SUNDERLAND 10 YEARS AGO: Ipswich inflict first defeat on Keane

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Here’s what the Echo was reporting on Sunderland 10 years ago

NOT SO GOOD

Boss Roy’s unbeaten run shattered - Ipswich 3 Sunderland 1

Sunderland went down to their first defeat under Roy Keane’s management this afternoon.

A fiercely competitive game saw seven bookings and one sending-off – for Ross Wallace – and, for the vast majority of the game, it was difficult to see which way the points were going to go.

Sunderland were gifted the lead just before the half hour when a free-kick on the left from Wallace was drilled into his own net by Blues skipper Jason De Vos at the far post.

The advantage lasted only four minutes, though, with Darren Currie curling in a free-kick of his own from the left wind in the 32nd minute as Ben Alnwick dived helplessly to his left.

The second half was as fiercely fought as the first, but the game turned in the space of two minutes just after the hour mark when Sunderland defended sloppily.

Currie’s cross from the right wing wasn’t totally cleared by Neill Collins and striker Alan Lee nipped in on the edge of the six-yard box to flick a header from the left of goal over Alnwick’s outstretched gloves.

That goal rocked Sunderland after all their hard work, but worse was to follow in the 65th minute when Stan Varga failed to make contact as he tried to head away a hopeful punt upfield. Lee stealing in to take possession, round the keeper and stab home from 12 yards out.

The Black Cats’ misery was compounded five minutes from time when Wallace brought down substitute Billy Clarke for his second bookable offence and received his marching orders.

GIVE ME A CHANCE

Ward frustrated by lack of opportunities

Sunderland goalkeeper Darren Ward says a lack of action has left him frustrated.

Ward says he was not told when he joined Sunderland that the club had decided not to enter a reserved league this season.

Club officials said in the summer that they would not enter the Pontins League after relegation from the Premiership also cost them a place in the elite reserves competition.

But Ward, who features in Monday’s behind closed-doors friendly with Doncaster Rovers, says he wasn’t informed of the decision when he arrived last months prior to Roy Keane’s arrival as manager.

The 32 year-old stopper said: “I didn’t find out we did not have a reserve team until after I signed, which was disappointing. It makes it difficult to impress and not having that stage to go out and do your stuff is frustrating.

“Ultimately, you can keep goal in training to an extent, do all your drills and work hard, but it does not compare to competitive games. You don’t get the same practice of your starting positions for crosses and balls over the top. You can get by in training, but it is no substitute for playing games.

“It was pleasing to finally get a game on Monday, but, with no disrespect to Doncaster, I was hardly tested.”