Despite a bright start, two hammer blows put paid to Sunderland as Ipswich claimed all three points at the Stadium of Light.
The hosts dominated large parts of the first half-hour, but the Tractor Boys didn't look back once Joe Garner had given them the lead with a low finish 10 minutes before the break.
An own goal from Adam Matthews on the stroke of half-time ultimately put paid to the hosts, who couldn't respond in the second period.
CHANGE IN THE CAMP
After a busy deadline day, manager Chris Coleman opted to hand immediate debuts to all three of his latest acquisitions in a 5-3-2 formation.
Lee Camp replaced Robbin Ruiter in goal, Ovie Ejaria came into the side in preference to George Honeyman, and Ashley Fletcher partnered Joel Asoro up front ahead of Josh Maja.
Meanwhile skipper John O'Shea and Adam Matthews came back into the side to replace injured defensive pair Jake Clarke-Salter and Lamine Kone.
THICK OF IT
Having weathered an early Ipswich storm, Sunderland found their footing and carved out two presentable chances inside the first 10 minutes.
One debutant – Ejaria – had a fierce shot blocked following a swift break, while Fletcher took a neat Lee Cattermole pass into feet and teed up Asoro, whose angled drive flashed just past the far post.
With Sunderland piling forward, Billy Jones was inches away from connecting at the back post following a superb set-piece delivery by Bryan Oviedo.
But, having created little in the early running, Ipswich almost opened the scoring on the 20-minute mark – former Black Cat Martyn Waghorn seeing his curling free-kick come back off the crossbar.
The hosts were in the ascendancy, with Ejaria pulling the strings in a free role behind the strikers. They couldn't find a way through, though, with O'Shea planting a header wide from a corner while Fletcher tested Bartosz Bialkowski in the Ipswich goal with a fierce shot on the turn.
But yet again Sunderland were struck with a sucker punch out of nothing. Garner held off Billy Jones on the edge of the area before turning and curling a low effort into the far corner.
And things got worse just seconds before the break. A cross from the right from Grant Ward was missed by Freddie Sears, but hit Matthews and rolled over the line. Two-nil at half time and a long way back for the hosts.
With his side toiling, Coleman brought Kazenga LuaLua and George Honeyman off the bench in place of Asoro and Robson.
The Sunderland boss was frustrated just after the hour as a cross from the right seemed to strike the hand of an Ipswich defender, but referee Mr England waved away vociferous appeals from fans and players alike.
An injury to Matthews led to his replacement with Aiden McGeady as the Black Cats went all in.
LuaLua tested Bialkowski with a powerful effort, but Waghorn spurned a great chance at the other end when he knocked the ball wide of the post when one-on-one with Camp.
Chances were few and far between in the closing stages, with Ipswich looking comfortable and happy to sit on their two-goal advantage.
A Honeyman blast from the edge of the box was as close as the Black Cats came as they were left to reflect on a disappointing afternoon.
Sunderland: Camp, Matthews (McGeady, 70), O'Shea (c), Browning, Jones, Oviedo, Cattermole, Ejaria, E Robson (Honeyman, 57), Fletcher, Asoro (LuaLua, 57).
Subs Not Used: Maja, Gooch, Love, Ruiter.
Ipswich Town: Bialkowski, Knudsen, Chambers (c), Skuse (Hyam, 84), Waghorn, Spence, Garner, Connolly, Ward (Gleeson, 73), Sears, Carter-Vickers.
Subs Not Used: Iorfa, Webster, Celina, Carayol, Crowe.