Sunderland 0-0 Ipswich Town - Half-Time
Saturday, 8th Feb 2020 15:57
The Blues have had the better of the first half of their game against Sunderland at the Stadium of Light but with the scoreline remaining 0-0 at the interval.
Tomas Holy was among five players to return to the Town team, the Czech keeper coming in for Will Norris, who dropped to the bench, the on-loan Wolves man having started the last 10 League One matches.
The back three remained unchanged - skipper Luke Chambers, James Wilson and Luke Woolfenden - but there were forced switches of personnel in both wing-back roles.
Gwion Edwards was suspended so Janoi Donacien started on the right, while Luke Garbutt was out with a thigh strain and Myles Kenlock was on the left.
In midfield, Flynn Downes was again partnered by Cole Skuse with Jon Nolan, whose wife gave birth earlier in the week, in the more advanced role. Alan Judge dropped to the bench.
Up front, Will Keane was joined by James Norwood with Kayden Jackson among the subs. Emyr Huws was fit again after his ankle injury and on the bench.
Sunderland boss Phil Parkinson made one change from the team which lost 2-0 at Portsmouth last week with central defender Joel Lynch injured and Tom Flanagan taking his place.
Town carved out the first danger of the game in the seventh minute. After good work from Skuse and Nolan, Keane played a clever ball into the path of Kenlock breaking into the area on the left, however, the wing-back’s first touch let him down and his cross was blocked by Luke O'Nien.
A minute later, the home side had the ball in the net. Chris Maguire crossed from the right and Charlie Wyke stabbed home ahead of Holy but fortunately for the Blues having strayed offside.
Town were next to threaten. Following a patient spell of Town possession, Woolfenden crossed from the left and Keane looped a header over.
On 14 Kenlock played a superb ball down the left for Norwood to chase. The striker reached the ball as he broke into the area but Black Cats keeper Jon Mclaughlin was quickly off his line to block the former Tranmere man’s effort at goal.
Moments later, Nolan hit a low strike from the left which McLaughlin saved low at his post. Town were controlling the game with Sunderland struggling to see much of the ball.
In the 21st minute O'Nien was shown the game’s first yellow card for a needless tackle from behind on Wilson as the ball was going out of play, the former Wycombe man’s studs catching the defender well up his calf.
After play restarted, Keane found space to shoot in the area but his effort was blocked, then Kenlock looped a header over.
In the 23rd minute Downes was booked for protesting after a foul had been given against Skuse in the centre circle. The card was Downes’s eighth in League One this season, meaning he is two off a suspension.
A minute later, Keane knocked the ball back to Norwood on the edge of the box and Town’s top scorer struck a shot which flew not far past McLaughlin’s left post. Soon afterwards, Norwood had another go, a defender this time deflecting his strike through to the keeper.
Penalty area action became rarer with Town perhaps not quite so dominant but in the 33rd minute Chambers crossed from the right and Norwood flicked a header wide.
The home fans and players had become increasingly frustrated the longer the half progressed with virtually every decision made against them by referee Jeremy Simpson receiving a vitriolic response. On 40, George Dobson struck a rare Sunderland shot well wide.
The Black Cats saw more of the ball in the final minutes of the half but without seriously threatening. On 44 Holy came out a long way to clear a ball played down the Town right.
In one minute of time added on Downes made a strong run down the left before finding Nolan unmarked to his right but the Liverpudlian scraped his shot from just outside the box wide.
Boos from the home fans greeted the half-time whistle after a period in which the Blues had been very much on top.
Town had passed the ball around confidently and had created enough opportunities to have gone in ahead.
At the other end, Holy had had a quiet return to the Town XI with Sunderland not having managed a shot on target aside from the early disallowed goal.
Sunderland: J McLaughlin, Willis, Wright, Flanagan, O'Nien, Power (c), Dobson, Hume, Gooch, Wyke, Maguire. Subs: Burge, C McLaughlin, Watmore, Scowen, Ozturk, Lafferty, Semenyo.
Town: Holy, Chambers (c), Wilson, Woolfenden, Donacien, Skuse, Downes, Kenlock, Nolan, Norwood, Keane. Subs: Norris, Earl, Jackson, Judge, Sears, Dozzell, Huws. Referee: Jeremy Simpson (Lancashire).
Photo: Action Images
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