Ipswich Town 1-0 Sunderland - Half-Time
Saturday, 10th Aug 2019 16:06
Luke Garbutt's second goal in two games for the Blues has given Town a 1-0 half-time lead over Sunderland at Portman Road.
Skipper Luke Chambers returned to an otherwise unchanged Blues line-up having been suspended last week at Burton. The 33-year-old replaced James Wilson at the heart of the defence with the Wales international dropping to the bench.
Alan Judge and Emyr Huws were also among the subs, as was Andre Dozzell, who missed the game at the Pirelli Stadium due to a knee problem.
Sunderland made two changes with Luke O’Nien and skipper Aiden McGeady both starting, while Elliot Embleton and Will Grigg dropped to the bench. Ex-Blues captain Grant Leadbitter was also among the subs.
In blustery conditions, the Blues started on the front foot, winning an early corner on the left. Home debutant Garbutt’s ball in from the left was headed into the arms of Black Cats keeper Jon McLaughlin by another man making his Portman Road bow, James Norwood.
Town felt they should have been awarded a penalty in the sixth minute when Kayden Jackson chased a Luke Woolfenden pass, took it into the area and looked to be felled by a Sunderland defender.
Referee Neil Hair immediately blew his whistle but instead of pointing to the spot gave a freekick to the visitors and booked Jackson for diving. It looked a very harsh decision and the Blues striker was evidently very frustrated at having been yellow-carded when he felt he had been fouled.
The Blues had kept the Wearsiders pinned back in their half for virtually the entire opening quarter of an hour and in the 16th minute they went in front.
A loose ball fell to Garbutt inside the area to the right. The Everton man took it on towards the touchline and from a tight angle squeezed a low shot through keeper McLaughlin’s legs and into the net to send the Portman Road crowd, which had already made itself heard, into raptures.
The midfielder celebrated his second goal in only his second game for the Blues in front of the East of England Co-op Stand with his team-mates.
The match continued after Jackson had received treatment for a blow on the head received in the attack which ultimately led to the goal.
On 20 goalscorer Garbutt won a freekick 25 yards out, took it himself and hit the wall with his effort.
Town twice went close from the corner when Skuse turned a shot goalwards only for it to be deflected away from goal. The ball was returned into the box and Norwood hooked a volley only just wide.
In the 24th minute Rowe intercepted a loose Sunderland pass on the Town right and sent in a cross which keeper McLaughlin only just diverted away from Norwood.
Danny Rowe, making his first home start, more than two and a half years after joining the club, thought he had won a penalty on the half hour as he appeared to be caught as he he sought to shoot but referee Hair instead awarded a freekick to the visitors for reasons which weren’t entirely clear.
Sunderland started to see more of the ball but with Tomas Holy, another making his home debut, still untested.
Skuse sent Jackson away on the left in the 33rd minute, the ex-Accrington man waiting for his team-mates before sending in a low cross which was cut out ahead of Norwood.
Garbutt underwent treatment for a knock in the 35th minute but soon got back on his feet and struck a shot from 25 yards which keeper McLaughlin kept out but couldn’t hold. The Everton loanee looked to get in another effort but was hampered by a grounded Sunderland player, however, again referee Hair waved away Town appeals for a penalty.
Town continued to search for their second goal and in the 37th minute Rowe burst down the right and fed Jackson, who moved the ball on to Norwood, whose shot on the turn was blocked by a defender and ricocheted through to McLaughlin.
A minute later, the Wearsiders, who had already switched to a back four from the three-man backline in which they had started, managed their first strike of the afternoon, Lynden Gooch cutting in from the left before hitting a shot which flew well wide.
The Blues were forced into a change in the 39th minute when Garbutt succumbed to his earlier injury and was replaced by Alan Judge. The goal-a-game midfielder was warmly applauded off by his new fans.
Judge immediately got into the game and in the 43rd minute curled a shot from distance into McLaughlin’s arms.
As the game moved into four minutes of injury time Norwood threatened three times, first smashing a shot against Tom Flanagan as he and Jackson chased a ball over the top, then volleyed a strike wide off a defender from the corner, then screwed an effort high and wide from the subsequent flag-kick.
Applause greeted the half-time whistle with the Blues having been very impressive and deserving more than just their one-goal lead.
Town had started strongly and controlled the game from the off and hadn’t allowed the Black Cats to get a foothold in the game at any stage.
The Blues had had chances to add to their lead and were unlucky not to have been awarded a penalty in the incident in which Jackson was booked, while Holy in the Town goal had largely been a spectator.
On the evidence of the first half, a second goal ought to be enough to secure a first home win of the campaign for the Blues.
Town: Holy, Donacien, Woolfenden, Chambers (c), Kenlock, Skuse, Downes, Rowe, Garbutt (Judge 39), Jackson, Norwood. Subs: Norris, Wilson, Judge, Roberts, Dozzell, El Mizouni, Huws.
Sunderland: J McLaughlin, C McLaughlin, Willis, Flanagan, Gooch, McGeouch, O'Nien, Hume, Dobson, McGeady, McNulty. Subs: Burge, Ozturk, Power, Maguire, Embleton, Grigg, Leadbitter. Referee: Neil Hair (Cambridgeshire).
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