Ipswich Town 0-2 Rotherham United - Match Report
Wednesday, 23rd Oct 2019 21:51
Town suffered their first home defeat of the season and dropped off the top of the table as Rotherham United won 2-0 at Portman Road via two Matt Crooks goals. The midfielder struck first on 11, then added the second three minutes after the restart as the Blues fell to their second 2-0 loss in four days and Peterborough took over at the top of League One following their 4-0 victory over Accrington, who beat the Blues on Sunday.
Town boss Paul Lambert made five changes from the team which lost 2-0 against Stanley. James Wilson returned to the centre of Blues’ defence, having been suspended at the weekend, with the Blues starting with a four-man backline. Luke Woolfenden moved to the bench and Toto Nsiala dropped out of the 18.
Kane Vincent-Young was at right-back having missed the Accrington game with his groin injury with Gwion Edwards was on the bench.
In midfield, Emyr Huws replaced Andre Dozzell, who also missed out on a place in the squad, alongside Cole Skuse, while Danny Rowe also came into the team behind the front two with Alan Judge among the subs.
Up front, Will Keane started alongside Kayden Jackson with James Norwood and Flynn Downes both back on the bench after groin surgery and a hip knock respectively.
Former Blues keeper Lewis Price was on the bench for the Millers alongside one-time Town trialist Chiedozie Ogbene.
Rain fell steadily and persistently as the game got under way. Within two minutes a pacy Jackson run down the left won a Blues corner from which they went close to taking an early lead.
Rowe claimed he was tugged as he sought to get on to the loose ball after Rotherham had failed to clear but referee John Busby was unimpressed.
The ball eventually reached Huws at the back of the box from where he struck a shot which Millers keeper Daniel Iversen pushed into the air. Keane was first to the ball but headed straight at the keeper.
The wet conditions were having an impact on both sides in the early stages with Rotherham struggling to clear their lines on a number of occasions but with the Blues unable to profit.
The Millers hadn’t seriously threatened but in the 11th minute they took the lead. Skuse felt he was fouled as he held off a Rotherham player on the edge of his own box but referee Busby felt otherwise and Ben Wiles sent the ball back in from the left and it fell for Crooks, who struck a powerful low effort which skimmed across the wet pitch and through keeper Tomas Holy’s legs.
Rotherham should have made it 2-0 two minutes later when Joe Mattock found Matthew Olosunde breaking into the area at the far post with a cross from the left but the US international shot over when he should have hit the target at the very least.
The visitors continued to look the more threatening side and on 25 Trevor Clarke whipped over a freekick from the right which Crooks only just failed to get his head on.
Three minutes later Clarke was booked for a very late challenge on Vincent-Young, hardly the first Rotherham challenge which had warranted a yellow card.
On 30 Mattock was spoken to by the referee for time-wasting with the Millers taking an age with every restart having gone in front. In the 42nd minute Wiles was booked for kicking the ball away as Town prepared to take their 11th freekick of a very stop-start half.
Just before the whistle, Mattock crossed from the left and Michael Smith headed over at the far post.
It had been a scruffy, disjointed half from the Blues who had struggled to pass the ball with any fluidity - the damp conditions playing a part - and aside from the early double chance had rarely looked like scoring. All too often players got on one another’s way in a congested midfield area.
Rotherham took their chance when it came and might well have doubled their lead soon afterwards. From there, they looked to disrupt the flow of the game and frustrate the Blues but when they had the ball also managed to create one or two further openings.
Despite the lacklustre first period, Town were unchanged as the second half got under way with the rain continuing to fall. In the opening minute Jackson crossed from the right but none of his team-mates had broken into the area.
Three minutes after the restart, the Millers doubled their lead. Midway inside the Town half, Skuse cleared the ball against Wiles, who broke towards goal before playing inside to Crooks and the midfielder slipped his second of the game past Holy.
Town briefly put the visitors under some pressure and in the 52nd minute Rowe, by now playing wide on the right with Huws on the left, sent in a cross beyond his team-mates.
Rotherham almost made it 3-0 in the 55th minute when Mattock whipped over a cross from the left and Smith flicked a header across goal, Holy doing superbly to tip it past the post. In the aftermath of the corner Billy Jones shot well wide.
Two minutes later, Jackson sent in a cross from the left which Iversen struggled to claim but referee Busby blew up for an infringement as Jon Nolan hooked Huws’s knockback towards goal.
Smith shot wide for the Millers, who were continuing to create most of the game’s openings, then just before the hour mark Huws was replaced by Anthony Georgiou.
The Cyprus international’s introduction started to have an impact and on 63 he twisted and turned on the left before hitting a shot which took multiple deflections before going behind.
In the 67th minute, with Town not making too much of an impression on the Millers’ backline, the Blues swapped Rowe and Keane for Edwards and Norwood. A minute later, Rotherham switched Clarke for one-time Blues trialist Ogbene.
Three minutes later Garbutt made a brilliant run from very deep, taking the ball into the area via a couple of fortunate ricochets. However, keeper Iversen’s toe took it away from the left-back as he sought to round him and apply the final touch.
At the other end Ogbene almost added a third for the South Yorkshiremen, who were looking a danger on the counter-attack as Town went looking for a goal which would put them back in the game, the former Limerick man sliding in at the far post to divert Smith’s low cross from the right over.
Mattock was booked for a foul on Edwards wide on the Blues right in the 76th minute. From the freekick, Garbutt’s cross-shot flew over at the far post.
Two minutes later, Rotherham were an inch or two from making it 3-0 when Michael Ihiekwe nodded a Wiles corner against a post.
Moments later, the Millers replaced two-goal Crooks with Dan Barlaser as they prepared to take a freekick, Edwards having been booked for a foul.
As the match moved into its final 10 minutes Rotherham were looking the more likely scorers of the game’s third goal than the Blues.
Georgiou smashed in a low cross from the left in the 83rd minute but it was cleared at the near post. Seconds later Olosunde was replaced by Carlton Morris.
Skuse headed a Georgiou corner from the left wide on 88 but the game had been all but over for some while, even with the referee adding four minutes.
Referee Busby’s whistle was greeted by muted boos after a second disappointing Blues performance and result in a few days and a first home loss since the 1-0 defeat to Swansea in April.
The Blues switched things around at the break, moving into a more orthodox 4-4-2 but conceded Rotherham’s poor second only three minutes after the restart.
From there the Blues huffed and puffed and never seriously threatened the goal which would have brought them back into the game, aside perhaps from Garbutt’s solo run.
The team struggled to adjust to the changed system in the first half, with player literally tripping over one another in midfield at times, while too many put in under par performances. Set pieces were poor and all too often crosses hit the first man.
Peterborough’s 3-0 home victory over Accrington takes them above the Blues and Wycombe on goal difference - all three have 27 points - but with Town having a game in hand on both.
The Blues will be hoping to arrest their sudden slide when they travel to take on second-bottom Southend at Roots Hall on Saturday.
Town: Holy, Chambers (c), Skuse, Wilson, Vincent-Young, Nolan, Huws (Georgiou 59), Rowe (Edwards 67), Garbutt, Jackson, Keane (Norwood 67). Unused: Norris, Judge, Downes, Woolfenden.
Rotherham: Iversen, Jones, Wood (c), Ihiekwe, Mattock, Olosunde (Morris 84), Wiles, Lindsay, Clarke (Ogbene 69), Crooks (Barlaser 79), Smith. Unused: Price, Lamy, Hastie, Ladapo. Referee: John Busby (Oxfordshire). Att: 20,550 (Rotherham: 229).
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