Ipswich Town 1-1 Sunderland AFC
Sunderland extended their unbeaten run in Sky Bet League One to seven games following a 1-1 draw with Ipswich Town on Saturday.
With new manager Kieran McKenna watching on from the stands, the Tractor Boys started brightly and held nothing back in a combative opening 45 minutes in Suffolk.
James Norwood opened the scoring in first-half stoppage time, heading home via the underside of the crossbar after Leon Dajaku was forced off.
The Lads levelled within six minutes of the restart, as Nathan Broadhead bagged his fifth goal in five games following sensational build-up play from Dan Neil.
Chances fell for both sides in the closing stages and the Lads ended the contest on top, but the spoils were shared and both sides had to settle for a point.
Lee Johnson named an unchanged side, with Lynden Gooch named in the starting XI after recovering from a groin injury picked up against Plymouth Argyle last weekend.
The Lads were also handed a boost on the bench, as Denver Hume returned to the squad for the first time since October.
Ipswich started on the front foot at a packed-out Portman Road, but they failed to take advantage early on as Wes Burns and Matt Penney spurned clear-cut opportunities.
Macauley Bonne also headed wide but Sunderland’s influence on the contest grew as the half wore on, with Neil taking aim before failing to hit the target from 25 yards.
The Lads were dealt a double blow before the break, as Dajaku was forced off following a heavy challenge before the Tractor Boys opened the scoring.
Norwood provided the finish, rising to meet Bonne’s deflected cross and head beyond Thorben Hoffmann to ensure a slender advantage at the interval.
Although Portman Road was rocking at the start of the second period, silence quickly followed as the Lads hauled themselves level.
A sumptuous nutmeg and through ball from Neil caught the home side cold and Broadhead did the rest, firing a low finish beyond a motionless Christian Walton.
The goalkeeper stepped up moments later to close the angle and deny Ross Stewart, who was forced wide before striking the ball against the on-rushing stopper.
An offside flag denied Broadhead a second one-on-one opportunity 15 minutes from time, as the Lads continued to apply pressure in search of a decisive goal.
Elliot Embleton and Aiden O’Brien were introduced and Stewart continued to threaten, but it ended all square in Suffolk.
Ipswich Town: Walton, Donacien, Edmundson, Woolfenden, Penney (Vincent-Young 63), Burns, Morsy, Evans, Aluko, Bonne, Norwood.
Subs not used: Hladky, Burgess, Carroll, Chaplin, Fraser, Pigott.
Sunderland AFC: Hoffmann, Doyle, Flanagan, Wright, Winchester, Neil, Gooch, Dajaku (Hume 40) Pritchard (Embleton 63), Broadhead (O’Brien 87), Stewart.
Subs not used: Patterson, Alves, Younger, Kimpioka.