Ipswich Town 0-1 Sunderland - Half-Time
Tuesday, 26th Jan 2021 20:47
Charlie Wyke’s injury-time goal has given Sunderland a 1-0 lead at the break against 10-man Town, the Blues having been reduced in number after Kayden Jackson was red-carded in the 10th minute.
Town boss Paul Lambert made four changes to the team which lost 1-0 to Peterborough on Saturday with Luke Thomas making his full debut and Jon Nolan, Luke Woolfenden and Jackson all returning to the XI.
From those who started Saturday’s 1-0 defeat to Peterborough, Toto Nsiala missed out due to a hamstring injury, while Alan Judge, Aaron Drinan and Teddy Bishop dropped to the bench.
Woolfenden partnered Mark McGuinness at the heart of the defence with Nolan taking over from Bishop ahead of Andre Dozzell and alongside Flynn Downes in the three-man midfield, with Thomas, who impressed as a sub against Posh, on the right of the front three and Jackson down the middle.
Among the subs for the first time in a league game was 18-year-old centre-half Elkan Baggott.
Sunderland included former Blues skipper Grant Leadbitter in their starting XI and made one change from the team which beat Shrewsbury 1-0 at the Stadium of Light on Saturday with Carl Winchester coming into the team for Jack Diamond as they moved to a 4-3-3 system.
As rain fell heavily, the game got off to a false start with Downes passing the ball back after the referee Charles Breakspear’s whistle only for the 21 other players to take a knee in support of Black Lives Matter.
On four, Thomas found Gwion Edwards in acres of space on the left of the penalty but the Welshman’s cross deflected off a defender into Black Cats keeper Lee Burge’s arms.
The match had hardly got going and was only 10 minutes old when the Blues were reduced to 10 men, for the second time this season against the Black Cats, Dozzell having seen red on Wearside in November.
Jackson went looking for a ball which had bounced away from him and as Bailey Wright skid in looked to get his foot to it and caught the Sunderland defender with his studs halfway up his shin.
Referee Breakspear reached straight for his red card, issuing the striker with his second Town dismissal. It looked an overeager challenge rather than anything malicious but under the letter of the law was the right decision.
Jackson, who has already had a stop-start season due to injury and Covid, will now miss the next three matches.
Despite the Blues having a reduced number, and no one playing as a striker, more of the game was played in the Wearsiders’ half in minutes after the sending off. On 16 Dozzell sent in a free-kick which McGuinness headed straight at Burge.
The rain began to fall even more heavily, and as a consequence the pitch began to look ever more soggy, and Sunderland began to see more of the ball.
In the 26th minute, Wyke shot wide from an angle on the right after the Blues had got caught in possession as they sought to play their way out from their left-back position.
Tomas Holy was called into serious action for the first time in the 32nd minute when Aiden O’Brien threaded a pass through for Winchester to chase but the Blues keeper was out quickly to slid in at his feet on the edge of the box to take it away from the former Forest Green Rovers man.
Sunderland were inevitably seeing most of the ball but without looking particularly convincing and with the Blues putting up a staunch defence deep in their half, but without being able to push forward.
The Black Cats created the first real penalty area danger of the game in the 38th minute when a free-kick from deep on the left fell to Wyke, whose shot was parried by Holy. The loose ball dropped in a crowded box but fortunately safely for Town and was cleared.
Moments later, Ward was sent flying by a late Jordan Willis challenge and then Downes was caught similarly well after the ball had gone by Winchester. The Town players surrounded the referee after the second challenge clearly feeling the tackle was as poor as Jackson’s earlier in the half but referee Breakspear opted to show only his yellow card on that occasion.
In the final scheduled minute of the half, Edwards cut in from the left and hit a low shot into the side-netting.
Town looked to have seen out the half and were starting to show some belief going forward, but in injury time the Black Cats went in front.
Wearsiders skipper Max Power was sent away down the right and whipped over a low cross which Wyke, the scorer of Sunderland’s opening goal against the Blues in their 2-1 win at the Stadium of Light, diverted first time past Holy to the keeper’s left from eight yards.
It was a disastrous way to end the half for the Blues who had only previously been seriously troubled once by the Black Cats despite the numerical disparity.
Jackson could argue little about his red card, even if there seemed to be no malice in the challenge, but his dismissal and Wyke’s well-worked goal have given the Blues - who have struggled for goals this season even with 11 men - a mountain to climb in the second half if they are to take anything from the match.
Town: Holy, Chambers (c), Woolfenden, McGuinness, Ward, Dozzell, Downes, Nolan, Thomas, Edwards, Jackson. Subs: Cornell, Baggott, Kenlock, Bishop, Judge, Sears, Drinan.
Sunderland: Burge, Willis, Wright, Power (c), Wyke, O'Brien, Scowen, Leadbitter, McFadzean, Winchester, McGeady. Subs: Matthews, Maguire, Gooch, O'Nien, Sanderson, Embleton, Diamond. Referee: Charles Breakspear (Surrey).
Photo: Matchday Images
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