Ipswich Town 2-2 Rotherham United - Match Report
Saturday, 29th Oct 2016 17:21
David McGoldrick netted a brilliant low drive deep in injury time to grab Town a last-gasp 2-2 draw against bottom club Rotherham United at Portman Road. Freddie Sears had put the Blues in front in the third minute but man of the match Danny Ward equalised four minutes later, then put the visitors in front three minutes after the break. Town rarely looked like getting back on terms in a lacklustre second half until McGoldrick’s late strike.
McGoldrick, Teddy Bishop, Cole Skuse and Myles Kenlock all returned to what was an unusually attacking Town starting line-up.
McGoldrick, who was making his first start since the opening day of the season, formed a a front two with Sears, while Bishop came back into the middle of midfield with Skuse, who was back after missing out at Newcastle with a toe injury.
Kenlock was handed his first appearance of the season at left-back in place of Jonas Knudsen, who suffered a back injury at Newcastle.
Conor Grant dropped to the bench, alongside ex-Millers striker Leon Best, and there was no place in the 18 for Jonathan Douglas.
Rotherham included former Town keeper Lewis Price among their subs, along with their new signing, veteran Nigerian international striker Peter Odemwingie.
The Blues started brightly with Sears and Tom Lawrence, playing wide on the left, both having early crosses blocked.
And in only the third minute Town went in front. Lawrence appeared to rather scuff his freekick in from the right but Sears reacted quickly to the miscue and turned the ball past Millers’ keeper Lee Camp at the near post to claim his second goal in three games following his long goal drought.
But the Blues’ lead lasted only four minutes. Centre-half Adam Webster cleared Joe Newell’s corner from the right to 18-yard line, Jon Taylor beat Bishop in the air and headed it back into edge of the six-yard box, and Danny Ward turned home his seventh goal of the season from close range.
On 10 Town keeper Bialkowski came off his line quickly to punch away from Dexter Blackstock as the former Forest striker chased a header from halfway down the middle. Blackstock required treatment having collided with Bialkowski but was eventually OK to carry on.
Blues strike pair Sears and McGoldrick combined to create an opportunity on 21, the former West Ham man eventually cutting the ball back from the right but behind the Irish international. Kenlock ran in from deep on the left and smashed a shot against a defender.
Town were starting to get on top and for a spell the visitors found themselves pinned back in their half following a corner on the left won by Lawrence, with the Blues passing the ball around with what has recently been uncharacteristic confidence.
However, it was Rotherham who created the next serious chance, a loose ball falling to scorer Ward in the box and Webster doing well to block his shot.
McGoldrick threatened for the first time on 26, the striker heading over from Lawrence’s freekick on the right with the on-loan Leicester man starting to find his range with his set pieces.
On 32 Will Vaulks shot wide off a Town defender after a long throw from the right had been cleared to the edge of the box.
A minute later, Bishop, who had had a quiet half up to that point, skipped his way past a number of Rotherham players and rode a couple of tackles as he broke into the area from the left but scraped his shot wide.
In the 35th minute the visitors were forced to swap ex-Colchester man Greg Halford, who had picked up a knock, for Dominic Ball.
Kenlock, who was enjoying an impressive first half, wasn’t too far away from putting the Blues back in front on 36 when he forced Camp to scramble away his far post header from Grant Ward’s looping cross from the right.
McGoldrick and Sears interchanged again in the 38th minute on the Town left, the latter eventually cutting the ball into the area but a defender cleared before it reached his strike partner.
In injury time Berra was caught in the head by a Rotherham boot following a Town corner but referee Darren Bond waved away the Blues’ penalty appeals. The loose ball fell to Webster but his snapshot flew out for a throw on the far side.
The final whistle was greeted by scattered applause from the home support, who will have been pleased with an enterprising first-half display from their side.
Having claimed the early lead Town will have been disappointed to concede the equaliser almost immediately with set pieces Rotherham’s main threat throughout the period.
The Blues had kept the ball better than has often been the case recently and passed it around confidently in spells with Sears and McGoldrick combining well on a number of occasions.
However, aside from Kenlock’s header, Millers keeper Camp hadn’t been forced into making many saves with the visitors’ backline defending with greater solidity than has often been the case this season.
The second half got off to the worst possible start for Town with Rotherham taking the lead in only the 48th minute.
Webster and Berra got in one another’s way as Vaulks’s long throw came into the area from the right and Danny Ward turned a volley past Bialkowski, the striker’s eighth goal of the campaign.
A minute later, as Town looked to get back in the match, Grant Ward volleyed over from not far outside the area after a Lawrence corner had been cleared.
There was another scare for the Blues from a Rotherham long throw, this time from the left, in the 56th minute when Vaulks’s ball into the area avoided everyone until it reached Richard Wood beyond the far post but the Millers’ skipper shot wide.
At the other end, Grant Ward went well wide after Lawrence had brought the ball deep into the Rotherham half.
The goal had given the visitors confidence, however, and they were having most of the ball, while Vaulks’s long throws continued to cause problems.
McGoldrick rode a couple of tackles and shot over on 63 with the Blues still to really get going after the break.
Two minutes later, Ward crossed from the Town right, McGoldrick flicked on but Lawrence’s header was easy for Camp to claim.
Moments later, Town made two changes, Ward and Bishop making way for Leon Best and Jonny Williams with Sears moving to wide left and Lawrence to the right.
On 71 Williams crossed from the left towards Best but the ball was headed clear to McGoldrick, but the striker curled his shot well over.
With the Sir Bobby Robson Stand vocally complaining about Town’s style of football in no uncertain terms - “Mick McCarthy, your football is s—t” - Luke Varney took over from Kenlock, who will have been very happy with his display.
Rotherham looked to be seeing out four minutes of injury time until McGoldrick’s dramatic equaliser.
Webster crossed from the left, a defender headed the ball out to McGoldrick, who smashed a low drive through a crowd of players and past his old Forest team-mate Camp. The Rotherham players, who thought they had claimed their first away win of the season, collapsed to the floor.
There wasn’t time for any further action before referee Bond ended the game. Despite the late goal there were still boos on the final whistle and further frustrated chants aimed at manager McCarthy.
The Blues failed to capitalise on their early lead, giving away the first of two set-piece goals soon afterwards, and while they were on top and played well in spells in the first half, they created few chances.
Town struggled to get going in the second half after conceding Rotherham’s second goal so early on. They huffed and puffed but never created a clear-cut opportunity until McGoldrick - who looked out on his feet by that stage - hammered home his goal.
Despite the late equaliser, a home draw with the division’s bottom side - Rotherham had lost their last seven games, had lost all seven of their away games and were eight points from safety - is huge disappointment for Town and added to fans’ frustrations with manager McCarthy, as was evident from the chants from the terraces.
The point moves the Blues up to 15th in the table with a trip to Sheffield Wednesday, who lost 2-0 at Derby today, next week.
Town: Bialkowski, Chambers (c), Webster, Berra, Kenlock (Varney 84), Skuse, Lawrence, Bishop (Williams 66), G Ward (Best 66), Sears, McGoldrick. Unused: Gerken, Emmanuel, Bru, Grant.
Rotherham: Camp, Fisher (Odemwingie 80), Fry, Wood (c), Mattock, Taylor, Halford (Ball 35), Vaulks, Newell, D Ward, Blackstock. Unused: Price, Kelly, Forde, Forster-Caskey, Brown. Referee: Darren Bond (Lancashire). Attendance: 15,247 (Rotherham: 205).
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