|Sunderland 2 v 0 Ipswich Town|
SkyBet League One
Saturday, 20th November 2021 Kick-off 15:00
Sunderland 2-0 Ipswich Town - Match Report
Saturday, 20th Nov 2021 17:07
Town were left rueing missed chances as Sunderland struck twice late on to claim a wholly unlikely 2-0 victory at the Stadium of Light. The Blues had a number of opportunities before the Black Cats netted via Luke O’Nien on 85 and an Aiden McGeady penalty in injury time, their only shots on target, to claim the three points.
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 McGeady was on the bench.
Dennis Cirkin was absent from the squad with 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.
Town began the second half very strongly with the Wearsiders unable to get out of their half. On 50, Donacien crossed from deep on the right and almost found Celina at the far post but a defender was just able to nod away in front of the Kosovan.
The home side started to show a little more but with their attacks coming to frustrating ends, as was audible from the home support and from manager Johnson, who kicked a ball which landed at his feet a long way back onto the field, earning an admonishing look from the referee.
In the 55th minute, Celina was booked after O’Nien took to the turf after the most minor contact between the two as they waited for the Blues to take a throw-in.
Three minutes later, Morsy shot wide after Edmundson had cut out a Sunderland attack and Edwards had tricked his way past his man and fed his captain.
Just before the hour mark, Donacien crossed from the right but just behind Bonne, whose header looped wide.
Sunderland, who had been woeful going forward since the break, introduced McGeady in the 63rd minute for Embleton. A minute later, Stewart was booked for tripping Edwards as the Blues were breaking.
There was a scare for the Blues in the 66th minute when Carl Winchester was fed in on the right of the box but Edmundson got across superbly to slide behind. The Black Cats were starting to show a threat for the first time since the break.
Town swapped Edwards, who had had a lively afternoon, and Celina, who will have been frustrated not to have found the net, for Scott Fraser and Conor Chaplin in the 69th minute.
Two minutes later, Edmundson outpaced Stewart as he chased a ball down the right channel, beat the Sunderland striker to it before nutmegging him, much to the delight of the Blues 2,000 travelling supporters.
In the 76th minute, the Wearsiders swapped skipper Evans for ex-Norwich midfielder Alex Pritchard.
The Blues had another great chance to go in front in the 78th minute when Fraser crossed from the left, Bonne and a defender battled for it and it fell to Aluko, who blazed well over, appearing to slip as he shot.
As the game moved into its final 10 minutes, Town switched Bonne for Joe Pigott and Sunderland Leon Dajaku for Broadhead.
Town were still looking much the more likely scorers and on 82 Chaplin rather wasted an opportunity after being played in in a promising position on the left of the box by Fraser.
But in the 85th minute the home side took the lead. Pritchard’s deep corner from the left looped over Walton and found O’Nien beyond the far post and his header back across goal found the net to send the Stadium of Light into raptures.
To the frustration of the Blues players and support, the goal was the Black Cats’ first attempt of the second half and their first on target all afternoon.
The goal gave the Wearsiders belief they’d not shown previously and just before the fourth official’s board indicated five additional minutes, Dajaku looped on to the bar, albeit having strayed offside.
Moments later, the Black Cats were awarded a penalty when Stewart’s shot struck Nsiala, who was standing just in front of him, and the referee somewhat harshly pointed to the spot for handball. McGeady converted from the spot to seal the three points for the home side.
Late on, a late looped effort from distance was sent wide of the Town goal with Walton not overly concerned. Seconds later the referee’s whistle ended the game with Nsiala, Pigott and Aluko all continuing to protest about the penalty with referee Nield.
A 2-0 defeat gives little impression of the game overall, the Black Cats scoring with both their shots on target in the final minutes.
Town will rue missing good chances in the first half and another opportunity, Aluko’s shot over, in a second which they had dominated until the closing stages.
On the overall balance of the game, the Blues deserved more than the draw in which the match looked likely to end but it’s goals that win games and they were the one thing missing from Town’s display.
The Blues, who have dropped to 10th, seven points off the play-offs, are next in action when Rotherham, second having beaten Cambridge 3-1 at home today, visit Portman Road on Tuesday evening.
Sunderland: Hoffmann, Winchester, Wright, Doyle, O'Nien, Evans (c) (Pritchard 76), Neil, Embleton (McGeady 63), Broadhead (Dajaku 80), Gooch, Stewart. Unused: Patterson, Flanagan, Alves, O'Brien.
Town: Walton, Donacien, Nsiala, Edmundson, Clements, Morsy (c), Evans, Aluko, Celina (Chaplin 69), Edwards (Fraser 69), Bonne (Pigott 80). Unused: Hladky, Vincent-Young, Burgess, El Mizouni. Referee: Tom Nield (West Yorkshire).
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