|Ipswich Town 2 v 1 Doncaster Rovers|
SkyBet League One
Saturday, 27th February 2021 Kick-off 15:00
Ipswich Town 2-1 Doncaster Rovers - Match Report
Saturday, 27th Feb 2021 17:06
Alan Judge’s fantastic 25-yard free-kick and a predatory effort from James Norwood saw the Blues to a 2-1 victory over Doncaster Rovers at Portman Road and up to eighth in League One. Judge curled home a brilliant opener on 24, Norwood stabbed in the second in the 54th minute, before sub Jon Taylor pulled one back on 73 for Rovers, who pushed for a leveller in the final minutes but without success.
Town named the same side for the third successive game as they looked to build on Tuesday’s 1-0 win at Hull City.
Tomas Holy was again in goal with the back four, from the right, skipper Luke Chambers, Toto Nsiala, James Wilson and Myles Kenlock.
Andre Dozzell and Teddy Bishop were at the centre of the midfield with Judge on the left and Keanan Bennetts on the right, while Troy Parrott was behind lone out-and-out striker James Norwood.
Flynn Downes was back on the bench following his two-match ban with Luke Matheson dropping out of the 18.
Town assistant manager Stuart Taylor was again not in the dugout, as has been the case for the last two games, and announced earlier today that his father had died. The Blues players wore black armbands in tribute.
Doncaster made two changes from their last game, coincidentally also against Hull, a 3-3 home draw a week ago, with Fejiri Okenabirhie and John Bostock coming into the XI and Taylor and Madger Gomes dropping to the bench.
Prior to kick-off both teams, again with the exception of Nsiala as has been the case for the last two matches, took a knee in support of Black Lives Matter.
Doncaster saw most of the ball early on but in their own half of the field. The Blues made a break forward in the fifth minute through Bennetts, who fed Dozzell bursting towards the area but the former England U20 international was let down by his touch and the ball was cleared against him and over the bar.
A loose Judge pass was played to the feet of Omar Bogle on the right of the Town area in the seventh minute. The Blues forced the ball away from the striker but eventually it fell to Okenabirhie, who hit a low shot across the face of goal which Holy watched past his post.
Rovers continued to dominate possession with Town not able to get their passing going, although while presenting a potential threat on the counter-attack. On 17 Parrott mis-hit a bouncing ball which had fallen to him fortuitously 25 yards out well wide.
Two minutes later, Bennetts curled a shot into Ellery Balcombe’s arms after the Doncaster keeper had punched a corner to the edge of the box.
In the 23rd minute, Nsiala headed a Judge free-kick from the right back across the box, off a defender and wide. Referee Martin Coy adjudged Norwood to have committed a foul, much to the annoyance of the frontman.
Despite having had only a small share of the ball - the possession percentage stats at this stage were 72-28 in the visitors’ favour - the Blues had looked the more dangerous side and in the 24th minute they went ahead.
Bishop was brought down by Taylor Richards 25 yards out towards the left and Judge curled a brilliant free-kick past Balcombe to his left and into the corner of the net. It was the Irishman’s third goal of the season and probably the best of his Town career.
Having got their noses in front, the Blues began to put Rovers under pressure as they looked for a second.
Just after the half hour, Kenlock cut the ball back from the left towards Judge, who looked set to score his second of the game until Rovers skipper Tom Anderson dived in to block and divert his effort at goal over.
But the visitors quickly began to press Town at the other end, John Bostock hitting a shot into Holy’s arms in the 34th minute, then two minutes later, the Blues keeper reacted quickly to save from Richards before Nsiala blocked from Josh Sims. Moments later, Bogle shot wide.
Sims tried his luck again on 40 from just outside the Town area but failed to trouble Holy then two minutes later, after Bennetts had lost possession in a promising position on the right of the Rovers box, Reece James worked his way into the left of the Town area but hit a weak effort with the side of his foot which again failed to trouble Holy.
Just before the half was brought to an end by referee Coy’s whistle, Holy was quickly off his line to claim a ball just in front of Richards.
In many ways much of the half was a mirror image of many of Town’s matches this season. Doncaster had dominated possession without showing too much purpose early on, but it was the Blues who took the lead and had created more of the chances at that stage having looked a danger on the counter-attack.
Judge, having scored his superb free-kick, might have made it 2-0 before the visitors began to threaten more in the latter stages, although with most of their efforts hit from distance and Holy not troubled.
Two minutes after the restart, Kenlock was booked for a foul on Richards having been spoken to by the referee for a previous transgression in the first half.
Norwood should have doubled the Blues’ lead in the 52nd minute when Judge crossed from the left and the ball reached the striker at the far post but his scuffed effort into the ground bounced across the face of goal and was nodded out by Joe Wright.
But Norwood didn’t have to wait too long for his fifth goal of the season, joining Gwion Edwards and Jon Nolan as the Blues’ joint-top scorer.
Balcombe punched clear a corner from the right, Bishop nodded it back in, it scuffed off a defender’s head and fell to Norwood, who stuck out a toe to stab past Balcombe from a few feet.
Judge wasn’t too far away from his second of the afternoon and Town’s third in the 55th minute, his curling effort from the edge of the area only just going over the bar. Three minutes later, Rovers swapped Sims and Matt Smith for Taylor and Scott Robertson.
Rovers hadn’t looked particularly dangerous in the second half but on 65 Okenabirhie crossed low from the left and Bogle’s effort at goal was deflected wide off Wilson. Three minutes later, Town swapped Dozzell and Judge for Downes and Edwards.
Doncaster began to up the pressure and in the 72nd minute they hit the post, Richards striking a low shot which beat Holy to his left but cannoned off the foot of the woodwork.
But in the following passage of play, the South Yorkshireman were able to pull a goal back. Downes slid in to make a challenge 10 yards outside the area and inadvertently played the ball into the path of sub Taylor on the right of the box from where he struck a low shot across Holy and into the net. It was the first goal the Blues had conceded in four games.
Town replaced Bennetts with Josh Harrop in the 75th minute with Doncaster still seeing a lot of the ball but without having been able to create another chance. Four minutes later, Aaron Drinan took over from Norwood and Freddie Sears replaced Parrott.
On 82 Richards almost played in Bogle with a clever pass but the former Grimsby man was just unable to get his toe to the ball.
Two minutes later, Richards shot high and wide before he and Okenabirhie were switched for James Coppinger and Jason Lokilo.
On 86 Coppinger played a free-kick on the right to Robertson not far outside the area but the sub scuffed his effort through to Holy as a number of Town players charged towards him.
Rovers continued to pass the ball around, probing for a gap in the Blues’ backline. Just before the fourth official’s board indicated four additional minutes, Brad Halliday struck a 25-yard shot straight at Holy, who had made a lot of saves but few which were more than regulation stops.
There were no major scares for the Blues in the final minutes and referee Coy confirmed their first back-to-back wins since October and a second scalp among the teams in the top six in five days following their struggles against the better sides previously this season.
Having got their second goal via Norwood, Town were able to stand firm in the latter stages as Doncaster, who always had the lion’s share of the ball, put them under pressure. Taylor’s goal gave Rovers, who beat the Blues 4-1 at the Keepmoat Stadium earlier in the season, a sniff but an equaliser never really looked on the cards.
The win moves the Blues, who are now undefeated in four, conceding only once in that time, up to eighth in the table, now only two points behind today’s opponents with a game in hand ahead of Tuesday’s trip to Accrington Stanley, who drew 1-1 at Fleetwood this afternoon.
Town: Holy, Chambers (c), Nsiala, Wilson, Kenlock, Dozzell (Downes 68), Bishop, Bennetts (Harrop 75), Judge (Edwards 68), Parrott (Sears 79), Norwood (Drinan 79). Unused: Cornell, Ward, Sears, Drinan.
Doncaster: Balcombe, Halliday, James, Anderson (c), Wright, Bogle, Okenabirhie (Coppinger 84), Smith (Robertson 58), Bostock, Richards (Lokilo 84), Sims (Taylor 58). Unused: Jones, Gomes, John. Referee: Martin Coy (Durham).
Photo: Matchday Images
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