Audio: Anthony Pilkington repeats his Carrow Road trick against Sunderland
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Anthony Pilkington made it two winners in two Premier League Carrow Road clashes as Norwich City held on to beat Sunderland and extend their unbeaten run to nine matches.
Pilkington’s solitary strike had earned all three points against leaders Manchester United last time out at Carrow Road, and the winger was happy to help deliver again as he controlled Bradley Johnson’s long pass and turned inside Carlos Cuellar before firing beyond goalkeeper Simon Mignolet.
“No it wasn’t a bad finish but the three points is the biggest thing and I thought in the first half we did really well,” said Pilkington. “We played some great football, probably as good as we’ve played all season, and then we let in a sloppy goal right at the end of the first half and that made the second half difficult for us.
“We were creating chances are passing the ball around well, and I thought we were cruising at 2-0 and, like I say, it’s just a sloppy goal at the end of the first half when we thought they weren’t really in the game.
“They weren’t creating much and went causing any problems for us. But that goal lifted Sunderland and after that they had a right good go.
“Whenever you get a goal right before half-time it lifts you although we were still winning at half-time, our heads went down a little bit and we were under pressure in the second half.
“But I have to say we have got a good, strong group and we hung on in the second half to get a good three points.
“We had to work really hard. They put us under a bit lot of pressure in the second half and it was totally different to the first half, but it’s a massive three points and we are still unbeaten.”
Pilkington’s second top-flight strike of the season sits with his eight from last term – and while it was well taken, it is still some way from his favourite goal in a yellow shirt. But he certainly knew that if he had not taken his big chance on Sunday afternoon his captain, waiting to be teed up with a tap-in, would have let him know about it.
“I think the free-kick against Villa last season, the goal against Manchester United – they don’t come much bigger than that – so I think you’re wrong there,” he smiled.
“I knew Holty was there and I knew if I didn’t score he would be on my back. And actually, after I scored he came over and he didn’t say well done for the goal, he just said you are lucky you scored.
“I knew the defender was coming over so it was either take another touch and hit it with my left foot, or chop inside and open the goal up, and luckily I made the right choice tonight.”
Pilkington is happy to wait and see whether his current performances push him into the thinking or Ireland boss Giovanni Trapattoni. And even though the goals are now flowing, he is happier about what is coming from them.
“It is good to be scoring but it doesn’t matter who scores the goals in the end,” he added. “I’ve got a couple and it’s always nice to score, but it doesn’t matter who scores them as long as we are picking up points – and that’s what we are doing.”