Sunderland ground out a one nil win over Ipswich at a blustery SOL on Saturday thanks to a spectacular second half strike from Chris Maguire which sees Phil Parkinson’s side move back into the playoff places. Phil Parkinson's side were second best for the opening half of the game but improved after the break and sealed a deserved victory having struck the woodwork twice in the second half before Maguire’s strike.
Phil Parkinson named an unchanged side as Sunderland looked to bounce back from the defeat last weekend at Portsmouth. The visitors got the game underway kicking towards the North Stand with a long ball down the left but O’Nien was fouled and we were awarded a free kick. It came to nothing but we then forced an early corner after Wyke did well to win a punt forward from O’Nien but Willis headed Maguire’s cross wide.
The visitors had the first sight of goal inside ten minutes after Kenlock was found in acres of space down the left wing but O’Nien got back well to block his shot with a sliding tackle. We went down the other end and had the ball in the back of the net after Wyke poked home a cross from Maguire but the linesman had already flagged the Sunderland striker offside.
Ipswich went close again in their next attack and again the danger came down the left wing but Will Keane nodded over the bar. Just before the fifteen minute mark Ipswich had another decent chance when Norwood outpaced Willis but McLaughlin got a touch on his attempted lob before Willis got back to clear the danger.
Luke O’Nien was then booked after twenty minutes after he clattered into an Ipswich player trying to win a corner. The visitors then fashioned another chance after a bit of a scramble in our box before Donacien tried an effort but it was deflected clear. Ipswich’s Downes was then booked for dissent after the ref penalised Skuse for a foul on Wyke on the halfway line as the scrappy game threatened to boil over.
The visitors continued to be the dominant side and Keane headed another effort over after a cross from the right as Parkinson’s side struggled to get a foothold in the game. We managed a shot five minutes before the break when Dobson found space on the edge of the box but he skewed a left footed effort well wide which epitomised Sunderland’s lacklustre first half showing.
Neither side made changes but Sunderland did begin the second half brighter going immediately on the attack with Hume seeing a shot blocked. Soon after Sunderland should have taken the lead after Gooch went on a dribble which saw him beat about four challenges only to see his left footed effort strike the base of the post. The rebound fell invitingly to Wyke six yards from goal but his tame effort was saved by the keeper when it looked easier to score.
Wyke then did well to win a free kick on the edge of the box but Maguire’s effort struck the wall before Hume drove the loose ball goal wards but was denied by a block. Power then went close when he clipped the ball towards goal but the keeper tipped his effort over.
With half an hour remaining Ipswich were awarded an indirect free kick on our six yard box after Flanagan was adjudged to have passed the ball back to McLaughlin. The free kick was laid off and blasted towards goal by Norwood but his wild effort was off target with the ball ricocheting off one of his team mates for a goal kick.
Sunderland went close again at the other end with twenty minutes remaining after a sustained spell of pressure from the lads saw Hume cross the ball into the box for Wright. Wright blasted the ball at goal beating the keeper but striking the bar which prompted Ipswich manager Paul Lambert into a double substitution. Parkinson made his first change with ten minutes left with Kyle Lafferty replacing Denver Hume.
The change paid off immediately as Sunderland took the lead through Chris Maguire who blasted the ball into the bottom right hand corner after being teed up by Lafferty. It was a well deserved goal from Sunderland after a much improved second half showing but also another spectacular strike from Maguire who found the net again from outside the box.
We had a bit of defending to do late on as Ipswich pushed for an equaliser but we did this well and on one attack Flanagan especially did well to get back and deny Jackson who had a run on goal despite looking miles offside.
There was four minutes added time during which Downes blazed over the bar but the lads held on for the win.
Final Score: Sunderland 1 Ipswich Town 0
ALS Man of the Match: Chris Maguire
Ratings vs Ipswich
By Daniel McCallum
Jon McLaughlin (6/10): A very simple game for McLaughlin but marred by a stupid moment of madness, picking the hall up from a Flanagan back pass.
Luke O’Nien (6/10): Exposed defensively at times but got forward well with some good link up play.
Jordan Willis (7/10): Switched on at all times and his pace bailed us out at times in the first half.
Bailey Wright (6/10): Did the basics well.
Tom Flanagan (7/10): Walked through the game and covered at left side well when Hume went forward.
Denver Hume (6/10): Struggled in the first half but grew into it.
George Dobson (7/10): Kept things ticking over and switched the ball well with some good vision. Helped us press high in the second half.
Max Power (7/10): Vocal as always and made sure we weren’t over-run in midfield.
Lynden Gooch (7/10): Hit the post in a moment of brilliance and worked hard throughout.
Chris Maguire (7/10): Wonderful finish for the winner. Seemed really frustrated in the first half but every time he gives the ball away is worth it for match-winning goals like that.
Charlie Wyke (5/10): Struggled in the air and missed a golden opportunity in the rebound after Gooch hit the post. Time to see Lafferty start on Tuesday?
Kyle Lafferty (7/10): Held up the ball well and caused the defence problems in the late stages.
Conor McLaughlin (N/A): Nice to see him back on the pitch after a long run of not being involved.