SUNDERLAND suffered yet more misery at the Stadium of Light as they crashed to a 2-0 defeat to Ipswich Town that leaves them rooted in the Championship’s bottom three.

Last week’s transfer activity made no difference at all as the defensive errors that have plagued the Black Cats all season proved the home side’s undoing once again.

Billy Jones failed to get close enough to Joe Garner as the Ipswich striker fired in a 35th-minute opener, and some desperate defending on the stroke of half-time saw Adam Matthews deflect Grant Ward’s cross into his own net to effectively settle things.

With most of their relegation rivals also losing, the Black Cats remain two points adrift of safety in 23rd position in the table, but with games running out, Chris Coleman will be alarmed at yet another lacklustre display.

Coleman made five changes to the Sunderland side that started Tuesday’s 3-1 defeat at Birmingham, with all three of his deadline-day signing featuring in the starting line-up.

Lee Camp replaced Robbin Ruiter in goal, Ovie Ejaria was afforded a free role in midfield after moving to Wearside from Liverpool, and Ashley Fletcher lined up alongside Joel Asoro in attack after making the short trip up the A19 from Middlesbrough.

Coleman will have been looking for his new signings to inspire a radical change of fortunes, but any hopes of an immediate turnaround were dispelled in the opening 45 minutes. Just as at St Andrew’s on Tuesday, the Black Cats found themselves two goals behind at the interval.

Ipswich went into the game having won just one of their previous eight matches in all competitions, but Mick McCarthy’s side were unfortunate not to take the lead as early as the 20th minute as former  Sunderland forward Martyn Waghorn curled a free-kick from close to corner of the box against the crossbar.

The visitors were ahead 15 minutes later though, with Joe Garner taking advantage of some hesitant Sunderland defending to make a breakthrough. Receiving the ball with his back to goal, Garner spun around a static Billy Jones before curling a simple side-footed finish into the bottom right-hand corner.

Sunderland’s defending has been desperate all season, and the Black Cats were found wanting again as their opponents doubled their advantage in first-half stoppage time.

Callum Connolly deft pass sent Grant Ward scampering on the outside of Lee Cattermole, and while Freddie Sears was unable to make any contact with the midfielder’s cross on the edge of the six-yard box, he blocked the view of Adam Matthews, who was unable to stop the ball bouncing off him and rebounding into the net.

Coleman had been furious at his side conceding on the stroke of half-time at Birmingham, but they had done so again. As a result, the bright link-up play between Ejaria, Fletcher and Asoro in the opening 20 minutes was rendered completely irrelevant.

Sunderland were actually the better side for most of the opening half-hour, but Asoro dragged a tenth-minute shot across the face of goal after Fletched teed him up in the area and both Tyias Browning and Jonees just failed to make contact after Bryan Oviedo delivered a teasing free-kick from the left.

The Wearsiders’ best first-half chance came to nothing when an unmarked John O’Shea headed Oviedo’s corner wide of the upright, and the speed at which they dropped out of the game in the final ten minutes of the first half was alarming. As a result, the boos that greeted the half-time whistle felt inevitable.

The opening stages of the second half were no better, and Coleman opted for a double change before the hour mark with Kazenga LuaLua and George Honeyman coming on for Asoro and Ethan Robson.

The substitutions did little to alter the general pattern of the game, although things might have been different had the Black Cats been awarded a penalty shortly after the hour mark. Honeyman’s right-wing cross appeared to strike Ipswich defender Jonas Knudsen on the arm, but referee Darren England waved play on.

With Ipswich sitting back, Sunderland saw plenty of the ball in the second half, but they rarely looked like doing anything productive with it.

Bartosz Bialkowski got down well in the 71st minute to parry LuaLua’s fierce low strike, but Sunderland’s defence remained extremely shaky, and Waghorn passed up a great chance to claim a third Ipswich goal with 13 minutes left. The former Sunderland trainee found himself one-on-one with Lee Camp as he raced on to Connolly through ball, but poked his shot wide of the right-hand post.

Sunderland (3-4-1-2): Camp; Jones, O’Shea, Browning; Matthews (McGeady 70), Cattermole, Robson (Honeyman 58), Oviedo; Ejaria; Asoro (LuaLua 58), Fletcher.

Subs (not used): Ruiter (gk), Love, Gooch, Maja.

Ipswich (4-2-3-1): Bialkowski; Spence, Carter-Vickers, Chambers, Knudsen; Skuse (Hyam 85), Connolly; Ward (Gleeson 75), Waghorn, Sears; Garner (Webster 90).

Subs (not used): Crowe (gk), Iorfa, Celina, Carayol.