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Ipswich Town 1-1 Sunderland - Half-Time
Saturday, 13th Jan 2024 18:30

Jack Clarke gave Sunderland the lead on 26 bbut Kayden Jackson levelled for the Blues seven minutes later to leave the scoreline 1-1 between Town and the Black Cats at half-time at Portman Road.

New loan signing Lewis Travis was handed his Town debut as manager Kieran McKenna made seven changes from the team which beat AFC Wimbledon 3-1 in the FA Cup last week and three from the side which drew 0-0 at Stoke in the last Championship fixture on New Year’s Day.

Vaclav Hladky was in goal with Davis at left-back, Harry Clarke right-back and Luke Woolfenden and George Edmundson at the heart of the defence.

Travis was joined in central midfield by Jack Taylor with skipper Sam Morsy suspended and Massimo Luongo absent from the 20-man squad due to what McKenna described as an innocuous ankle injury picked up in training on Thursday.

Conor Chaplin captained in the three with former Sunderland loanee Nathan Broadhead on his left and Wes Burns on the right behind Kayden Jackson. Town’s other January signing, Jeremy Sarmiento, was on the bench.

The Wearsiders made one change from the team which lost 3-0 at home to Newcastle in the FA Cup last week and beat Preston 2-0 on New Year’s Day with Abdoullah Ba replacing Nazariy Rusyn.

Town saw most of the ball in opening few minutes but rarely venturing into the opposition territory and causing no danger with Sunderland happy to sit in their half.

And it was the Black Cats who struck the first shot of the game in the fifth minute, Alex Pritchard blazing over from outside the area to the right.

Sunderland went closer a minute later after Harry Clarke lost out to Aji Alese on the visitors’ left from where the ball was cut back to Jobe Bellingham, whose shot was saved by Hladky with the Blues eventually, after some hesitation, getting the ball away.

Town created their first chance in the eighth minute, Burns sending over a dangerous low cross from the right, but just too far in front of the sliding Jackson.

The Blues were having plenty of the ball but still largely deep in their own half with Sunderland allowing them to keep it in those areas.

But on the quarter hour Jackson won the ball as Sunderland sought to bring it out from the edge of their area. Chaplin played it wide to Burns, whose low cross found Taylor, but the former Peterborough midfielder’s shot was blocked.

The loose ball ran to Chaplin, whose effort was crowded out, then from the floor the stand-in skipper had another go before the ball ran back out to Burns. The Welshman’s ball into the box was smashed against a Sunderland player by a teammate but eventually the danger was cleared.

Four minutes later, Davis took a throw-in on the left to Broadhead, who played on to Chaplin in the area, the former Pompey man laying it off first time to Jackson, whose effort looked to scuff wide off a defender but referee Sam Allison gave a goalkick, much to Chaplin’s annoyance.

Harry Clarke was shown the game’s first yellow card in the 24th minute for a foul on Bellingham just over halfway with the Town man aggrieved, with reason as he appeared to have got a touch on the ball.

Following the free-kick, Sunderland forced Hladky into his first serious save of the game, the ball having been played to Jack Clarke on their left from where he hit a low shot which the Czech keeper did well to divert over the bar with his feet.

But in the aftermath of the resultant corner, in the 26th minute, the Wearsiders went in front. Ba dribbled his way in from the right along the edge of the penalty area and laid it off to Clarke, who smashed an unstoppable strike past Hladky.

Two minutes after going behind, the Blues went close to levelling. Harry Clarke was played in on the right of the box and struck a low shot from a tight angle which Anthony Patterson in the Sunderland goal turned just past the post with his fingertips.

And in the 33rd minute, with Portman Road having become a little flat and Sunderland voices most audible, Town did get back on terms.

Woolfenden picked up a long clearance on halfway following a Town attack and gave it to Travis, who played a quick forward pass which caught Pierre Ekwah, diverting it between the two centre-halves and putting Jackson through on goal in the area, and the striker made no mistake to claim his third goal of the season.

Having equalised, Town went looking to get in front and in the 40th minute, after some less than decisive Sunderland defending, Jackson well wide shot on the turn under pressure from a Burns pass from eight yards.

That was the last chance of an entertaining half with the scoreline not an unfair reflection, although the Blues will feel they had controlled more of the game, while both keepers had made one significant save in addition to the goals they had conceded.

Town: Hladky, Clarke, Woolfenden, Edmundson, Davis, Travis, Taylor, Burns, Chaplin (c), Broadhead, Jackson. Subs: Walton, Tuanzebe, Ball, Humphreys, Harness, Hutchinson, Sarmiento, Aluko, Ladapo. 

Sunderland: Patterson, Hume, Ballard, O’Nien (c), Alese, Neil, Ekwah, Pritchard, Bellingham, Clarke, Ba. Subs: Bishop, Seelt, Triantis, Matete, Bennette, Aouchiche, Burstow, Rusyn, Hemir. Referee: Sam Allison (Wiltshire).

Photo: Matchday Images

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TimmyH added 18:31 - Jan 13
Very sporadic from both sides...even at half-time is about right.

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