Manager Tony Mowbray felt Sunderland ‘dominated’ their 1-1 draw with Millwall despite relying on a late Jack Clarke penalty to rescue a point at The Den.

Kevin Nisbet gave Millwall a deserved lead after a superb delivery from Arsenal loanee Brooke Norton-Cuffy.

However, Clarke scored his 10th goal of the season with 12 minutes left to rescue a point for
the Black Cats, though Millwall’s Tom Bradshaw did have a goal disallowed for offside in the closing stages.

The result means Joe Edwards is still without a win at The Den since taking charge of The Lions while Sunderland are winless in three.

Mowbray said: “I thought we dominated the game, probably from start to finish apart from the last 10 minutes after we scored.

“You would expect us to be like The Alamo and go and get the winner but it was the other way really.

“We don’t look like we are going to score a goal and yet we can control the game. I think they had isolated breakaways, it is what they can do and it is ok.

“I think we dominated for long spells without looking like we were going to score.

“We don’t look like we are going to score a goal, why is that?

“I think it is because we have young attacking players, inexperienced attacking players who are not really ready to play for our team.

“And yet we have to play them and we are playing them and we are not suffering the results but we are trying to develop them and get them up to speed to be able to be a striker in the Championship.”

Jobe Bellingham, younger brother of Real Madrid star Jude, was an unused substitute.

Mowbray admitted he has a duty of care and does not want to overplay the 18-year-old.

The draw leaves Sunderland in ninth while Millwall are in 19th.

Edwards felt his side were always in the game despite enjoying far less possession.

He said: “I thought Sunderland started the game well and then we grew and after we got the first goal I felt there was a noticeable change in the team.

“We looked confident, the fans supported us well and it felt like we were building some nice momentum, although they pretty much dominated possession throughout the game.

“We always posed a threat and we looked confident in our defending.

“The way they use width and the wide players in their team, it causes everyone problems but I felt we dealt with it well.

“When you lead a game for so long and you don’t win it feels disappointing but I think you have to respect that they did have a lot of control of the game.

“In the second half, they mounted a lot of pressure as an away team so for me it is just areas where we can improve. I thought we did so well without the ball.

“We posed a threat on the break and in transition but I think we have just got to keep bridging that gap so we don’t have to play at our max like that just to take a point at home.”

Jack Clarke’s penalty denied Joe Edwards his first home win as Millwall manager and rescued a 1-1 draw for Sunderland at The Den.

Kevin Nisbet gave the hosts a deserved lead after an energetic first half in South London.

However, Clarke equalised from the penalty spot with 12 minutes left, much to the delight of the travelling Sunderland supporters behind the goal.

Arsenal loanee Brooke Norton-Cuffy had the first shot on target of the match but his tame effort was straight down the throat of Anthony Patterson in the Sunderland goal.

The home fans were calling for a red card after a crunching challenge from Mason Burstow but the forward escaped with a booking.

Millwall won a corner a minute later but Jake Cooper could not get any power behind his header and Patterson caught it with ease.

The Lions were growing into the game and with 10 minutes left of the first half, Norton-Cuffy whipped a superb ball across goal.

Zian Flemming could not get on the end of it but it was a sign of what was to come.

Ryan Leonard fired a sensational long-range effort just wide of the bottom-left post and George Saville forced Patterson into action as the hosts continued to push for the opener.

It finally came on the stroke of half-time when Nisbet tapped the ball past Patterson after another fantastic delivery from Norton-Cuffy.

Sunderland won a free-kick four minutes after half-time but they could not get a touch on Adil Aouchiche’s solid delivery.

The ball eventually fell to Abdoullah Ba but his strike went well wide of Millwall’s goal.

It could have been 2-0 in the 57th minute when confusion in the Sunderland defence set Norton-Cuffy free down the right wing but he scuffed his cut-back and the attack petered out.

The Black Cats had an excellent chance to equalise after a dangerous run from Clarke but Bradley Dack stabbed the ball wide from close range.

Patterson produced a phenomenal save moments later to deny Tom Bradshaw, whose curling effort seemed destined for the bottom-right corner.

Clarke had come alive down the left wing and just as the game seemed to be slipping away from Sunderland, he won a penalty before coolly converting it to get his side back on level terms.

Bradshaw could have restored Millwall’s lead after being put through on goal but another top-quality stop from Patterson kept the score at 1-1.

He finally found the back of the net at the third time of asking but the forward was judged to have been offside and both sides had to settle for a point.

Huddersfield manager Darren Moore hailed the improvements his side have made following the 2-1 win over Sunderland.

The Terriers took the lead at the Stadium of Light from a set-piece as Michal Helik nodded home, but the Black Cats levelled through captain Luke O’Nien, who fired home from a free-kick.

Delano Burgzorg found the winner with a tidy finish into the bottom corner to end a five-game winless run for Huddersfield, who moved six points clear of the Championship drop zone.

Moore said: “I thought we had a great chance in the first five minutes and credit to the keeper, (Anthony) Patterson, he pulled off a great save.

“But it gave us impetus that there would be areas to exploit and I thought when those areas came, from a small critique point of view, I thought we could have done better when those opportunities came.

“But it’s an improvement in terms of where we’ve been, where we’re at and where we need to continue going forward with it really.

“Credit to the players, the work off the ball was good, I thought we could have used it better and stayed on the ball longer in areas and not be so anxious to release the ball at times, but again, it’s a learning process for us and I’m pleased to get the three points most importantly.”

Moore also hailed a “tremendous” performance from goalkeeper Chris Maxwell, who made some critical saves to keep his side in it during the second half, including a great stop from Jobe Bellingham’s strike.

“I thought he was tremendous again, his focus, his concentration was excellent,” Moore added.

“The one midway through the second half with Bellingham was an exceptional save, I was stood right behind it and that was a one-on-one situation.

“So for him to come out and spread himself like that just when there was a small lapse in concentration in the defensive lines, he was there, really focused and pulled off a good save.”

Maxwell also denied Trai Hume’s effort that looked destined for the top corner before saving Alex Pritchard’s free-kick in a frustrating evening for Sunderland.

The Black Cats dropped to 11th and manager Tony Mowbray believes his side “lacked energy”.

He said: “We’re disappointed with the result, disappointed with the performance, lacked a bit of energy tonight, lacked a bit of creativity breaking down their defence.

“It’s not the first time we’ve faced a team who put a lot of men behind the ball and it’s not the first time we’ve struggled to break them down and score goals, so we just have to keep working.

“It’s a frustrating night for us, disappointed with the goals we lost of course, a set-play and a ridiculous goal the second goal.

“No excuses, congratulate them and say well done, they came and made life difficult for us and got the points.”

Delano Burgzorg’s winner helped Huddersfield beat Sunderland 2-1 to end a five-game winless run and move six points above the Championship relegation zone.

The visitors took the lead through Michal Helik’s header from a well-worked corner, but the Black Cats quickly levelled as Luke O’Nien fired home from a free-kick.

Visiting goalkeeper Chris Maxwell made some fine saves to keep the score level throughout the second half before Burgzorg bagged the winner in the 67th minute.

The result meant the Terriers moved clear of the bottom three, while Sunderland dropped into 11th.

Huddersfield had an early chance after a quick move down the right saw the ball crossed into Jaheim Headley, but Anthony Patterson made a great save one-on-one.

A slow start to the match saw Sunderland retain most of the ball, but the visitors threatened on the counter-attack and took opportunities when they could.

A neat pass split the home defence down the middle for Burgzorg to burst forward, but he fired into the side-netting.

Huddersfield took the lead in the 28th minute when the Black Cats were unable to clear their lines from a corner as Tom Lees headed the ball towards Helik, who nodded in at the near post.

Sunderland had an opportunity almost instantly from a free-kick just outside the box when Jack Clarke’s vicious effort forced Maxwell into an excellent dive to his left to push the ball away.

They soon found the equaliser in the 40th minute after Patrick Roberts’ free-kick reached Jenson Seelt in the box, who nodded to O’Nien at the near post for the captain to smash home from close range.

A quick start to the second half saw Sunderland nearly take the lead when Seelt blasted over the bar from Roberts’ cross.

Maxwell continued to keep his side in it, sticking a leg out to deny Jobe Bellingham one-on-one before making a superb save to paw away Trai Hume’s effort that looked destined for the top corner.

Despite Sunderland’s good chances, Huddersfield retook the lead in the 67th minute after the hosts failed to stop Headley’s mazy run which led to Burgzorg getting the ball on the edge of the box and slotting it into the bottom corner.

Maxwell was forced into a save from Alex Pritchard’s free-kick and the hosts struggled to break through the Huddersfield defence.

Sunderland continued to push in stoppage time as Maxwell made a great save from point-blank range from Clarke’s powerful shot and the rebound from Neil was cleared as the Terriers held on for three points.

Steven Schumacher praised his Plymouth side’s home form as they secured a 2-0 Championship win over Sunderland at Home Park.

First-half goals by attacking midfielders Morgan Whittaker and Finn Azaz set 19th-placed Argyle on their way to a fifth home win.

The Argyle boss said: “Our home form is so important to us. When we get it right here and play with the energy and tempo we do, then we are a match for anyone.

“Sunderland started the game incredibly well, incredibly fast and we had to dig in and stick together to get through that tough period. It was similar in the second half.

“Then when we had our chances, we were clinical with them.

“If we could have taken one of those breaks that we created in the second half it would have given everybody a bit more room to relax but it wasn’t meant to be and the clean sheet was excellent.

“Morgan is an incredibly talented player and we know that. We brought him here to create and score goals and that’s what he is doing. He loves playing here, he loves playing for us and we are really seeing the best of him.

“I think there were some really good, talented players out there today and Morgan has shown he is one of the best players in the Championship.

“I am pleased for everybody because the whole team have really put in a shift today, not only Morgan and Finn, who scored the goals, but I thought Luke Cundle was excellent and he had a hand in both of the goals.

“Now we need to put together back-to-back wins, and Tuesday’s game at Coventry gives us that opportunity.”

Sunderland boss Tony Mowbray said: “We have to keep going, we work with the strikers every day, they (Plymouth) had two shots on target and scored both of them.

“We were pretty dominant during the game, we know they can score goals and they showed they can do that.

“We were a bit disappointed in the first half, we didn’t get to the intensity we wanted and we needed to score in the first 10 minutes of the first half. We didn’t make the keeper work enough, just not finding the space in the box to find the pass.

“Jack Clarke drove into the box about 30 times, but we were hitting the first man a few times and not finding the right player.

“We are a work in process, there are plenty of positives as well. They worked hard enough and we will not be harsh on them. We play five attacking players every game and we have scored 27 goals, I keep getting told a striker hasn’t scored in 16 games and yet we have scored 27 goals.

“The way forward is to keep going, put the ball in the box and keep working hard and hopefully it will come.

“For their second goal, the lad shouldn’t have been allowed to step inside. Credit to Plymouth, they fought really hard, they were well-organised, and have attacking players at the top end who showed they can score a goal. They have been doing that all season.”

Plymouth got back to winning ways with a surprise 2-0 home Championship victory over high-flying Sunderland.

Another top-class strike from Morgan Whittaker and a superbly-crafted goal from fellow playmaker Finn Azaz put Argyle 2-0 up at half-time.

Try as they might, Plymouth found it hard to get out of their half in the opening 20 minutes but the game was turned on its head by a superb Whittaker strike in the 24th minute as Argyle made the most of a counter attack.

Luke Cundle, who was pivotal in both goals, had sent the ball down the right channel for attacking midfielder Whittaker to run at the Sunderland defence.

The summer buy from Swansea cut inside and let fly with a thumping left-foot shot from outside the box that flew into the opposite top corner, giving Anthony Patterson – at full stretch in the Sunderland goal – little chance.

The Sunderland number one was again left clutching thin air when Argyle surged further ahead on another counter attack in the 40th minute.

Again central midfield ace Cundle was instrumental in the counter attack, this time sending Azaz down the left flank with a measured pass, enabling the attacking midfielder to cut into the penalty area and place a shot out of the reach of the diving Patterson.

The home side had two let-offs either side of half-time as Sunderland twice hit the woodwork.

After 44 minutes Jack Clarke cut in from the left and teed up Jobe Bellingham, whose first-time low strike came back off the woodwork.

In the 54th minute Sunderland again went close.

This time Clarke’s cross was met by Trai Hume, whose towering headed effort came back off a post, with home keeper Michael Cooper only able to watch.

Substitute Adil Aouchiche’s follow-up flew into the side netting.

Sunderland continued to press, with Patrick Roberts sending an angled shot from the right just over the bar after the hour.

Another Clarke cross, from the left, was headed just high and wide by substitute Abdoullah Ba.

On another counter Whittaker sent Bali Mumba away from the halfway line and the winger’s shot on the run flew just wide from the right side.

Sunderland hit straight back, with Clarke forcing a near-post save from Cooper after 76 minutes.

Fit-again striker Mustapha Bundu – on as a sub – should have put Argyle out of sight but fired over from close range after a superb run from Mumba and cutback from sub Adam Randell.

Wayne Rooney remains confident he can turn things around at Birmingham – but admits the forthcoming international break will be a crucial spell in his tenure at St Andrew’s.

Rooney’s return to English football has hardly gone to plan, with the Blues’ latest 3-1 defeat at Sunderland meaning he has picked up just one point from a possible 15 since taking charge of the club.

Birmingham’s form has nosedived since John Eustace was controversially moved aside last month, but Rooney can see light at the end of the tunnel despite his side’s struggles.

However, he concedes the next two weeks will be crucial as he attempts to improve his players’ fitness levels and get his views across to his squad.

Rooney said: “The opposition we’ve played have been very good teams. The first couple of games, I didn’t think we were good enough, but there was obviously a lot of information we were trying to get across to the players.

“It was a big change in what they’d been doing, and if you look at the last three games, then as a team, I thought there were positives from Southampton, a lot of positives from Ipswich and then certainly positives again here against Sunderland.

“I’ve seen improvements, but we obviously need to start improving the results, and I really believe we will. What I’m seeing in training, and what I’m seeing from the players in matches now, is really positive.

“I think this break will help, just in terms of getting the fitness work into them. That’s important in terms of how I want my team to play. We’re gradually seeing improvement in that, and it’s a good opportunity for us now to really spend some time with the players.”

Rooney was pleased with aspects of his side’s display on Wearside, with Koji Miyoshi’s first-half goal cancelling out an opener from Jobe Bellingham.

However, he was frustrated with the defensive lapses that led to a second-half own goal from Dion Sanderson and a late strike from Sunderland substitute Adil Aouchiche.

He said: “The defending has to be better. We conceded three goals from inside the six-yard box, and that’s a real disappointment.”

Sunderland’s pre-match preparations were disrupted when Dennis Cirkin suffered a hamstring injury during the warm-up, and having promoted Nectarios Traintis to the starting line-up, Tony Mowbray was delighted with the Australian youngster’s performance on his full Championship debut.

The Sunderland boss said: “It’s frustrating with Dennis, obviously, but it’s great for Nectar. I’m delighted that him coming in has worked out so well.

“Nectar’s an amazing young man. I don’t know whether he came over expecting to get straight into Sunderland’s team and play, but with Luke O’Nien and Dan Ballard doing so well, he’s had to sit on the sidelines.

“He’s playing with the Under-21s – we sent him to Southampton the other week and he spent seven hours on a bus travelling down there and then seven hours travelling back. Yet he does it all with a smile on his face.

“He knows he’s a young footballer who hopefully has a big future at this club, but he also knows where he is in the pecking order at the moment. For him to get chucked in two minutes before kick-off was amazing for him, and I’m so happy for him because he’s such a nice kid.”

Wayne Rooney’s wait for a first win as Birmingham boss continues after the Blues crashed to a 3-1 defeat to Sunderland at the Stadium of Light.

Rooney’s struggling side battled their way back into the game after conceding an early opener to former Birmingham youngster Jobe Bellingham, with Koji Miyoshi levelling the scores towards the end of the first half.

However, Sunderland were the better side for the majority of the contest, and after Dion Sanderson’s own goal restored the home side’s lead, Adil Aouchiche made the game safe with a close-range finish 14 minutes from time.

Sunderland suffered a pre-match blow when Dennis Cirkin was injured during the warm-up, necessitating the promotion of summer signing Nectarios Triantis to the starting line-up for his first league start since his summer move from Australia.

The last-minute switch did not appear to disrupt the Black Cats, however, as they dominated the early stages with Nazariy Rusyn smashing an 11th-minute shot against the post after turning neatly in the area.

Six minutes later, and the deadlock was broken as Sunderland scored from a set-piece. Jack Clarke swung in a corner from the left, Rusyn helped the ball on with a flicked header, and Bellingham volleyed home from the edge of the six-yard box.

Bellingham left Birmingham to join Sunderland in the summer, and the 18-year-old, who is the younger brother of England and Real Madrid star Jude, almost doubled his tally midway through the first half.

Bellingham swivelled smartly after Patrick Roberts’ corner was allowed to pass deep into the penalty area, but he scuffed his shot and the ball struck the same post that had been hit by Rusyn a few minutes earlier.

Birmingham were struggling at that stage, but the visitors battled their way back into things and gradually began to create chances of their own.

Niall Huggins hacked off his own goal-line to prevent Jay Stansfield from bundling home, but the home defence was breached on the half-hour mark.

Pierre Ekwah conceded possession, and after Stansfield crossed from the right, no one tracked the run of Miyoshi, who swept home a clinical first-time finish.

With the game remaining extremely open, chances continued to flow in the second half.

A brilliant last-ditch tackle from Birmingham defender Emanuel Aiwu prevented Rusyn getting a shot away, but the weight of Sunderland’s pressure told as they regained the lead just before the hour mark.

A short-corner routine ended with Roberts crossing from the right, with full-back Trai Hume keeping the ball alive at the back post as he looped a header over goalkeeper John Ruddy.

Triantis slid in with Aiwu on the goal-line, and after a series of ricochets, the final touch appeared to come off Sanderson before the ball ended up in the back of the net.

Sunderland made the game safe with 14 minutes left as Clarke did brilliantly to create space to slide over a low cross from the left, with substitute Aouchiche breaking ahead of his marker to turn home from close range.

Swansea manager Michael Duff praised the spirit of his players after they hung on for a 0-0 draw with 10 men against Sunderland.

A 30th-minute red card for midfielder Charlie Patino forced the Swans to launch a grim defensive operation.

And despite a second-half Sunderland onslaught, the hosts kept the ball out of their net to earn a gritty point.

It might even have been more had striker Jamal Lowe not seen his penalty saved on the stroke of half-time.

Duff said: “I thought we were magnificent. I think anything that could have gone against us went against us.

“But we played 75 minutes with 10 men against one of the best teams in the league.

“Until the red card we weren’t good enough with the ball, but I want to talk about the spirit, people putting their bodies on the line and giving everything for the shirt.

“And we had the best chance of the game! But that went against us.

“We have talked about togetherness a lot, in the last few weeks, and that proves it.

“They are together.

“We have had a difficult start, so much change in the football club, but the one constant has been the togetherness.

“Supporters want to see that commitment. Any supporter will forgive mistakes if they see players give absolutely everything for the shirt.”

Sunderland manager Tony Mowbray criticised his team’s wastefulness.

It was one-way traffic after Patino left the fray, but the visitors could not find the net despite a glut of territory and possession.

Mowbray said: “We have to score, it’s no good looking at possession stats.

“We have inexperienced strikers and invariably goals are coming from others.

“It was just a frustrating day, we looked like we didn’t know how to score.

“You have to manage the game at the top end of the field.

“Credit to them, they worked hard and defended well, they blocked it and got their bodies in the way.

“But I’m disappointed we couldn’t put the ball in the net.”

Meanwhile, Duff refused to criticise Patino, saying: “We all go through it, it’s part of his learning.

“I don’t think either was a yellow card, but we’ll go through it with him.

“It’s now an opportunity for someone else to come into the team and if they step up he might lose his place.

“But he has been good with us, he has kept his ego in check and doesn’t get ahead of himself.

“If someone writes something nice about him, he doesn’t think he’s made it.

“He will feel like he has let the team down, but he hasn’t. He just made a couple of mistakes.”

Sunderland failed to capitalise on the first-half sending off of Swansea midfielder Charlie Patino as they were held to a 0-0 draw in south Wales.

Patino was red-carded in the 30th minute when his foul on the Black Cats’ Pierre Ekwah earned him a second yellow card.

But while the dismissal of the 20-year-old Arsenal loanee meant Sunderland went on to dominate possession and territory, Tony Mowbray’s side could find no breakthrough.

They will return to the north east bitterly disappointed not to have taken three points, but Michael Duff’s Swans will see it as a point gained after a gritty and organised reaction to Patino’s premature departure.

The first half was open and frenetic – and dominated by Sunderland.

Numerous chances were squandered by Mowbray’s men, but they went in at half-time breathing a collective sigh of relief.

That was a result of Jamal Lowe’s failure to convert a penalty awarded in time added on by referee Robert Madley.

The official ruled Sunderland captain Luke O’Nien had pulled Swans defender Harry Darling to the floor, and pointed to the spot.

But goalkeeper Anthony Patterson’s low save to his right earned Sunderland a reprieve they could not have envisaged they would need.

Had Swansea taken the lead, boss Duff might have opted to employ an all-out nine-men-behind-the-ball operation to protect it.

Instead, his team began the second half looking as vulnerable as they had done all afternoon.

Even before the Patino incident, Sunderland were well on top.

Dan Neil and Jack Clarke gave them attacking width down either flank and Jobe Bellingham’s calm authority in an attacking midfield role kept the home side alert at the back.

A slide-rule pass from 18-year-old Bellingham which put Ukrainian striker Nazariy Rusyn clean through should have been the breakthrough for the Black Cats.

Rusyn wasted the chance, but was joined in his profligacy by Clarke and midfielder Patrick Roberts, who both should have found the net as their team poured forward.

It was no surprise that Sunderland spent much of the second half camped in the Swansea half monopolising possession.

Yet their failure to fashion clear-cut opportunities was jolting.

Full-back Trai Hume forced Swans goalkeeper Carl Rushworth to tip over the bar brilliantly in the 72nd minute and flashed a fierce shot just past the post moments later.

Other than that, there were plenty of triangular passing movements but very little in the way of penetration.

For Swansea, the encounter turned into a grim rearguard action long before the closing stages.

Duff will be proud of his players’ discipline and application, if rueing that the Swans were never realistic winners once Patino had left the fray.

Norwich boss David Wagner insists he can get the struggling Canaries back on track but admits he is unable to say whether he will be given time to turn his side’s fortunes around.

Norwich’s miserable Championship run continued with a 3-1 defeat at Sunderland, meaning Wagner’s side have now won just two of their last 10 games and tumbled to 17th in the table.

The Canaries took the lead at the Stadium of Light through Hwang Ui-jo but Trai Hume and Dan Neil put the home side ahead before the break, before Jack Clarke wrapped up the win for Sunderland in the second half from the spot with his ninth goal of the season.

The defeat means Norwich are now winless in five, and Wagner accepts such form will lead to questions about his future.

“I take responsibility and I have to find solutions to change it,” he said.

“The recent form is not where we want it to be and far away from where we can be and what we’ve shown. This is a big problem for us.”

Asked whether he thinks he will be given time to turn it around, he said: “I understand the question but it is not a question I can answer.”

He did, however, insist he has full belief that he remains the man for the job.

He said: “Yeah, obviously. These are situations you face as a manager which you don’t like but these are challenges that are part of a manager’s life.

“It’s up to me to get this sorted, but how much time or if I get the time, as I said it’s not a question (I can answer).”

To get back to winning ways, Wagner says his side – particularly his senior pros – need to cut out the individual mistakes.

He said: “I think we should not shy away from this. Everyone sees who does the mistakes and at the minute they are my senior pros.

“This hurts double and it costs because these are usually the players you can lean on and give the ball in certain situations, but at the minute it’s where the problem is as well. It’s a good dressing room, they stick together.”

Home boss Tony Mowbray was delighted to end a run of three straight defeats, with Sunderland climbing to seventh in the table.

He said: “I think it was the right result for the way the game went.

“It felt a little bit ‘here we go again’ when they scored, I don’t think they’d been in our half up until that point and yet we’re a goal behind.

“We showed great character to get in front before half-time, with some really good, positive front-foot play. It was important for us, I thought it was harsh on us to have lost three games – there were some okay performances in there.

“You have to take it on the chin when you lose and what was important for us was to keep the confidence up. We showed them a lot of clips of the Leicester game and the rewards of playing on the front foot.

“We did that well today, suffocated them for long spells and it wasn’t really until the last 15 that they asked questions of us, and then in that period we could have scored more goals on the break.”

Sunderland ended a run of three successive Championship defeats with a deserved 3-1 victory over Norwich, who are now winless in their last five games.

Hwang Ui-jo gave Norwich the lead against the run of play just after the midway stage of the first half, but Sunderland hit back with goals from Trai Hume and Dan Neil before the break and the league’s top scorer Jack Clarke secured the victory from the spot with his ninth goal of the season 10 minutes from time.

The victory lifted Sunderland to seventh in the Championship, but Norwich’s tumble continues. David Wagner’s side have now won just one of their last eight games and are down to 17th.

Sunderland dominated from the off and took the game to the Canaries, who have the joint worst defensive record in the Championship.

The Black Cats were bright from the off, bossed the early stages and came agonisingly close to breaking the deadlock just before the midway stage of the first half when Clarke’s deflected strike hit the post.

But against the run of play it was Norwich who got their noses in front in controversial fashion. Sunderland expected the assistant to raise his flag when a pass was aimed in the direction of Gabriel Sara, who was clearly offside, but the forward let the ball run to overlapping right-back Kellen Fisher. He cut it back for Hwang to finish clinically into the far corner.

The goal did not knock Sunderland out of their stride and the hosts came roaring back. The deserved equaliser came eight minutes before the break, when Hume’s first-time effort from the edge of the box flashed through a sea of bodies and deflected off Shane Duffy into the far corner.

Sunderland took the lead in the final minute of the first half. The brilliant Clarke weaved through three Norwich defenders on the left before picking out Neil in the box, who calmly lifted the ball over George Long.

Mowbray’s side looked comfortable in the early stages of the second half but Norwich fired a warning just before the hour mark when Christian Fassnacht met a Dimitris Giannoulis cross from the left and headed against the post.

The Canaries had their moments in the second half but the game’s star man Clarke wrapped up the points for Sunderland when he won and scored a penalty on 80 minutes. The winger was tripped by Kenny McLean inside the box and picked himself up to send Long the wrong way.

Enzo Maresca insists Leicester are not the league’s only title candidates despite James Justin’s goal sending them eight points clear at the top of the Sky Bet Championship following a 1-0 win against Sunderland.

Justin was the unlikely hero for the Foxes, heading home Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall’s corner from the left after 12 minutes to seal the points and an eighth successive league win.

The home side spurned numerous chances to extend their lead as both Stephy Mavididi and Kelechi Iheanacho saw shots come back off a post while Black Cats substitute Abdoullah Ba spurned a glorious chance to equalise late on.

Maresca said: “We are happy but we are not thinking we are the only club in the Championship trying to get promoted.

“In football, the normal thing is to lose more than you win. In this moment we’ve won 12 out of 13, it’s not something normal, the players and the fans deserve to enjoy it after the relegation.

“We know that these records are important if we reach our target, these records show what the players have done and that it is not something normal, but we’re still in October.

“We would like to have the same situation in March and April, it’s fantastic, we are not the only team building to reach the title and in our case we changed 14 or 15 players from last season.

“It was a very difficult game, it’s probably the game I’m most happy with in terms of handling a different kind of game, we were very aggressive and were quite good on the ball.”

Sunderland slipped to a third straight league defeat, although Black Cats boss Tony Mowbray was impressed by his side’s performance and believes opponents Leicester are likely to win the title after their record-breaking start to the campaign.

Mowbray said: “We believed we could come here and win the game, we missed some really good chances. I asked the players to challenge themselves and see if they want to play in the Premier League one day.

“We competed really well, we just lacked the composure required at the top end of the pitch. If that’s the level we play at every week, we’re going to win enough games.

“We just need to improve the end product. We can score goals, we missed some golden chances to put the ball in the net.

“We’re not finishing above Leicester City, I think Leicester will win the league. Burnley had the same amount of points as we do at this stage last season, the results will take care of themselves.

“We put a lot of work into defending set-plays because we’re not a huge team, a free header has cost us two games on the bounce.”

Leicester recorded an eighth successive victory in the league to move eight points clear at the top of the table with a 1-0 win against Sunderland as James Justin’s first-half header proved decisive.

Justin rose highest to head home Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall’s corner after 12 minutes and secure the points as the full-back scored his first league goal for the club in over two years.

The Foxes hit a post twice in the first half and missed a number of chances to double their lead throughout but did enough to secure a 12th win from 13 league matches to continue their stunning start to the season.

Sunderland have now lost their last three league matches and should have equalised at the death only for Abdoullah Ba to fire over from close range as Tony Mowbray’s side struggled to penetrate the league’s meanest defence.

The Black Cats had the game’s first chance when a cross from the right ran through to Jack Clarke at the back past only for the midfielder to see his shot turned away by the legs of Leicester goalkeeper Mads Hermansen.

However, Leicester broke the deadlock in the 12th minute with their first meaningful effort on goal as Justin leapt unmarked at the near post to head in Dewsbury-Hall’s excellent corner from the left.

The home side went close to a second goal soon after as Foxes winger Stephy Mavididi jinked his way into the box and saw a low shot superbly flicked onto a post by the boot of Sunderland keeper Anthony Patterson.

Leicester hit the woodwork again towards the end of the first half as Kelechi Iheanacho blasted a shot against a post after Wout Faes clipped a delightful pass into Cesare Casadei who in turn nodded the ball into the path of the striker.

Chelsea loanee Casadei then spurned a couple of chances to double Leicester’s lead after the break, first shooting straight at Patterson after the ball fell kindly to him in the box before seeing a low shot tipped behind by the Sunderland keeper soon after.

Casadei turned provider a few minutes later, teeing up Iheanacho for a shot on goal only for the Nigerian to curl an effort a couple of yards wide when one-on-one with Patterson.

Sunderland enjoyed their best spell of the game in the final 20 minutes as Dan Neil curled wide after pouncing on an error from Harry Winks despite having time and space to pick his spot.

The visitors wasted another opening shortly after as Dennis Cirkin fired over from the left edge of the penalty area after some excellent build-up play to create a shooting chance.

However, the Black Cats’ best chance to draw level came in the final few minutes as substitute Ba somehow fired over the crossbar from inside the box with the goal at his mercy and Foxes goalkeeper Hermansen on the floor.

Alex Neil praised his Stoke side for securing a valuable 2-1 victory over his former employers Sunderland, saying “we needed a bit of optimism”.

First Potters league goals for Ryan Mmaee and Luke McNally either side of Jack Clarke’s leveller secured a first home win since August to help Stoke open up a five-point gap above the relegation zone.

Neil, who left Sunderland last year to take over at Stoke, said: “I am really pleased. We needed the win, irrespective of who we were playing against.

“The [Sunderland] fans were always going to fire a few shots at me, which is fine and I get it.

“But for our lads, the club and our supporters, we needed a bit of optimism, a good performance and certainly three points under our belt.”

Mmaee opened the scoring inside seven minutes but Championship top scorer Clarke equalised for high-flying Sunderland moments later.

The hosts regained the lead shortly after the interval when McNally headed home a deep Daniel Johnson corner.

And, despite a late Black Cats onslaught, Stoke held on to earn only their fourth league win of the campaign.

Neil added: “We’re a team very much in transition and that’s frustrating because the nature of the Championship is you need to win games.

“I think the fans understand where we are as a club; you want your club to win games and you want to be successful and push on up the league.

“But I think we need to recognise where we currently are and that we do have great potential.

“Naturally Sunderland piled pressure on at the end and they’re the best games to win when you really need to dig in, so it’s really satisfying.

“At the end of the day, the proof’s in the pudding and you need to do it on the pitch, but I thought against a really good side, we more than matched them.

“We’ve got some tough games coming up so today was a good day for us.”

It was a frustrating afternoon for the visitors, who were denied a fourth successive away league victory as they slipped to sixth in the table.

The best efforts of Clarke and co could not prevent Sunderland from falling to a second defeat in a row, but they remain in the play-offs.

“It was a frustrating day for us and we didn’t start either half well enough,” said boss Tony Mowbray.

“It’s almost like you need a slap before you react to the fight.

“We talked about trying to be ready for the physical confrontation and we fell a little bit short today in that aspect.

“We created enough chances today not to lose the match but we fell below par for the way we play and what we do.

“Not just for the goals; it looks like a blatant handball the first one and then it’s frustrating for any football team to concede from a corner.

“In our defence, we’ve only had one training day with the team that started today so it’s probably understandable that we weren’t at our fluent best.

“We’re a young team; coming to Stoke City is never easy and they have to learn that intensity, aggression and closing down is all part of the game.

“You either stand up to it and play around it or you succumb, and I think we weren’t brave enough.

“Were they hanging on at the end? Maybe. Should we have scored? Yeah, but we didn’t so it goes in the history books as 2-1 and we have to live with it.”

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