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Match Reports


18 December 2021

Honours even in front of bumper crowd

New manager Kieran McKenna joined over 29,000 others inside a packed out Portman Road as Town were held to a draw by Sunderland.

With Berke Bakay and Mark Detmer also in attendance for the first time, James Norwood headed the Blues into a deserved lead just before the break but Nathan Broadhead's equaliser early in the second half saw the game end level.

Town were boosted by the return of Wes Burns after the wideman had been absent for just over a month through injury.

Wes Burns vs Sunderland (H).jpg

In what was his final game in charge, interim manager also brought Luke Woolfenden, Matt Penney, Sone Aluko and James Norwood back into a League One starting XI.

Buoyed by the bumper crowd, Town began well and created a good chance to take the lead with just over nine minutes played. Burns raced down the right wing before his cross found Penney at the back post, but his opposite wing-back's volley hit the ground and bounced over the top of the crossbar.

The Blues continued to dominate, George Edmundson heading wide from a corner before Burns saw a low shot blocked.

A lengthy stoppage followed, Leon Dajaku receiving treatment before being unable to continue following a hard but fair challenge from Lee Evans.

Town deservedly moved in front at the beginning of seven minutes of first half additional time. Macauley Bonne reached the by-line on the right side of the box before his drilled cross deflected into the area. Norwood rose highest to head off the underside of the crossbar and into the back of the net from just inside the six-yard box.

James Norwood goal vs Sunderland (H).jpg

Sunderland equalised less than five minutes after the restart. Dan Neil played Broadhead in behind the defence and the striker coolly slotted past Christian Walton to level proceedings with what was the visitors' first chance of any note.

The Black Cats' best spell of the afternoon followed, Walton making himself big to deny Ross Stewart from inside the area.

Town rallied, though, with Sone Aluko seeing a shot blocked from 30 yards upon the hour-mark before, 10 minutes later, substitute Kane Vincent-Young bent an effort just wide of the far corner.

Vincent-Young was causing problems down the left side again as the game entered the final 10 minutes, reaching the by-line and finding fellow sub Conor Chaplin, who had a left-footed effort blocked from eight yards.

Town: Walton, Donacien, Woolfenden, Edmundson, Burns, Aluko, Morsy (C), Evans, Penney (Vincent-Young 63'), Bonne, Norwood (Chaplin 69'). 

Subs: Hladky, Burgess, Carroll, Fraser, Pigott.

Booked: Burns.

Sunderland: Hoffman, Flanagan, Doyle, Dajaku (Hume 41'), Broadhead (O'Brien 87'), Gooch, Stewart, Winchester, Pritchard (Embleton 63'), Neil, Wright (C).

Subs: Patterson, Alves, Younger, Kimpioka.

Booked: Winchester, Flanagan, Stewart.

Attendance: 29,005 (2,023 away).

Directors' box cele vs Sunderland (H).jpg

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