Ipswich Town 0-1 Sunderland: Spirited Blues beaten again as early Jackson red proves impossible to overcome
- Credit: Picture: Steve Waller www.stephenwaller.com
Ipswich Town put in a spirited display but never truly recovered from Kayden Jackson’s early red card, as Paul Lambert’s men went down at home to Sunderland.
The striker’s dismissal for a wild challenge on Bailey Wright, just 10 minutes in, was a hammer blow to the Blues on a night where they once again needed to prove they can cope with the biggest sides in League One.
To their credit, the remaining 10 Ipswich players worked hard throughout but, with no focal point in attack for much of the game, they carried little threat before Charlie Wyke put the visitors in front in first-half stoppage time.
That was another blow they never recovered from, with Luke Thomas having Ipswich’s best chance but not being able to find the back of the net with a curled effort from the edge of the box in the second half.
On a night when Ipswich again failed to beat a League One promotion contender, with that record now standing at four wins in 28 attempts over two seasons, the Blues slipped to 10th in the table to increase the pressure on Lambert.
Ipswich are five points off the play-off places and 10 from the top two, holding games in hand on many of those above them.
Next up is a trip to Crewe on Saturday.
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Lambert made four changes to his side for the Black Cats’ visit, with one dictated by injury as Toto Nsiala missed out with what is understood to be a muscle injury. Luke Woolfenden came in for him.
There was also a first start for Barnsley loanee Thomas as well as returns to the starting XI for Jon Nolan and Jackson after injury. Alan Judge, Teddy Bishop and Aaron Drinan dropped to the bench, where they were joined by teenager Elkan Baggott who was among the substitutes for the first time.
Sunderland arrived with an unbeaten away record in League One this season and had the game’s first opening as Mark McGuinness fouled Charlie Wyke on the edge of the box. Ipswich managed to deal with the resulting free-kick well enough but were soon under pressure again as their visitors targeted the Ipswich left flank.
The Blues’ front three of Jackson, Thomas and Gwion Edwards looked bright in the opening minutes, without testing the Sunderland goal, but the Ipswich task became significantly harder just nine minutes in when Jackson was dismissed after raking his studs down the shin of Bailey Wright as the pair crunched into a tackle. The Town striker looked shocked when the referee pulled out his red card, but replays showed it was deserved as he trudged off down the tunnel.
It left his side without a focal point, with Lambert resisting the urge to introduce Aaron Drinan and instead pushed Nolan up into a false nine role.
Town did have the first effort on target, though, with McGuinness heading into the arms of Lee Burge, before Wyke stabbed a deep cross wide of the post as he got ahead of Woolfenden.
It became an attack v defence exercise, with Ipswich working hard but never being able to make the ball stick in the final third as every loss of possession was greeted by a Sunderland attempt to build forward momentum from the back.
Tomas Holy’s first real action of the game saw him come off his line quickly beat Carl Winchester to the ball before pushing Wyke’s bundled effort away, before Edwards cutting inside and shooting into the side-netting on a rare Ipswich attack.
It looked as though the half was going to end with Town’s clean sheet still intact and the scores level, but there was a late sting as Sunderland probed once again down the Ipswich left where Max Power delivered an expert cross for Wyke to finish past Holy.
It was a hammer blow before the break, making an already uphill task that little bit tougher as Lambert left for the dressing room to try and rouse a response from his side.
Town had battled hard in the first-half and emerged for the second with the same 10 players, with Sunderland on the front foot from the off.
Lambert introduced Aaron Drinan on 55 minutes, with the Irishman poking towards goal a few minutes later, before the Blues’ first big chance of the game came and went. Dozzell made it, as an excellent dinked ball saw Thomas take the ball down on his chest and shape a shot which Burge was able to palm away.
That was ultimately as good as it got for Ipswich, who never lacked effort and created a few more openings without being able to threaten the visitors’ goal before falling to defeat.
Ipswich Town: Holy; Chambers, Woolfenden, McGuinness, Ward (Kenlock, 87); Downes, Dozzell, Nolan, (Drinan 55) Edwards (Sears, 87), Thomas (Bishop, 72); Jackson
Subs: Cornell, Baggott,Judge
Kayden Jackson sent off (10)
Sunderland: Burge; Winchester (Embleton, 46), Wright (Sanderson, 65), Willis, McFadzean, Leadbitter, Scowen, McGeady (Gooch, 79), Power, O'Brien (O'Nien 88), Wyke
Subs: Matthews, Diamond, Maguire