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Wednesday, April 29, 1998 Published at 06:32 GMT 07:32 UK



Sport: Football

Forest promoted as Sunderland stutter
image: [ Alex Mathie volleys Ipswich's second ]
Alex Mathie volleys Ipswich's second

Ipswich have beaten Sunderland 2-0 at Portman Road, putting a spoke in the Wearsiders' hopes for automatic promotion.

The result also confirms Nottingham Forest's promotion to the Premiership, either as Division One champions or runners-up.

Ipswich's victory could be an important psychological blow as they could now meet Sunderland in the play-offs.

Sunderland remain second, but they have they same number of points as both Charlton and Middlesbrough. Boro have a game in hand and both their remaining matches are at the Riverside, while Sunderland must travel to Swindon.


[ image: Mark Venus heads away from Nicky Summerbee]
Mark Venus heads away from Nicky Summerbee
The tension was evident in the first half, during which neither keeper was seriously troubled.

Both sides were keen to play attacking football, but it was their defences who were in control.

Sunderland started more quickly. Kevin Phillips had their best chance and his header forced Richard Wright to tip the ball over the bar. Nicky Summerbee wasted another good chance, shooting weakly at the keeper after a flowing Sunderland move.

But as the half progressed, Ipswich came back into the match forcing Sunderland into some desperate defending.

However, they did not manage a single shot on target in the opening 45 minutes. Mauricio Taricco fired their best chance over the bar, though Chris Makin put him off his shot at the last moment.

There were good signs for Ipswich. Mick Stockwell on the right was proving as dangerous as Summerbee was for Sunderland and Alex Mathie caused problems in the box. Kieron Dyer was constantly dangerous.

The game exploded into life right from the start of the second half. First Summerbee caused problems for Ipswich with Mark Venus heading his dangerous cross over his own bar with Kevin Ball lurking.

Ipswich took the lead seconds later. David Johnson wrestled the ball away from Jody Craddock on the right and lifted a cross into the box. Matt Holland, bursting through from midfield, stooped to direct a header past Lionel Perez.

Phillips could have equalised seconds later, getting free in the Ipswich box, but he shot tamely into the side netting.

Quinn brought another easy save from Wright, after Taricco had headed a clearance straight at him but the ball would not come down for the big striker.

Ipswich should have gone two up in the 57th minute, when Johnson won a dubious penalty as he tumbled in the Sunderland area under the attentions of Craddock. But Mathie shot straight at Perez.

He made up for it three minutes later, volleying a Jamie Clapham cross sweetly past Perez to make it 2-0.

Sunderland threw everything forward, and Craddock came close to reducing the deficit with 20 minutes to go. But Wright managed to claw his bouncing shot onto the post.

Elsewhere, Sheffield United's play-off hopes were kept alive as they came back to draw 3-3 at Tranmere. They remain seventh, still in the bottom play-off place, and they have a game in hand over their nearest challengers, Birmingham, who have one point less.


 





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