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foormusique.biz: George Hirst reacts to flashpoint in Sunderland 12 Ipswich Town

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Ipswich Town returned to the Championship on Sunday after a four-year exile in League One – and their 2023-24 season got off to the perfect start.

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The Tractor Boys blasted in 101 goals last season in the third tier and also conceded the least, but they were still unable to pip Plymouth Argyle to the title.

Regardless, the Suffolk outfit have been tipped by many to do what Sunderland did last season and make the top six in the Championship after four years away, and the two teams just so happened to be pitched against each other in the opening weekend of the campaign.

What happened in Sunderland 1-2 Ipswich Town?

Despite being on their travels, Ipswich were able to bring the three points back to Portman Road despite not seeing much of the ball with 33 per cent possession in the match.

The match looked to be going into half-time goalless when Town opened the scoring late on in the half when Leif Davis’ shot was deflected by by former Sunderland loanee Nathan Broadhead.

And the advantage was doubled early on in the second half when George Hirst – who signed permanently for Ipswich this summer for £1.5 million following a loan stint last season from Leicester – latched on to Broadhead’s through ball and slammed it into the roof of Anthony Patterson’s goal.

Sunderland did grab a consolation late on through Dan Neil, but after a mammoth 13 minutes of added time, Kieran McKenna’s side held on for all three points.

Kieran McKenna could lose a key experienced man in Richard Keogh with Carlisle perhaps an option

At 2-0, Ipswich looked comfortable but they could have really been three goals to the good when Conor Chaplin fired an effort from inside the centre circle which rattled the crossbar – but what happened next could have made them even more secure with their victory.

As Hirst lined himself up to follow up Chaplin’s effort inside the box, he appeared to be felled by Black Cats centre-back Dan Ballard who stuck a leg across the striker’s body to stop him from having a goalscoring chance.

Referee Samuel Barrott appeared unmoved though and waved away protestations for a penalty, which if given would’ve handed Town the chance to have clear daylight.

What has George Hirst said about Sunderland v Ipswich Town flashpoint?

Hirst could not believe the decision made by Barrott at the time, and he has taken to Twitter to continue his protest on his decision.

The striker joins many Ipswich fans – and some Sunderland ones as well – who couldn’t believe that a spot kick wasn’t awarded for Ballard’s foul.

Regardless of that though, it was a great start to life as a permanent Ipswich player for Hirst.

A lot had been made of the 24-year-old’s record at Championship level, with 41 games played for Sheffield Wednesday, Rotherham United and Blackburn Rovers at the level beforehand and no goals scored in that time.

Hirst’s run with Town in League One last season though has clearly injected some confidence into his game as he took his goal like a seasoned professional and Ipswich fans will be hoping there is more to come following his seven-figure switch from Leicester.