|Ipswich Town 0 v 1 Sunderland|
SkyBet League One
Tuesday, 26th January 2021 Kick-off 19:45
Ipswich Town 0-1 Sunderland - Match Report
Tuesday, 26th Jan 2021 21:54
Charlie Wyke’s goal in first-half injury time saw Sunderland to a 1-0 victory over 10-man Town, the Blues having been reduced in number early on after Kayden Jackson was red-carded. Jackson caught Bailey Wright with a studs-high challenge in the 10th minute before Wyke’s goal from Max Power’s cross from the right won the three points for the visitors, while full debutant Luke Thomas spurned Town’s best chance in the second half.
Town boss Paul Lambert made four changes to the team which lost 1-0 to Peterborough on Saturday with 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 Wright slid 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 gave the Blues - who have struggled for goals this season even with 11 men - a mountain to climb in the second half.
Sunderland swapped Winchester for Elliott Embleton at the start of the second period and immediately began to put the Blues under pressure.
On 48 a corner from the left reached Willis on the edge of the six-yard box from where the defender sent it towards goal but into Holy’s hands. Moments later, sub Embleton hit a shot from distance which deflected wide.
The visitors continued to see virtually all of the ball with the Blues unable to get out of their half and in the 55th minute Town manager Lambert decided to introduce striker Drinan for Nolan.
The substitution gave the Blues impetus going forward and on 58 Edwards crossed from the left and Drinan flicked the ball towards goal but without causing Burge a major problem.
A minute later, Thomas should have done better after Dozzell had picked up a loose pass on halfway and driven forward before finding the on-loan Barnsley man to the right of the area. Thomas cut in but his shot too close to Burge, who saved. Dozzell was unable to do anything with the loose ball.
But the Black Cats were still presenting the greater threat and just after the hour mark the ball was cut back from the left to Aiden McGeady and his low, goal-bound shot was blocked in front of the line by McGuinness.
Soon afterwards, the game was held up for four minutes after Drinan and Wright clashed heads and the Sunderland defender required treatment before being taken off the field on the stretcher cart. The Australian, who was sitting up and fortunately not looking too badly hurt, was replaced by Dion Sanderson.
The pattern of the game returned to Sunderland seeing all of the ball but without creating clear-cut opportunities with the Blues rarely able to push forward.
Stephen Ward was booked for a foul on Embleton 70, then a minute later Thomas was replaced by Bishop, The full debutant hadn’t had too many opportunities to show Town fans watching at home his attacking abilities given the game situation, although had had the Blues’ big chance.
Edwards might have done better in the 74th minute when he broke towards the edge of the Black Cats’ area from the right but shot against Sanderson rather than looking to play in Ward in space down the left.
Sunderland, who were looking very comfortable, switched McGeady for Lynden Gooch in the 79th minute. Moments later, the sub cut in from the left and hit a low effort which Holy stopped and held down to his right. On 82, Dozzell was booked foul for a foul on O’Brien.
Woolfenden almost played in Bishop with a clever pass from just outside the area in the aftermath of a Town free-kick in the 84th minute but overhit it through to Burge.
As the game moved into its final five minutes Power struck a shot from the right of the box which the diving McGuinness deflected over. A minute later, Town replaced Edwards and Ward for Freddie Sears and Myles Kenlock, while Luke O’Nien took over from O’Brien for Sunderland.
With the game now in six minutes of injury time, Kenlock hooked a ball over the top for Sears to chase which Burge grabbed only just inside his area with one or two appeals from Town players ignored by the well-placed linesman.
The Blues kept pushing in the closing stages with Sears sending over a cross from the left which Burge claimed at his near post but a leveller always looked an outside hope.
Town are still to end their struggles against teams in the top 10 - they have beaten only Accrington when in the division's higher echelons - but despite falling to a sixth home defeat in seven, the Blues could take some pride from the defensive determination they showed.
After being reduced to 10 men so early on, there might have been a danger of being beaten heavily, however, that never looked on the cards with the Blues digging in and preventing the Black Cats having too many opportunities.
In the end the visitors’ best-worked chance in the first half proved to be the difference, while the Blues’ best opportunity was Thomas’s in the second period which the loanee hit too close to the keeper.
But the resolute nature of the defensive performance means nothing in Town’s wider context with the result dropping the Blues to 10th in the League One table, now five points off the play-offs, albeit with three games in hand on Charlton in sixth, and 10 off the automatic promotion spots.
Dropping further away from the business end of the division will only increase the volume of the already loud calls for a change of manager at Portman Road.
Town: Holy, Chambers (c), Woolfenden, McGuinness, Ward (Kenlock 86), Dozzell, Downes, Nolan (Drinan 55), Thomas (Bishop 71), Edwards (Sears 86), Jackson. Unused: Cornell, Baggott, Kenlock, Judge, Sears.
Sunderland: Burge, Willis, Wright (Sanderson 65), Power (c), Wyke, O’Brien (O’Nien), Scowen, Leadbitter, McFadzean, Winchester (Embleton 46), McGeady (Gooch 79). Unused: Matthews, Maguire, Diamond. Referee: Charles Breakspear (Surrey).
Photo: Matchday Images
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