Sunderland 0-2 Ipswich Town: Blues secure first win at Stadium of Light through Garner strike and Matthews own goal
PUBLISHED: 16:52 03 February 2018 | UPDATED: 18:05 03 February 2018
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Ipswich Town secured their first ever victory at the Stadium of Light as a Joe Garner strike and an Adam Matthews own goal secured a 2-0 victory over Sunderland.
The Blues headed to the North East with just one win in their last eight games, but left with three points after they scored two goals in a game for the first time since December 16.
The first came through Garner, as he brought the ball down well, secured possession and turned to fire low into the bottom corner, on an afternoon when the former Rangers man and Grant Ward were the pick of the Town performers.
The second came through Ward’s persistence down the right, as he beat his man and sent in a driven cross which bounced in off Matthews with Freddie Sears in the vicinity.
It was a good away performance from the Blues, as they managed to survive moments of home pressure, frustrated an already restless home crowd and hit their opponents on the break when they needed to.
It leaves them 12th in the Championship table, eight points off the final play-off place – just as they were at the start of the day.
Much of the pre-match talk surrounded the inclusion of Sears, who started in place of Bersant Celina having not scored in 292 days, but the former Colchester man started brightly and chased a ball into a corner before hooking a cross into the box which Garner had deflected behind.
Ipswich had early pressure, but it was Sunderland who were presented with the first real opening as the ball was slipped in behind for Joel Asoro, but the young Swede could only drag his shot wide of the far post despite being clean through on Bartosz Bialkowski.
The Black Cats were beginning to purr, with debutants Ashley Fletcher and Ovie Ejaria pulling the strings and stretching the Blues backline, with centre-half Billy Jones the next to be presented with a chance, only for the defender to head wide.
The hosts were on top but Town were able to threaten on the break, with Sears superbly holding off Ethan Robson to create a two on one situation, but his pass to Ward was poor and Town’s only reward was a free-kick on the edge if the box following Asoro’s foul.
The resulting set-piece saw Waghorn, a former Sunderland youngster, crack his free-kick against the angle of post and bar, but the hosts were soon back on the front foot as John O’Shea headed a Bryan Oviedo corner just wide under little Town pressure.
Chris Coleman’s men couldn’t make their chances count and were punished when the excellent Garner started and finished a move which saw him chest down a Jonas Knudsen header, secure the ball with his back to goal and turn and fire low past Lee Camp from the edge of the box.
The striker charged to the Ipswich bench after his goal, not to gain the acclaim of his manager but for a drink of water, leaving his team-mates to celebrate, and they would do so again before half time.
Grant Ward made it, as he stretched his man, got to the byline and pulled the ball into the six-yard box, where it evaded Camp and bobbled home off of Matthews. Sears was in the vicinity and got a touch on its way to goal but, despite being mobbed by his team-mates, he wasn’t in a hurry to celebrate what ultimately went down as an own goal.
The hosts were booed off at the break and discontent continued to grow at the Stadium of Light as the game slipped away from them, although legitimate penalty calls were waved away when Knudsen had looked to handle a cross from substitute George Honeyman.
Waghorn’s eyes lit up as he was sent through by Garner, one-on-one against Camp, but the Sunderland product could only bundle his shot wide as he missed the chance to score against the club which gave him his first opportunity in the game.
Sunderland huffed and puffed late on but there was nothing doing as the Blues left with the points.
Sunderland: Camp, Jones, O’Shea, Browning; Matthews (McGeady), Oviedo; Robson (Honeyman 57), Cattermole, Ejaria; Asoro (LuaLua 57), Fletcher
Subs not used: Ruiter, Maja, Gooch, Dove
Ipswich Town: Bialkowski; Spence, Carter-Vickers, Chambers, Knudsen; Skuse (Hyam 83), Connolly; Ward (Gleeson 74), Waghorn, Sears; Garner (Webster 90)
Subs not used: Crowe, Iorfa, Celina, Carayol
Goals: Garner 35, Matthews og 45