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Sargent strikes late as Norwich beat Sunderland

Josh Sargent scored for the seventh successive home game as Norwich maintained their Championship play-off challenge with a hard-fought 1-0 win over Sunderland.

The USA international struck in the 81st minute as the Canaries finally found a way past a stubborn visiting defence to make it five victories on the trot at Carrow Road.

While Norwich can look forward to an exciting end the campaign, it looks like being a different story for the visitors, with a fourth consecutive defeat leaving them nine points adrift of the top six.

After a cagey start Norwich went close to taking the lead on 15 minutes when Sargent’s first-time drive was deflected just wide by Jenson Seelt.

It then took a superb finger-tip save from Anthony Patterson to thwart Borja Sainz after the Spaniard had latched on to a loose ball when a corner was only half cleared.

These were rare moments of alarm for Sunderland, however, with both sides tending to cancel each other out in a tight opening period.

Pierre Ekwah had two long-range efforts for the visitors, one comfortably saved and the other sailing well wide, and those proved to be their only shots of the half.

Norwich started the second period on the front foot, with Jack Stacey’s right-wing cross almost catching Patterson out and coming back off the crossbar.

The keeper then pushed away a Gabriel Sara shot which was heading for the bottom corner before making a good stop to keep out a fizzing low effort from Sainz.

Substitute Abdoullah Ba cut into the box and struck the woodwork from a tight angle in a rare Sunderland raid but it was the hosts who deservedly broke the deadlock with nine minutes left.

The visitors failed to deal with Ben Gibson’s cross from the right and Sargent won the battle for the ball before lashing it home from close range.

The managers

Norwich’s David Wagner:

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Sunderland’s Mike Dodds:

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