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3 things we clearly learnt about Sunderland after their 2-0 win v Ipswich



League One outfit Sunderland managed to get themselves back on track yesterday against a fellow promotion rival in Ipswich Town, winning 2-0 against Paul Cook’s men and re-establishing themselves as serious promotion candidates.

In the end, it proved to be perseverance that was key for the Black Cats, taking the lead in the 85th minute through Luke O’Nien before grabbing a second in stoppage time through Aiden McGeady’s penalty.

Losing their last three league matches prior to this game, suffering a disappointing loss 1-0 home loss against then-strugglers Charlton Athletic before heavy away losses at Rotherham United and Sheffield Wednesday, these three points will be precious going into a very winnable game against Shrewsbury Town in midweek as they look to build on this victory.

Quiz: Have Sunderland ever won an away game at each of these 20 stadiums?

1 of 20

Newcastle - St. James' Park?

This win elevates the Black Cats back into the top six after their recent decline, with games in hand over fellow promotion rivals MK Dons and Wycombe Wanderers potentially key in their quest to fight for a top-two spot once again.

With 30 games left to go, one 90 minutes of football won’t determine the course of their season, but a win against a fellow promotion competitor in Ipswich, whose squad have impressive strength in depth, will be a real boost for their upcoming fixtures.

After this weekend’s victory, we have selected just three things we learnt about Lee Johnson’s men over the course of the match.

Hoffmann will be key to their top-six chances

Ron-Thorben Hoffmann was excellent against Cook’s men, making an impressive triple save in the first half to keep the tie level and that gave the Black Cats the platform to go and win all three points.

The German may have been questioned for his unconvincing performance against Rotherham United late last month, clearly being at fault for the Millers’ fifth after failing to get the ball clear.

But yesterday proved he can step forward and be counted in the biggest games, standing up well to a formidable Ipswich front line and keeping a well-deserved clean sheet on Wearside.

In Lee Burge, he has the ideal competitor to keep him on his toes and with that, maximise his performance levels. When Johnson’s men are under the cosh throughout the remainder of the season, he can be trusted to keep teams at bay.

They need to address their full-back woes

Starting with Carl Winchester and O’Nien at full-back, it’s clear the Black Cats need to fix their lack of orthodox options in this position, preferably via the free-agent market with this being a pressing issue now.

Centre-backs Tom Flanagan and Frederik Alves were both available from the bench and could have been utilised out wide if needed, but they need options there that have played in that position their whole career.

It’s those marginal gains that can help the club compete for automatic promotion in such a competitive league, something they don’t have with Dennis Cirkin, Denver Hume and Niall Huggins all out of action until the next calendar year.

Fair play to Winchester and O’Nien for playing their part in keeping a clean sheet against one of the best attacking sides in the third tier – but Hoffmann bailed the Black Cats out multiple times in the first half.

Their home form could be a real asset

After going unbeaten in their opening seven competitive games of the 2021/22 season, Sunderland had lost their last three going into this tie.

Shock losses against Bradford City on penalties in the EFL Trophy, another fourth-tier side in Mansfield Town in the FA Cup and former strugglers Charlton Athletic may have proved to be a real mental barrier as they returned to the Stadium of Light for such an important game.

However, they stood up to this test well and this result should give them the confidence to go on and put together another unbeaten run on Wearside, something they could easily do with their vociferous home support.

After heavy away losses against the likes of Portsmouth, Rotherham United and Sheffield Wednesday already this season, their home form could be the difference between another top-six finish and missing out.

A 21-year-old Reading FC fan and writer who graduated from the University for the Creative Arts in the summer with a degree in Journalism and Media Production. Other topics written about include politics, mental health and education.

ScoopDragon Football News Network

Article title: 3 things we clearly learnt about Sunderland after their 2-0 win v Ipswich

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