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Ipswich Town 1-0 Rotherham United - Match Report
Saturday, 12th Jan 2019 17:19

Will Keane’s first Blues goal saw Town to a vital 1-0 home victory over Rotherham United at Portman Road. Town, who are now seven points plus goal difference from safety, were on top in the first half and Keane put them ahead from close range on 31. However, the Millers dominated the second period and the Blues were forced to defend resolutely throughout to claim the three points and only their third clean sheet of the season.

New signings Collin Quaner and James Collins were handed their Blues debuts and Keane and Callum Elder their Town league bows and their first appearances at Portman Road having played at Accrington last week.

Collins joined skipper Luke Chambers at the centre of the defence with Pennington at right-back and Elder on the left.

Cole Skuse was back after his knee injury with Trevoh Chalobah at the heart of a four-man midfield.

Jack Lankester was on the right with Freddie Sears on the left, while Keane started behind Quaner up front.

Emyr Huws returned to the bench having been out for 13 months alongside Town’s fifth new signing Simon Dawkins. For Rotherham, ex-Blues keeper Lewis Price was on the bench.

Town had most of the ball in the early stages but without creating a serious chance. On 10 captain Chambers took what looked a nasty fall over the perimeter wall into the stand having seen the ball out of play ahead of Millers’ striker Michael Smith but was quickly back on the pitch.

Visitors’ defender Zak Vyner was shown the game’s first yellow card in the 13th minute for shoving Sears. The Millers struggled to clear the ball from the resultant freekick but the set piece ultimately came to nothing.

Town similarly took their time to clear a Rotherham set play on 18 but eventually broke quickly with Chalobah finding Keane on the left with a cross-field pass.

The on-loan Hull City man laid the ball back to Skuse, who struck a shot which deflected off one Millers player onto another’s arm. Referee James Linington waved away the Blues’ ambitious appeals for a penalty.

Lambert’s much-changed Town increasingly dominated but without being able to carve out a chance until the 31st minute when they took the lead.

Keane fed Sears wide on the left and the ex-West Ham man crossed back towards the one-time Manchester United trainee six yards out. The ball got away with him from his first touch but it came back to him off a defender and having taken a touch he lashed his first Blues goal into the net before celebrating in front of the Sir Bobby Robson Stand.

The game was subsequently held up for a long spell as Smith and Chambers, presumably due to his early tumble over the fence, underwent treatment. Soon after play had restarted, Rotherham’s on-loan Norwich defender Sean Raggett was replaced by Ryan Williams.

There was a scare for the Blues in the 43rd minute when Collins headed an Anthony Forde freekick from deep on the right against former Blues trialist Semi Ajayi and the ball looped wide.

A minute later at the other end, Sears hooked a shot over from a tight angle in the aftermath of a Lankester corner on the left.

Rotherham ended the half strongly, Joe Mattock hitting an effort from distance which Blues keeper Dean Gerken saw past his left post.

During three minutes of injury time Skuse was booked for a foul on Williams inside the centre circle.

Just before the end of the half, Taylor half-volleyed over from Forde’s cross when he will feel he ought to have found the target.

Not long after, the half-time whistle was greeted by applause and cheers from the Portman Road support after an entertaining period with Town deserving to go in ahead.

The new look Blues had certainly looked to have more potential going forward than they had prior to the transfer window opening with Quaner adding a significant physical presence and Keane bright and inventive on the ball.

However, up until the goal, which Keane tucked away clinically at the second attempt, they had been unable to carve out a chance.

They had moved the ball around confidently, although while also showing some raggedness at times, perhaps inevitably given the number of changes to the team.

At the other end Collins had added composure and assurance on the ball to the backline. Rotherham failed to register a shot on target, although they had one or two occasions when they might have made more of openings inside the box.

Neither side made a change at the break and Rotherham had the better of the opening minutes, Gerken saving Smith’s long distance effort in the 50th minute down to his right.

The Blues keeper was in action again on 53, diving to the same side to keep out a 30-yard effort from Millers skipper Will Vaulks after the ball had been tapped to him from a freekick.

Town had failed to get going after the break and there was a big scare in the 59th minute when Jon Taylor chased a Williams ball down the middle and appeared to nod it out of Gerken’s hands as the keeper claimed. However, neither the linesman or referee signalled until the Millers midfielder had taken it out of play.

Rotherham were putting the Blues under more and more pressure with Town unable to get on the ball.

The South Yorkshiremen ought to have levelled on the hour but Smith, the scorer of the only goal when the sides met at the New York Stadium in August, headed Forde’s cross over when he will feel he should have hit the target. On 63 Smith shot over from distance.

Town swapped debutant Quaner, who had put in a hard-working and combative debut in front of his new fans and his hometown supporters visiting from Fortuna Düsseldorf, for Flynn Downes who joined the midfield.

In the 67th minute Sears was booked for kicking the ball away as the Millers prepared to take a freekick, then three minutes later Jerry Yates took over from Forde for the visitors.

Rotherham continued to have the better of it but with the pressure having been relieved somewhat. However, on 71 Taylor was just unable to reach Vaulks’s cross in from the right.

Lankester almost carved out a chance for Keane with a clever pass on 72 but with the loanee having strayed offside. A minute later the 18-year-old was replaced by another debutant Dawkins.

Town threatened for the first time in the second half in the 79th minute. Chalobah beat his man down the right and brought the ball into the Rotherham half before feeding Sears. The former Colchester United striker tried to turn the ball on to Keane breaking on the left but Taylor was able to deflect it back to Millers keeper Marek Rodak.

But the Millers were still well on top with the Blues’ defence by far the busier as the game moved into its final 10 minutes. However, they were remaining resolute, despite referee Linington having awarded a number of generous freekicks to the visitors.

On 85 Vaulks hit a low shot from distance which Gerken claimed confidently down to his right. A minute later, Williams sent across a low ball from the right which was too far in front of his team-mates.

Rotherham continued to press, Vaulks long throw almost fell for Mattock but Gerken just got there and the danger was cleared.

Moments later Millers’ defender Vyner was replaced by Richard Wood, then in four minutes of injury time Toto Nsiala took over from Sears for Town.

Town just about kept out a mammoth goalmouth scramble with Collins, who along with Chambers and Pennington had been immense in the second half, mis-hitting against Gerken at one stage before eventually clearing a ball which seemed to ricochet around the Blues box for an age.

There was just one more generously awarded freekick for the Blues to defend before referee Linington blew his final whistle to a huge roar from the Town support, while Collins and Chambers both punched the air in front of the Sir Bobby Robson Stand.

The second half had been a gritty, backs to the wall defensive effort of a type which became familiar during Mick McCarthy’s time as Blues boss.

Time and again the ball was sent into the box by Rotherham but usually it was Collins, who put in as good a defensive debut performance as Portman Road has seen in a while, Chambers or Pennington getting their heads on it.

The second period was a great contrast to the first when the Blues had been on the front foot and for large parts in control. Town never really got going as an attacking unit after the break, with the number of players short on match fitness perhaps a factor.

However, the the three points were the main thing to take from today’s game and Town claimed them via only their third win of the season and their second at home.

The victory, which was being celebrated by the visiting Fortuna Düsseldorf fans long after the final whistle, sees them stay bottom but now a less daunting seven points from safety - plus goal difference - ahead of next week’s trip to Blackburn Rovers.

Town: Gerken, Pennington, Chambers (c), Collins, Elder, Skuse, Chalobah, Sears (Nsiala 90), Lankester (Dawkins 73), Keane, Quaner (Downes 65). Unused: Bialkowski, Harrison, Bishop, Huws.

Rotherham: Rodak, Vyner (Wood 89), Raggett (Williams 37), Robertson, Mattock, Ajayi, Forde (Yates 70), Vaulks, Wiles, Taylor, Smith. Unused: Price, Ihiekwe, Wood, Jones, Palmer. Referee: James Linington (Newport IoW). Att: 20,893 (Rotherham: 729).

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Marinersnose added 09:38 - Jan 13
Wow what a game to be a town supporter. New additions up front fitted in well and both showed strength on the ball and generally held the ball up well. Collins was immense and his constant talking and cajoling had a positive impact on the defence with Pennington also outstanding. First half for me was good but we didn’t create many goal scoring opportunities. Second half is a problem at the moment as we appear to sit deep from the off and allow the opponents to dominate play and create too many chances. Is this a confidence issue ? I don’t know but it has to change quickly as better teams would have beaten us comfortably today. Gerken made a decent block late on but he still struggles to kick a ball or deal with crosses. To me he looks shaky and nervous and spilled the ball too often. Onwards and upwards a great atmosphere and great result.

cat added 09:54 - Jan 13
Little doubt that a lack of match fitness invited Rotherham to dominate the second half, supported by the fact Collins could hardly stand up at the end. Great to have a proper leader at the back (at last) who can organise and keep things tight. Also good to see Huws warming up, midfield is going to be critical if we are going to pick up points from the horrid run of games we have to come, as the midfield looked lightweight, as did Gerken. Plenty of positives though, but we need massive improvement if we are to beat the dreaded.

afcfee added 10:03 - Jan 13
Skuse was a massive weak link again yes he does what he can tackle wise but completely disappeared second half after some poor passes first half. Collins gave him a telling off for not getting tight to a player which was refreshing. If only we had a player of Collins ability in the midfield that would be massive.

afcfee added 10:03 - Jan 13
Great win though but my heart took a pounding.

chalky added 10:35 - Jan 13
At last - a central defender in the Hunter/Butcher/Mowbray mould. Well done Collins and,, indeed, Pennington too at right back.

For God's sake, Marcus, don't sell Dozzell !! The future of the club lies with our talented youngsters, just as it did in the days of Burley and Wark.

GavinCross added 10:42 - Jan 13
Great win and clean sheet. There have been other games were we would have buckled under the pressure. A mix of talented youngsters and reliable veterans (like Collins) is a good formula for rebuilding with a minimal budget.

blueboy1981 added 11:32 - Jan 13
....... chalky - too lightweight by far at present - how long do you wait ?? Needs time on the ball which you do not get in the Championship, or League 1 ...... !!

Kirbmeister added 11:56 - Jan 13
blueboy - agree about Dozzell. I know he’s young but he’s done absolutely nothing yet so an awful long way to go before he demonstrates he’s going to make it. Same goes for Bishop.

ITFCsince73 added 12:06 - Jan 13
We need to improve massively against Blackburn, to get anything.

blueboy1981 added 12:09 - Jan 13
....... lots of players in the Dozzell and Bishop mould, that have 'arrived' before they get there, and then tail away.

These two need to make the step up post haste - or they will do the same.

It's all well and good keep talking about talent and potential, there comes a time when the goods actually have to be produced. Talking, and pretending is always easy.

Just look at some of the 'youngsters' tearing the pitch up, and have made the step up - Jack Clarke (18 yrs) for instance at Leeds, for one. There are others too.

runningout added 12:26 - Jan 13
media etc going a little OTT with these younger players that have played just a few games, it’s laughable. As for us we need to let those go that haven’t stepped up. Then strengthen quick

warktheline added 13:47 - Jan 13
I mentioned several weeks back 'the kids' have to step up, banging on about potential fades as will their careers unless the likes of Bishop and Dozzell break into the first team and regularly produce over a course of a season! The biggest worry is 'losing mentality', has it already set into mindset! Lambert or whoever takes this club forward has an enormous amount of work to do, as Lambert highlighted earlier in week! Long term project thus patience is and will be required, and of course 'hoping' that 'right man' is in place to achieve goals!

Again well done yesterday Lambert, boys and tremendous support inside of Portman Rd!

DifferentGravy added 14:16 - Jan 13
A vital win but I found it rather disconcerting the lack of chances we created(in spite of attacking additions) and the number of crosses Rotherham had. In the second half it seemed like attack v defence. Where were the wide midfielders supporting the full backs? Without Collins (and against a more potent forward line) I feel we would have lost. This was fourth bottom Rotherham and we only just claimed the three points. Yes, Town need to create more chances(three shots at home is ridiculous) but we also need the midfield to be more resolute and provide protection to the back four. We simply cant expect to stay up with a 'backs to the wall' approach every game(ala second half). On paper we had a 4-2-4, four forwards on the pitch, which essentially translated to 4-5-1 on the pitch. Yet we create so few chances. Mainly because players are being played out of position and asked to track back into unknown territory. Play 4 midfielders, with two wide men who are familiar with crossing a ball but also tracking back and providing cover for the full back (NOT Gwion Edwards, simply not good enough). One sitting central midfielder and one attacking midfielder capable of getting into the opposition box. Then two forwards up top. Weather he opts for the big n small or two more robust forwards. But let the forwards get on with being forwards and hopefully creating chances/scoring goals and keeping the opposition back line preoccupied.

Having said all of that, im relieved for the win and hopeful that the match fitness, improved tactics and team integration will bring a vastly improved 90 mins (and another 1-0 to Town)


Scum8er added 15:34 - Jan 13
Well done lads, sounds as though the crowd played their part. why don`t the club have a ticket promotion for all of the home games until the end of the season to improve attendances, give the boys a boost and generate a decent atmosphere?
Well done again, COYB

BrandonsBlues added 16:56 - Jan 13
Well done the Tractor Boys. A solid three points for us. James Collins was fantastic at the back for me. MAN OF THE MATCH. Freddie Sears did really well for me he made sure to get that that ball up and down the pitch and set up Keane's goal. We need to improve our tackles and don't give so many silly ones away. Dean Gerken was really good making some good stops here and there. Overall the performance was average, nothing special. the new signings worked well with each other and really did well. The passing throughout the game was really good, but towards the end we were giving away silly passes. I'm glad we have COLLINS. COYB

blueboy1981 added 20:48 - Jan 13
We certainly dodged every bullet that Rotherham fired at us - just.

In terms of performance, and looking at the next few fixtures we'll need to improve 100% to stand a chance of another win to add to this one.

During which time let's hope we can grow a competitive midfield - where was ours second half ??

In mitigation, we had several players which couldn't have been match fit - however they could have done with a little more time to become so - the pending challenges coming our way, look pretty awesome to me.

No more second half onslaughts like today please - we won't be able to sustain todays level of commitment at the back too often, if again, and take points.


BeethorpeAndy added 20:59 - Jan 13
Great atmosphere at Portman road ! Fantastic win but painful .Collins gave everything. Doubt over Dawkins though-slow. Ipswich fans are the best in the world. Lovely to see my 10 year old son singing Ipswich till I die! We can get out of this. Judge and Carter-vickers would strengthen further. Come on you blues!!!!!!!!

Razor added 11:05 - Jan 14
With a full weeks training this should only get better!!

Lets not forget Gerks--we all know he cant kick but he put his head in amongst on several occasions in the second half to get to the ball risking serious injury so hats off to him.

blueboy1981 added 19:41 - Jan 14
...... just to tamper the enthusiasm slightly, it may have avoided some attention:-

We were at HOME ....... against ROTHERHAM ... !!!

Shots on Target.


However - we WON. (somehow)


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