Ipswich Town 6-0 Doncaster Rovers - Match Report
Tuesday, 28th Sep 2021 21:47
Lee Evans hit his first career hat-trick as rampant Town thrashed Doncaster Rovers 6-0 at Portman Road. The Blues, previously without a home win this season, went in front via Macauley Bonne in the 13th minute with Evans netting his first on 31 to make it 2-0 at the break. After a slow start to the second period, the Blues went into overdrive in the final 20 minutes with Evans netting his second on 70, Bonne his second two minutes later, then the Welshman completed his hat-trick on 76, before George Edmundson completed the rout with 10 minutes left on the clock.
Sam Morsy was handed his Blues league debut as skipper and Evans returned to the team.
Morsy, who had previously been serving a suspension from his time with Middlesbrough, and Evans, who missed Saturday’s 1-1 draw with Sheffield Wednesday with a hamstring injury, came in to the centre of midfield with Idris El Mizouni dropping to the bench with Tom Carroll missing from the 18.
Kyle Edwards was also absent from the squad, despite manager Paul Cook having said he expected the winger to return. Joe Pigott was also missing with James Norwood back on among the subs.
Doncaster made one change from their weekend 2-1 defeat at Plymouth with Dan Gardner coming in for Ethan Galbraith, who dropped out of the squad.
Ahead of kick-off both teams took a knee, including Bersant Celina who didn’t join his team-mates in doing so ahead of the Owls match.
Town started on the front foot with Wes Burns winning a fourth minute corner, which Scott Fraser hit straight into visiting keeper Pontus Dahlberg’s midriff. As the Sweden international kicked out of his hands, Cameron Burgess blocked and the centre-half was shown an unnecessary early yellow card.
The Blues had one or two scruffy moments as they looked for the opening goal but in the 13th minute it came, and from a familiar source.
After intercepting a poor Ben Close pass, Burns outpaced Tommy Rowe, brother of former Blue Danny, on the right of the box and cut across to Macauley Bonne, who tapped home his sixth of the season from close range at the far post.
Town kept up the pressure and in the 21st minute, Celina played in Burns on the right of the area and the Welshman again crossed for Bonne, but the linesman had raised his flag against the right winger and in any case the striker was unable to get enough on it to direct it goalwards.
The Blues continued to control the game and look for a second and on 27 Fraser played a pass which would have seen Celina in on goal on the right but a defender’s out-stretched foot cut it out.
But Town fans didn’t have to wait too long for the lead to be doubled. In the 31st minute, Fraser’s corner from the right flicked off Rovers skipper Tom Anderson’s head and reached Evans at the back of the box from where the Wales international volleyed home his first goal for the club.
Rovers right midfielder Joe Dodoo was booked for a foul on Penney on 35, then two minutes later Celina, who was finding acres of space to work in in the middle of the park and was at the heart of every Town attack, hit a snapshot from 30 yards which Dahlberg bundled uncomfortable behind. Following the corner, Morsy shot over from a similar distance.
As half-time approached Town were completely dominant, passing the ball around slickly and confidently with Doncaster chasing shadows.
The half-time whistle was greeted by warm applause with the Blues having maintained the pressure up to the break having won a couple of corners in the final moments.
Once Town had got their noses in front - Burns again having used his pace to good effect and Bonne maintaining the predatory start he’s made to his Portman Road career - the Blues had been well on top and in total control against a Doncaster side looking every bit the bottom-placed side that they currently are.
Debutant skipper Morsy had added stability and assuredness to the Blues midfield with his defensive instincts and reading of the game allowing Evans perhaps more confidence to push forward than in previous matches.
Celina was regularly finding himself space and had made a number of incisive passes which might well have led to goals.
Rovers substitutions ahead of a second half in which they had a mountain to climb came as little surprise with Joseph Olowu coming on for Jordy Hiwula and Rodrigo Vilca for Gardner.
The changes tightened things up for Doncaster but the Blues were still on top albeit without creating a clear-cut chance in the early stages, while Vaclav Hladky in the Town goal remained a largely a spectator.
On 59 Matt Smith was booked for an ugly-looking challenge on Evans midway inside the Town half well after the ball had gone.
Four minutes later, Janoi Donacien whipped over a brilliant cross from the right and Burns hit a volley on the turn which pole-axed Doncaster defender Kyle Knoyle, who was OK to carry on after receiving treatment on the pitch.
Doncaster struck their first shot of the game in the 69th minute, Tiago Cukur curling a not overly challenging effort to Hladky, who claimed above his head.
That seemed to spur Town into upping the previously somewhat sedate tempo and Celina shot not too far wide.
And in the 70th minute the Blues went three in front. Celina, now playing wide on the left with Fraser in the number 10 role, crossed and Evans nodded a far-post header beyond Dahlberg and into the corner of the net for his second of the match and his Town career.
Two minutes later, it was 4-0. Penney played a great first-time ball down the left for Celina, who reached it at the byline before crossing to Bonne, who, with his back to goal, took a touch before smashing his seventh of the season to Dahlberg’s right.
And in the 76th minute Evans completed his hat-trick as the Blues went five in front. Celina brought the ball in from the left and fed Burns in the area. The winger turned it on to Evans unmarked on the right of the box and the Welshman smashed his third of the game into the net off the underside of the bar.
Town swapped Burns and Celina for Sone Aluko and Conor Chaplin and the goals kept coming.
As the match entered the final 10 minutes, Evans sent in a free-kick from the left and Edmundson poked home his first goal for the club from a couple of feet.
Evans was given a standing ovation as he left the field having scored Town’s first hat-trick since Grant Ward’s debut treble on the opening day of 2016/17 against Barnsley and was replaced by Rekeem Harper.
On 88 it was almost seven, Harper hitting a low effort which struck Dahlberg’s left post and bounced to relative safety.
That was the last action of the game in which the Blues’ season finally came alive. Town were dominant throughout and might well have scored even more.
Town last scored six in February 2011, coincidentally, at Doncaster when Connor Wickham claimed a hat-trick. The Blues last netted six at home against Bristol City in November 2007 when Jon Walters - who was watching tonight's match - scored a hat-trick.
The Blues, who are up to 19th, are next in action at Accrington Stanley on Saturday and they will travel to the North-West with a spring in their step and renewed belief that they can achieve their aim of promotion this season.
Town: Hladky, Donacien, Edmundson, Burgess, Penney, Evans (Harper 82), Morsy (c), Burns (Aluko 77), Celina (Chaplin 77), Fraser, Bonne. Unused: Holy, Woolfenden, El Mizouni, Norwood.
Doncaster: Dahlberg, Knoyle, Anderson (c), Williams, Close, Rowe, Smith, Hiwula (Olowu 46), Dodoo, Cukur (Barlow 78), Gardner (Vilca 46). Unused: Jones, Seaman, Horton, Hasani. Referee: Carl Brook (Sussex). Att: 18,111 (Doncaster: 165).
Photo: Matchday Images
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