simon Lappin's cross the right side of the post 90 seconds later, Sunderland's passage might have been more awkward. Instead, Reid's 67thminute corner was diverted by Owain Tudur-Jones into his own net.
The match ended on an unsavoury note when Norwich defender Michael Spillane was sent off for pushing Fraizer Campbell to the ground, sending Campbell into a sickening collison with Alnwick. Both men were forced to leave the pitch.
With Norwich having used all three substitutes and down to nine men, striker McDonald became a makeshift keeper for the remaining six minutes. Bruce offered heartfelt sympathy towards the club with whom he won this competition 25 seasons ago. He said: 'Norwich's start to the season has baffled me. You need stability at a club and Norwich have gone from one change to another in recent years. That's led to a downward spiral.
'I hope they can bounce back because this club gave me my chance.'