since 1878

Sunderland (1) 4 - 1 (1) Ipswich Town

FA Carling Premiership 2000-01

Monday, January 1, 2001

Referee: N Barry

Manager: Unknown

Stadium of Light

Attendance: 48,053

Manager: George Burley

Match Number: 2882

























Match Report

Town miss out on second spot

We missed the chance to go second, and suffered our worse defeat of the season. Ipswich crumbled to their heaviest defeat of the season on New Year's Day, going down 4-1 away to Sunderland. The Stadium of Light became the Stadium of Fright for Town fans, as they watched their team turn in an x-rated horror show. Kevin Phillips was the Star for Sunderland. The man who looked so poor earlier on in the season at Portman Road, almost single-handedly masterminded the Black Cat's victory, and once more underlined his England credentials. This is our first real disaster of the season, and not exactly the right way to start the New Year. The defeat sees Sunderland leapfrog the Blues into third place in the Premier League, and will certainly give Burley and his men something to think about. Ipswich started, (as predicted brilliantly by myself!) unchanged from the Spurs game, with the exception of Reuser, who was perhaps unfairly swapped for the more defensive Jamie Clapham. The margin of defeat seemed very unlikely, when, after only 4 minutes, Town actually took the lead through Marcus Stewart. An Ipswich ‘classic' saw the blues break with pace from defence. A terrific pass from Wilnis down the line released Holland. He sped along with wing in a similar fashion to the first goal against Spurs, before picking out an unmarked Stewart. The goal was inevitable, as Stewart calmly clipped the ball over an on-rushing Thomas Sorensen. After the goal, both teams continued to look lively, and while Sunderland were beginning to look more dominant as the game went on, Ipswich were generally giving as good as they got at this stage. After 25 minutes, Sunderland got their equaliser. Venus was judged to have pushed Dichio, and Neale Barry awarded a free kick. It looked a terrible decision, as Venus appeared to get the better of Dichio. But roar of disapproval from the Sunderland fans obviously swayed another weak-minded ref. Arca brilliantly curled an unbeatable shot over the wall and into the top corner, but he should never have been given the opportunity in the first place. It looked as if Town had retaken the lead after 34 minutes, when the ball was bundled in the net from a corner. But Bramble was alleged to have punched the ball in, and the youngster was booked for his effort. Just before half time, Philips fired a shot over the bar, but few could complain about the score, as the teams trooped off for their half time cuppa at 1-1. Sunderland came out for the second half much brighter than Town, and never allowed the Blues to regain momentum. They deservedly took the lead when Dichio combined well with Phillips. A static defence watched as Phillips raced through, and finished with style. Once again, Titus Bramble was being blamed for poor marking, and this is proving to become a bit of a flaw in the highly talented youngster's game. Six minutes later the game was all but over, as Town conceded another. It was Phillips again, whom easily beat Venus to the ball. This time it was his turn to feed his strike partner, and Dichio picked his spot from close range. A lack lustre Ipswich never really threatened to get back into it, although goal efforts did come from Armstrong, Stewart, and later, Reuser. The misery was piled on for Town in the 88th minute, when Sunderland bagged their 4th, after more weak defending. A cross that should have been easily cleared found Stefan Schwarz in the box. His weak shot somehow skipped past Wright, although to be fair, he could have been unsighted. Final Score: Sunderland 4, Ipswich 1. This defiantly seemed to be an ‘after the lord mayor's show' performance from Town, after totally bewildering Spurs on Saturday. We have been going so well recently, that perhaps the players were a bit to confident going into this one. The size of the defeat will hopefully serve as a wake up call, and keep the players feet planted firmly on the ground. While this was easily the worst performance of the season, and not the sort we have become accustomed to, it would be fair to also point out that after taking the lead, nothing went right for Town, and the margin of defeat is somewhat misleading. Indeed we were unlucky to concede the equaliser, which certainly rejuvenated Sunderland. While some will now expect us slide down the table, every team has an off day, and maybe it time we had a poor result. I would be very surprised if this defeat is anything other than a blip, and may even do us some good. From a tactical point of view, Burley got it wrong. I think it's time to bring back McGreal in defence. Bramble is a genius in the making, but he is still very raw around the edges. His schoolboy lapses (and lets be honest, that is literally what he is at the moment) have cost Town several goals recently. He should be given a rest for a few games. Martijn Reuser must be gutted at being left out, and while you can understand the reasons for playing Clapham, he must be given a chance to start again. Jim Magilton was on the bench, but if he was fit, why was he not returned? His influence was defiantly missing at Sunderland. But the defeat should give everyone something to think about, and hopefully ensure we do not have any eggs-on-faces next week at Morecambe.

From The Terrace

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