Sunderland 1 Ipswich Town 0

Last updated : 13 January 2007 By Footymad Previewer
Sunderland survived intense second-half pressure to overcome a resolute Ipswich Town at the Stadium of Light.

David Connolly scored the only goal of the game in the 13th minute to take over as the Black Cats leading goalscorer, in a match that never reached any great heights.

Newcomers Jonny Evans, Carlos Edwards and Anthony Stokes all made their home debut for the Black Cats, with the latter pair playing their part in Connolly opening the scoring in the 13th minute.

Edwards released Stokes down the right and the £2million signing from Arsenal earlier in the week crossed for the lurking Connolly to easily net his sixth goal of the season.

Connolly was desperately unlucky not to have put the home side into an eighth minute lead, his shot on the turn blocked by the outstretched legs of goalkeeper Lewis Price.

And just seconds before the goal, Ross Wallace, switched to left-back, surged forward to test Price with a fierce 25-yars drive.

Grant Leadbitter, who earlier in the week signed an extended two-year contract, fires over the bar after Connolly had won in the air from a Dean Whitehead free-kick.

Sunderland had three strong claims for a penalty turned down, the clearest when a close-range shot from Stokes struck Richard Naylor, but referee Lee Mason was not impressed.

Town gradually came into a game made increasingly difficult by a swirling wind, with Gary Roberts hitting a powerful drive off target and a corner from Gavin Williams being headed just past the upright by Sylvain Legwinski.

Darren Ward comfortably saved a Williams free-kick and Matt Richards twice had shots charged down as the Tractor Boys finished the first half strongly.

And they kept on the attack after the break, forcing the home side to defend desperately at times without seriously testing goalkeeper Ward.

The Black Cats keeper, however, was fortunate not to be penalised for a challenge on Legwinski that sent the Ipswich player sprawling in the box and the introduction of the lively Danny Haynes just after the hour caused further problems.

The substitute broke clear on the left and when Ward could only partially his close-range effort, Evans came to the rescue with a goal line clearance.

Roy Keane sent on Daryl Murphy and Danny Collins in an attempt to regain the initiative and with the visitors pushing hard for the equaliser, gaps began to appear at the back.

Price made diving saves from Connolly and late substitute Stephen Elliott, but it was closer still at the other end when Naylor was just off-target after a free-kick was charged down.