Sunderland were buoyed after their midweek win over Chelsea in the League Cup and early on Fabio Borini went clear but could only hit the side-netting when he should have hit the target.
Nowrich pressed for most of the first half but the home side looked dangerous on the counter-attack and pushed forward for an opener.
Jozy Altidore dallied when clean through as the USMNT striker should have hit an effort first time but instead wanted to take a touch and was then dispossessed.
The home fans weren’t happy as the Black Cats looked a little devoid of cutting edge going forward.
Norwich went close through Gary Hooper and Leroy Fer as the interval loomed, with the latter thwarted by Vito Mannone’s great save.
But despite all of that pressure, the first half ended scoreless at the Stadium of Light. As did the second.
With twenty minutes left to play, Sunderland very nearly put themselves in front after a spot of shambolic defending from Norwich, but Wes Brown’s header cracked off the post.
The hosts very nearly capitalized on the Canaries’ defensive lapses ten minutes later, when John Ruddy elected to take a trip over to the corner flag, and found himself tackled. Ki Sung-Yueng took advantage and sent in a shot from about 25 yards out, but the strike went just high.
Perhaps the most exciting moments of the match occurred during injury time, as the referee waved away a penalty appeal from the hosts, who were claiming handball from Sebastien Bassong. Moments later, Brown was shown a straight red for a reckless challenge on Ricky van Wolfswinkel.
Sunderland: Mannone, Celustka, Bardsley, Ki, O’Shea, Brown, Giaccherini (Johnson 63), Cattermole, Altidore (Fletcher 68), Larsson (Roberge 90), Borini
Norwich: Ruddy, Whittaker, Olsson, Fer, Turner, Bassong Nguena, Snodgrass, Johnson, Elmander (van Wolfswinkle 77), Hooper, Redmond