The Warm Down: Black Cats close in on play-offs as they edge past ten-man Ipswich Town
(Photo by Hannah Fountain - CameraSport via Getty Images)

Sunderland moved to within a point of the play-off spots after beating Ipswich Town last night. 

Kayden Jackson was shown a straight red card after just ten minutes for the hosts as they were forced to defend in numbers for the most of the game. 

Charlie Wyke fired home a stoppage-time volley in the first half to hit his fifth goal in four games and seal an important win for the North East outlet.

• Wyke is clinical

Wyke's underrated ability to sniff out an opportunity when he hasn't necessarily been too involved in the game is superb and his goal last night proved to be decisive.

In the first half of yesterday's game, Ipswich made it extremely difficult for the Black Cats. As soon as the sending-off happened, Paul Lambert altered his side's approach and instead of a much more even affair, Sunderland began to dominate possession as Ipswich sat in and defended with two banks of four. 

The late reckless lunge on Sunderland defender Bailey Wright from Jackson, was no doubt a sending off, but what it did do was force Ipswich to defend courageously.

Lee Johnson's leading goal scorer, Wyke, had a couple of half-chances in the first half but certainly nothing clear cut. 

He came close in the 41st minute, and then finally broke the deadlock five minutes later in the first minute of added time. 

After some intricate passing on the right flank, the ball found its way to Max Power, who whipped in a lovely ball in behind the Ipswich backline and Wyke was there to emphatically volley home for his 12th league goal of the season.

It took Wyke three shots before he found the net. Ipswich had defended for their lives for the large part of the first half but when you have a player like Wyke in your team, any sniff of a chance is likely to cause danger. 

The 28-year-old now has 12 league goals and 15 goals in all competitions so far this season. His goals will be essential in Sunderland's push for promotion this season and it is imperative that he stays fit for the foreseeable.

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• Sunderland are excellent away from home

The Black Cats have now played 11 games away from home and they are yet to lose. Johnson's men have won six and drawn five, a great record. 

Sunderland also boasts the best defensive record in League One having conceded just 17 goals all season and only four of those have been whilst on their travels. 

Their defensive unit has been so hard to break down this season for many teams and whilst they have at times struggled to score goals, they have never had a big issue with keeping them out. 

Goalkeeper, Lee Burge, has pulled of some important saves so far this season and whilst he didn't have too much to do last night, when he was called upon in the 59th minute after Luke Thomas struck goalwards, he was alert enough to make a routine but significant save.

That chance was Ipswich's best opportunity to draw level and thanks to the effort of their whole backline, they managed to ensure that the Tractor Boys didn't score.

Jordan Willis and Callum McFadzean were steady performers in last night's affair and managed to nullify any Ipswich danger. 

The out of position Power also deserves a mention, after he filled in at right-back yesterday evening and did a fantastic job of both defending and attacking, proved by his assist and a clean sheet. 

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• Ipswich can challenge for the play-offs

Even though they lost on this occasion, they were never battered, even with ten men. They looked dangerous on the counter and they defended extremely well in large parts of the game. If they can find a way to score more goals, they could definitely be a contender for a top six spot.

Lambert will certainly be pleased with the performance of his boys after such an early blow. Their effort cannot be faulted and for the main part of the first half, Ipswich looked the most dangerous of the two sides when they counter-attacked. 

Of course, they were left exposed at times, and if for some better finishing Sunderland could have added a few more goals, but the truth of the game is that Ipswich deserved not to concede because of how well they faired with a man less.

Sunderland looked to threaten Ipswich at times in both halves but after some heroic defending from Luke Woolfenden and Mark McGuinness, the Tractor Boys managed to block, tackle and clear the majority of any Sunderland danger. 

When Aaron Drinan came on for Ipswich, he seemed to offer them something different, his work rate and determination in closing down and not making things easy for the Sunderland defence meant they had to be on their game. 

As mentioned, Sunderland have the best defence in the league and many teams have found it difficult to break them down with 11 men let alone ten. There is no shame in Ipswich not finding the net last night and many Town fans should be pleased with what they saw. 

With a bit more creativity, Lambert and his men will be a dark horse in the League One play-off push for sure.

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