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Sunderland 0-1 Ipswich Town - Half-Time
Sunday, 6th Aug 2023 18:02

Nathan Broadhead’s injury-time goal has given Town a 1-0 half-time lead over Sunderland at the Stadium of Light.

Vaclav Hladky, Janoi Donacien, Massimo Luongo and Broadhead were all handed starts for the Blues.

Hladky came in for the injured Christian Walton in goal for only his second league start since Kieran McKenna took over as manager, while Donacien was at right-back with Harry Clarke suspended.

Luongo was over the groin problem he picked up at Cambridge to take his place in central midfield and former Black Cats loanee Broadhead was similarly fit after suffering a quad injury against Luton.

Luke Woolfenden and Cameron Burgess were the centre-halves with Leif Davis at left-back, while skipper Sam Morsy joining Luongo in the middle of midfield.

Wes Burns was on the right and Broadhead the left with Conor Chaplin behind George Hirst, making his first appearance as a full-time Town player.

Among the nine subs, of which five could be utilised, were summer signings Cieran Slicker, Jack Taylor and Omari Hutchinson.

Among Sunderland’s starters were close season additions Jobe Bellingham as their number 10 in a 4-2-3-1 and striker Hemir, also known as Luis Semedo.

The home side saw most of the ball in the opening couple of minutes with keeper Hladky making a nervous start when he misp bylaced a pass, gifting the ball to the Black Cats, an incident which led to a free-kick but Jack Clarke’s set piece in from the left was nodded away Morsy.

Town continued to look jittery on their return to the Championship in front of 40,000 fans, giving the ball away far too easily around their penalty area and struggling to keep hold of the ball.

On 11, Dan Neil struck a shot from the edge of the box which deflected for a corner, which Morsy again cleared.

Town had shown nothing as an attacking threat but in the 14th minute they almost went in front.

Chaplin and Broadhead combined, the latter playing it wide to his Welsh colleague Burns on the right from where he sent over a cross which reached Davis. The Newcastle fan smashed a low shot across goal and towards the corner of the net, however, home skipper Luke O’Nien somehow cleared it off the line and out for a corner.

From the flag-kick, Town went close again. After the ball had been cleared back out to the right, Donacien sent it back in and it reached Burns via Morsy. The Welshman hit a crisp low first-time left-footed shot but too close to Anthony Patterson, who claimed.

Sunderland were next to threaten, Woolfenden turning behind a cross from the left after the Wearsiders had worked their way to the byline.

The Black Cats should have taken the lead in the 23rd minute when Pierre Ekwah unleashed a 25-yard strike which Hladky batted away down to his left. However, the ball fell to Bellingham, who sent his first-time rebound well over the bar when he will feel he really should have done better.

Moments later, Town created another opportunity, Chaplin feeding Burns on the right and the former Fleetwood man cutting inside towards Hirst, who briefly had a clear sight of goal but got the ball caught under his feet as it and Sunderland defenders arrived.

The Blues were continuing to give the ball away in their own half in an uncharacteristic manner in as poor an opening spell to a game as they’ve had since McKenna took charge and had yet to have a lengthy spell in possession. However, they had looked very dangerous on the rare occasions they had had the ball in the final third.

As the game moved towards the half hour, Neil struck a low effort which Hladky watched past his right post.

On 32, Trai Hume was shown the afternoon’s first yellow card for a cynical foul on Luongo as the Australian burst away from him just over halfway.

Two minutes later, Town, who had started to come more into the game, went close again, Burns crossing from the right before Broadhead teed-up Chaplin, whose low shot clipped a Sunderland heel and just flew wide of the post.

Burns joined Hume in referee Sam Barrott’s book in the 35th minute for a foul on Clarke, the Wales international having also committed an earlier transgression.

Following the free-kick, the ball ran loose inside the Town box but it was cleared before a Sunderland player could seize upon it.

The Black Cats claimed a penalty in the 41st minute when Donacien challenged Clarke on the right of the Town box. It looked shoulder to shoulder, but, as home fans appealed for a spot-kick, referee Barrott gave a free-kick to the Blues for a dive, although failed to issue a yellow card.

As the fourth official announced two minutes of additional time, the Blues took the lead. Donacien sent over a long throw from the right, Burgess flicked it on and it reached Davis just outside the area on the left. The full-back struck a shot which Broadhead appeared to divert past the wrong-footed Patterson and beat the keeper to his right.

Broadhead, a former Sunderland loanee, conspicuously tempered his celebration against his old club as his teammates joined him to the left of goal with the Town support in the top tier above them.

The Blues threatened again in the closing moments, Hirst having the ball taken away from him just as he looked to shoot from the edge of the box.

Despite having made a very nervy and under-par start with the difference in class of opposition from League One palpable, the Blues always looked a threat on the few occasions they had had the ball in the final third.

They had ridden their luck at the other end, but might well have gone in in front before Broadhead’s goal, which initially looked fortuitous but was actually sharp work from the forward.

The goal should give Town confidence going into what looks set to be a tough second half.

Sunderland: Patterson, Hume, Ballard, O’Nien, Cirkin, Neil, Ekwah, Roberts, Bellingham, Clarke, Hemir. Subs: Bishop, Triantis, Batth, Gooch, Huggins, Rigg, Ba, Bennette, Pritchard.

Town: Hladky, Donacien, Woolfenden, Burgess, Burns, Morsy, Luongo, Davis, Chaplin, Broadhead, Hirst. Subs: Slicker, Leigh, Ball, Evans, Taylor, Harness, Hutchinson, Jackson, Ladapo. Referee: Sam Barrott (West Riding).

Photo: Matchday Images

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Robert_Garrett added 19:10 - Aug 6
Pity townTV isnt working for us ex-Pats?

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