Sunderland 0-0 Ipswich Town - Half-Time
Saturday, 20th Nov 2021 16:00
Town’s game against Sunderland at the Stadium of Light remains 0-0 at half-time with the Blues having had the better first-half chances.
Sone Aluko replaced Wes Burns wide on the right in the only change from the team which drew 0-0 with Oxford United in League One at Portman Road a week ago.
Burns was missing from the 18 due to what’s understood to be a knock, while Kane Vincent-Young was again on the bench, having returned to the squad for Tuesday’s FA Cup victory at Oldham, along with Boundary Park goal hero Idris El Mizouni.
For Sunderland, Elliot Embleton, Nathan Broadhead and Bailey Wright came into the XI. Broadhead joined 10-goal top scorer Ross Stewart up front, while former Republic of Ireland international Aiden McGeady was on the bench.
Dennis Cirkin was absent from the squad with Luke O’Nien at left-back and Tom Flanagan on the bench.
Town started well, Kyle Edwards overhitting a cross from the left before the Blues won a couple of early corners.
Sunderland struck the first shot of the game on four, Embleton cutting in from the right before curling an effort high and wide.
Town had largely been in control but in the 10th minute they almost played themselves into trouble in their own half of the field, however, Lee Evans dispossessed Stewart just inside the area when the situation was starting to look dangerous.
Within a minute, the Blues had threatened at the other end, Bersant Celina crossing from the right and Macauley Bonne turning a volley against a defender from eight yards.
Aluko had made a brought start, twisting and turning his way into the right of the area on a number of occasions. The Nigerian international was also making his presence known at the back, heading away a poor Embleton ball into the box after Janoi Donacien, making his 50th appearance for the Blues, had been penalised for not a lot.
On 18, Aluko won a corner on the right from which home keeper Thorben Hoffman punched away under pressure from George Edmundson, referee Tom Nield giving what looked a harsh free-kick against the Town defender.
Nield showed the first yellow card of the game to Sunderland skipper Corry Evans in the 20th minute for a late lunge at Edwards as the winger stretched his legs on halfway.
Town were continuing to have much the better of it and on 22 Edwards cut in from the left and hit a shot which cannoned against a defender.
Sunderland started to get more into the game with the home fans making themselves heard for the first time.
In the 26th minute Broadhead and Stewart exchanged passes as they broke into the box but Toto Nsiala cleared.
Town should have gone in front on the half hour when the Blues passed their way in from the left, Edwards eventually cutting across to an unmarked Celina, who scuffed his shot too close to Hoffman, who was able to pounce on it when it really should have been past him before he could react.
Sunderland were next to threaten with the Blues making a number of blocks and interceptions without Christian Walton being forced into a save. On 34 Lynden Gooch was booked for a late tackle on Bailey Clements on halfway.
Town went close to going in front again in the 36th minute when Celina was found on space on the right and sent over a cross and skipper Sam Morsy’s shot from the edge of the box deflected wide.
While the Blues were seeing most of the ball and for much of the time were looking composed, Sunderland were looking a threat whenever they got the ball in the Town half.
On 41, Stewart claimed a penalty after rather obviously throwing himself to the ground as he anticipated an Nsiala challenge coming in but referee Nield waved away his appeal.
Town were left scratching their heads how they hadn’t scored in the 41st minute when they had three bites of the cherry from Donacien’s cross. Hoffman twice blocked from Celina from eight yards, then Bonne looped a third attempt into the keeper’s arms.
Black Cats boss Lee Johnson was shown a yellow card for evidently having said something to the fourth official in the 42nd minute as his side began to put Town under some pressure in the first half’s final minutes.
The excellent Edmundson cut out crosses and headed away a number of balls, then in the final minute of scheduled time did brilliantly to get a touch on an O’Nien cross from the left and Stewart as a result was unable to make a clear contact when he looked certain to score.
As the teams went off at the break, Evans was receiving treatment on the pitch and referee Nield was booed by the home support, presumably for the penalty decision, which he appeared to have got right.
Town will have left the field feeling that they should have been in front having been on top for most of the half and with Celina having had two very decent opportunities in addition to one or two other chances.
At the other end, Sunderland had caused the Blues problems but with Edmundson outstanding, the Black Cats were yet to manage a shot on target.
Sunderland: Hoffmann, Winchester, Wright, Doyle, O'Nien, Evans (c), Neil, Embleton, Broadhead, Gooch, Stewart. Subs: Patterson, Flanagan, Alves, Dajaku, O'Brien, Pritchard, McGeady.
Town: Walton, Donacien, Nsiala, Edmundson, Clements, Morsy (c), Evans, Aluko, Celina, Edwards, Bonne. Subs: Hladky, Vincent-Young, Burgess, El Mizouni, Chaplin, Fraser, Pigott. Referee: Tom Nield (West Yorkshire).
Photo: Action Images
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