Ipswich marked their Championship return with a 2-1 victory over 10-player Sunderland thanks to goals from Nathan Broadhead and George Hirst.
The Tractor Boys ended a four-year stay in League One last season by claiming automatic promotion and laid down a marker in their new division against Tony Mowbray’s side, who lost in the play-offs in May.
Jobe Bellingham missed a golden chance from close range for the hosts before Nathan Broadhead put the visitors ahead with a clever finish in first-half added time, although he refused to celebrate against his former club.
George Hirst then slammed in a second shortly after the break and, with Sunderland unable to respond, Trai Hume was sent off after being shown a second yellow card.
The hosts, though, pulled one back late on through Dan Neil’s smart finish but Ipswich survived an onslaught during 13 minutes of added time in which goalkeeper Vaclav Hladky turned Neil’s shot against a post to secure an impressive first win.
How Ipswich surprised Sunderland
Sunderland dominated the opening 15 minutes yet it was Ipswich who went closest first. Wes Burns’ deep cross from the right was met by Leif Davis at the back post and his volley was cleared from the goal-line by Luke O’Nien.
The hosts should have led soon after when Pierre Ekwah’s 25-yard effort was pushed away by Hladky straight to Bellingham, who could have controlled but instead blazed over first time with the goal at his mercy.
Sunderland appealed for a penalty four minutes before the break when Jack Clarke broke in behind and went down under pressure from Janoi Donacien although the winger was penalised for handball as he fell to the floor.
Ipswich capitalised on that let-off as Broadhead broke the deadlock in added time by diverting Davis’ shot past Anthony Patterson.
Then they made it two seven minutes into the second half when Broadhead’s sublime pass sent Hirst through and he crashed the ball high into the net.
Within 60 seconds, Conor Chaplin sent an audacious effort from inside the centre circle against the crossbar with Patterson beaten and Hirst could not connect with the rebound under pressure from Dan Ballard.
Sunderland struggled from there with Hume collecting his second booking after a foul on Davis although the hosts did improve late on, Neil turning Dennis Cirkin’s low cross home.
Despite the player advantage, Ipswich panicked during 13 minutes of added time, seeing substitute Freddie Ladapo spurn a good chance before Hladky produced a fine save in the 114th minute to deny Neil.
Sunderland host Crewe Alexandra on Tuesday in the Carabao Cup with kick-off at 7.45pm. They return to action in the Championship on Saturday August 12 when they visit Preston North End. Kick-off 3pm.
Ipswich welcome Bristol Rovers in their Carabao Cup tie on Tuesday at 7.45pm. The Tractor Boys then host Stoke in their first home game back in the Championship on Saturday. Kick-off 3pm.