LONDON - Martin O'Neill's first anniversary as manager of Sunderland ended in defeat Sunday as his side was beaten 2-1 by Norwich City in the Premier League.

Goals from Sebastian Bassong and Anthony Pilkington had Norwich 2-0 up before Craig Gardner pulled one back.

Sunderland has won just two of its last 22 Premier League games and lies just a position above the relegation zone.

Norwich, meanwhile, pulled seven points clear of the bottom three. It took just seven minutes for Norwich to take the lead. Bassong got the goal, jabbing a right-wing free kick over the line from a fractionally offside position.

Norwich continued to dominate and doubled its advantage eight minutes before halftime thanks to superb work from Pilkington and abysmal defending from Matthew Kilgallon.

First Kilgallon lazily played Pilkington onside then, after Carlos Cuellar had held the winger up, he was halfhearted in his attempt to block the shot, which flashed into the bottom corner.

Against the run of play, Gardner gave Sunderland hope just before halftime, thrashing a low-angled shot that bounced in off the post.

As Sunderland picked up after the break, Gardner smacked a free kick against the post, Kilgallon somehow spooning the rebound over the bar as the goal gaped. Gardner then had an effort cleared off the line by Steven Whittaker and Mark Bunn saved well from Stephane Sessegnon.

But Sunderland couldn't find the breakthrough and remains deep in relegation trouble.