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Sunderland 0-2 Ipswich Town - Half-Time
Saturday, 3rd Feb 2018 16:02

Joe Garner and an Adam Matthews own goal have given Town a 2-0 lead against Sunderland at the Stadium of Light. Garner netted a brilliant 10th of the season on 35 and Matthews stabbed over his own line in injury time.

Freddie Sears, Cole Skuse and Grant Ward returned to the line-up with the Blues in their usual 4-2-3-1 system.

Sears - who scored his first goal of the season for the U23s on Monday with his last senior strike 292 days ago against Newcastle on April 17th last year - in for Bersant Celina, who dropped to the bench, and Ward taking the place of David McGoldrick, who didn’t travel due to the knock he suffered against Wolves last week.

Cole Skuse returned in the centre of midfield alongside Callum Connolly for Stephen Gleeson, who was among the subs with new signing Mustapha Carayol.

Sunderland made five changes from the team which lost 3-1 at Birmingham on Tuesday with all three deadline day signings, keeper Lee Camp, midfielder Ovie Ejaria and striker Ashley Fletcher, starting. Veteran defender John O’Shea returned after illness, while Billy Jones was also back in the side.

Town started on the front foot, winning an early corner which was cleared ahead of Cameron Carter-Vickers by Tyias Browning. Moments later, Black Cats debutant Ejaria struck the game’s first shot against a Town defender.

The home side, who began playing a back three, carved out the game’s first serious chance in the ninth minute, Fletcher playing in Joel Asoro on the right of the box but the Swedish U21 international shot beyond the advancing Bartosz Bialkowski’s right post.

The Blues were giving away possession needlessly all too often in the opening minutes and on 12 that led to another chance, but Asoro’s shot looped off a Town defender and over Bialkowski for a corner.

The Wearsiders were having a good spell with the Blues’ backline forced to clear a number of balls cut across the area. On 15 Jonas Knudsen just did enough to put Billy Jones off as Bryan Oviedo’s freekick from the left reached the wing-back at the far post.

On 19 Martyn Waghorn, who started his career with Black Cats, his local side, sent Sears away on the right following a corner. The ex-West Ham man overhit his pass into the path of Ward breaking down the centre but the former Spurs midfielder still got on to the ball and was fouled by Asoro, who was shown the game’s first yellow card.

And from the freekick, the Blues were a whisker from going in front. South Shields-born Waghorn, playing his first game back at the Stadium of Light since leaving Sunderland for Leicester in 2010, curled his shot beyond debutant keeper Camp but off the angle of post and bar.

Sunderland went almost as close at the other end in the 24th minute, skipper O’Shea heading an Oveido corner from the left back across goal and not too far wide.

The home side continued to look most likely to open the scoring and on 27, after some hesitant defending from Cameron Carter-Vickers, Fletcher shot powerfully but straight at Bialkowski.

Sunderland had had most of the game’s chances, but on 35 the Blues took the lead via a move started and finished by Joe Garner.

The striker initially played a brilliant cross-field ball to Jordan Spence, who brought it forward on the right and crossed deep to Knudsen, who nodded into the feet of Garner on the edge of the box. The striker held off his man for what seemed like an age before hitting a shot on the turn, which beat his former Forest team-mate Camp and nestled in the corner of the net.

It was the summer signing from Rangers’ 10th goal of the season - making him Town’s equal top scorer with fellow former Ibrox man Waghorn - and almost certainly his best.

The goal gave the Blues renewed impetus and they pinned Sunderland back in their own half for much of the remainder of the half.

And in the single minute of injury time, the Blues doubled their lead. Connolly did well on the right after a Town freekick on the left had been cleared and fed Ward, who took the ball past Cattermole before fizzing powefully across the six-yard box where Matthews bundled over his own line from a matter of inches as he sought to prevent Sears from getting the final touch.

The half ended soon afterwards to muted and resigned boos from the home fans, while the Blues were applauded off by their travelling support.

Town had started brightly but Sunderland were on top for much of the half and had created most of the chances - Waghorn’s freekick against the woodwork aside - before Garner’s excellent opener.

But the Blues were very much in the ascendancy having gone in front and had been pushing for a second in the minutes before Matthews - who previously scored an own goal winner when playing for Cardiff at Portman Road in 2010 - inadvertently doubled their lead.

Sunderland: Camp, Jones, O’Shea (c), Browning, Cattermole, Robson, Oviedo, Matthews, Ejaria, Fletcher, Asoro. Subs: Ruiter, Maja, Honeyman, McGeady, Gooch, Love, LuaLua.

Town: Bialkowski, Spence, Carter-Vickers, Chambers (c), Knudsen, Skuse, Connolly, Sears, Waghorn, Ward, Garner. Subs: M Crowe, Iorfa, Celina, Webster, Hyam, Gleeson, Carayol. Referee: Darren England (South Yorkshire).

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Northstandveteran added 16:16 - Feb 3
Just like an ex girlfriend.
You're about to give up completely and they lure you back in with a little tease....

blueboy1981 added 16:20 - Feb 3
....... let's keep it going.

TimmyH added 16:46 - Feb 3
only tease is it's dogs breath Donna who's teasing you i.e. Sunderland.

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