Ipswich Town Get Up And Running In The Championship With Victory Over Sunderland

Nathan Broadhead and George Hirst were on the scoresheet for the Tractor Boys
19:14, 06 Aug 2023

Goals from Nathan Broadhead and George Hirst got Ipswich Town off to a strong start in the Championship as they defeated 10-men Sunderland 2-1 at the Stadium of Light on Sunday.

After a stunning campaign to finish second in League One last term, some people are expecting big things from Kieran McKenna’s side this season in the Championship after four years away. It’s understandable, they have one of the brightest young coaches in the country and an exciting squad that is filled with goals (101 in League One last year to be precise). 

It was a good first impression back in the second tier from McKenna’s men as they extended their unbeaten run going back to the 2022-23 campaign to 20 matches with this triumph over Sunderland. It was also their second win at the Stadium of Light in 11 fixtures in the EFL.


Beating a side that were in the Championship play-offs last year is an excellent way to get your campaign up and running and Ipswich managed to do so without number one goalkeeper Christian Walton and key defender Harry Clarke. McKenna will be pleased with how his side performed without these integral figures. Understudy goalkeeper Vaclav Hladky pulled off some huge stops late in the game to help secure three points for the Tractor Boys.

Ipswich had to weather an early storm in the north east but when they did get in and around the final third, they caused Sunderland some serious problems. Hirst, Broadhead and Conor Chaplin’s link-up play was mesmerising at times, despite having to feed off scraps for most of the first half, and it is something that we can get used to seeing in the second tier this year.

Sunderland debutant Jobe Bellingham had a great opportunity to put the Black Cats ahead from a rebound but his strike sailed over the crossbar. The teenager did however, give a good first impression in his new colours and added an interesting dynamic to Tony Mowbray’s attack.


Just before the break, Ipswich took the lead. Former Sunderland man Broadhead was well-positioned to direct Leif Davis’ strike into the back of the net as goalkeeper Anthony Patterson had  committed himself. This only spurred the Tractor Boys on in the second half as they took control of proceedings. Broadhead turned provider as Ipswich doubled their advantage minutes after the restart. He played an exquisite through ball into the path of Hirst, who made no mistake to put the ball past Patterson.

Sunderland had lost the momentum they had at the beginning of the game and they started to become rattled. This was telling when defender Trai Hume was given his marching orders for a second bookable offence after pulling down Davis. 

This could’ve easily let Sunderland’s heads drop but they continued to try and find an avenue back into the match. The fans were given some hope as Dan Neil turned in Dennis Cirkin’s cross to halve the deficit late on to add some extra drama to the 13 minutes of injury time that were looming.

The goal and the extensive added time instilled some much-needed life into Sunderland, who had not been as lively since their bright period right at the start of the afternoon on Wearside.

Despite having the extra man, Ipswich had to defend for their lives as Sunderland delivered a barrage of attacks. In a rare break forward, the visitors had the opportunity to put the game to bed. Substitute Freddie Ladapo had the chance to square the ball to Dominic Ball for a tap-in but instead opted for the shot which failed to hit the target. His teammate, as you can imagine, was furious. Down at the other end, Neil almost levelled the game at the death but his effort was denied by the woodwork as Ipswich held on for a valuable three points.

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