Sunderland were easily beaten this afternoon at the Stadium of Light, losing 2-0.
Despite an influx of new players the same defensive and goal-scoring problems remain, but poor results for our relegation rivals keep us in the race to stay in the Championship.
Sunderland: Lee Camp, Adam Matthews, Billy Jones, John O’Shea, Tyias Browning, Bryan Oviedo, Lee Cattermole, Ethan Robson, Ovie Ejaria, Joel Asoro, Ashley Fletcher.
Subs: Robbin Ruiter, Josh Maja, George Honeyman, Aiden McGeady, Lynden Gooch, Donald Love, Kazenga LuaLua
Ipswich: Bartosz Bialkowski, Jordan Spence, Luke Chambers, Cameron Carter-Vickers, Jonas Knudsen, Cole Skuse, Callum Connolly, Grant Ward, Freddie Sears, Martyn Waghorn, Joe Garner
Subs: Michael Crowe, Dominic Iorfa, Adam Webster, Bersant Celina, Luke Hyam, Stephen Gleeson, Mustapha Carayol
Chris Coleman handed debuts all three of his deadline day acquisitions as ‘keeper Lee Camp, youngster Ovie Ejaria and Boro man Ashley Fletcher were named on this afternoon’s team sheet.
Sunderland had an early chance to take the lead on four minutes as Bryan Oviedo threaded in Ovie Ejaria who turned in the box and let loose a shot, but the Liverpool loanee’s effort was blocked by the Ipswich bodies in the box.
The lads kept knocking on the door, though. Ejaria was amongst the action once again as he pinched the ball from the opposition and squared it to the advancing Adam Matthews, who made his way down the box before passing to Lee Cattermole who in turn found Ashley Fletcher.
The Boro man capped off a lovely Sunderland move by slipping in Joel Asoro, but the young Swede should’ve done better as his effort drifted agnoisingly wide of the far post.
Another opportunity for the home side came not too long after as Sunderland won a free-kick which was swung toward the far post by Oviedo - a diving header from Billy Jones missed the delivery by mere inches.
For the first half an hour the Black Cats were running the show, having chance after chance as Oviedo, Ejaria, Fletcher and Asoro terrorized their opposition.
Ipswich almost nabbed the opener against the run of play, however, when Asoro gave away a foul on the edge of the box. Former Sunderland man Martyn Waghorn nearly continued this season’s theme of former players haunting the club as he took the resulting free-kick which ricocheted off the bar.
Sunderland could’ve got their noses in front just after as Cameron Carter-Vickers let a high ball bounce, giving Fletcher the chance to capitalise on the defender’s indecision as he stole possession before letting loose a rather dangerous volley. Unfortunately, it was saved by opposition ‘keeper Bartosz Bilakowski.
The deadlock would be broken on thirty-five minutes, but it wouldn’t be Sunderland breaking it.
Jones gave Ipswich’s Joe Garner all the time in the world in the box, as the Tractor Boys’ striker turned and shot into the bottom right corner with infuriating ease as the visitors got a goal with their first shot on target.
Of course, things then went from bad to worse - because why the hell wouldn’t they?
Ipswich doubled their lead in the dying seconds of the first half as Adam Matthews fumbled Grant Ward’s cross into his own net, amid a mix-up with himself and on-loan ‘keeper Lee Camp.
Boos resonated around the ground as the half-time whistle blew, with the Sunderland fans now reading from a script they’d been handed far too many times before.
HT: Sunderland 0-2 Ipswich Town (Garner 35’, Matthews OG 45+1’)
Sunderland clearly lacked the flair they started the first half with, and what chances they had were without the cutting edge we saw in the opening thirty minutes.
Fletcher gave the lads’ their first sight of hope in the closing interval as he made a marauding run forward and won a corner. Unfortunately, Oviedo swung the set-piece harmlessly out of play - the Costa Rican would continue to do this for the remainder of the game.
Substitute Kazenga LuaLua had a chance to pull one back as Bilakowski punched a ball into his path during a goalmouth scramble, but the former Brighton man’s effort couldn’t make its way through the bodies in the box.
Another substitute, George Honeyman, also gave his side an opportunity to find the net as he scooped a delivery over the Ipswich heads and into the path of Fletcher, but the ball just managed to elude him and was gthered by the Ipswich ‘keeper.
LuaLua fired off a powerful effort from twenty yards out just after seventy minutes had elapsed which Bilakowski could only parry. Nothing came of the rebound, however.
Sunderland-born Waghorn should’ve killed off the game on seventy-five minutes. He went one on one with Camp but sent the ball wide of the right post.
As the game ticked on toward its conclusion, Sunderland fizzled out as the prophecy of that same old script was once again realized. As it stands, relegation is most certainly nailed on.
FT: Sunderland 0-2 Ipswich Town (Garner 35’, Matthews OG 45+1’)
Lee Camp - 4/10: Not good. Based on this performance I couldn’t say that he’s any better or worse than Ruiter.
Adam Matthews - 4/10: Average overall but trundled the ball into his own net at the end of the first half.
Billy Jones - 2/10: Dire.
John O’Shea - 5/10: Decent, I suppose.
Tyias Browning - 5/10: Same as above.
Bryan Oviedo - 3/10: Looked briefly threatening in the first half but seemed to forget how to pass a ball in the second.
Lee Cattermole - 3/10: Managed to look more and more off the pace with each passing second.
Ethan Robson - 5/10: Was alright. Didn’t deserve to be subbed as much as Cattermole did.
Ovie Ejaria - 5/10: Caused a lot of problems in the thirty minutes where we actually looked like a good team, but faded out of the game afterward.
Joel Asoro - 4/10: More or less the same as above, but loses a point for missing a good opportunity in that aforementioned half hour.
Ashley Fletcher - 5/10: Yet another one that started well and fizzled out.
(SUB) George Honeyman - 4/10: Didn’t do much wrong but didn’t do enough right.
(SUB) Kazenga LuaLua - 5/10: Had a few chances but ultimately nothing came of them.
(SUB) Aiden McGeady - 4/10: Just generally not very effectual.
Man of the Match: Ovie Ejaria, I guess.