|Ipswich Town 0 v 2 Rotherham United|
SkyBet League One
Tuesday, 23rd November 2021 Kick-off 19:45
Ipswich Town 0-2 Rotherham United - Match Report
Tuesday, 23rd Nov 2021 21:46
A goal in either half from Ben Wiles and Shane Ferguson saw Rotherham to a comfortable 2-0 victory over the Blues, extending the Millers’ unbeaten run to 15 games and taking them to the top of League One. Wiles opened the scoring on 24 with a shot from the edge of the box with Ferguson adding the second a minute before the hour with the Blues never looking like getting back into the match.
Conor Chaplin came into the Town side for Sone Aluko, who was absent from the 18, but in the number 10 role with Bersant Celina on the right, while Fraser started on the left with Kyle Edwards on the bench.
Matt Penney was back on the bench having been left out of the squad for the last three league games.
For Rotherham, 12-goal top scorer Michael Smith returned from a one-match ban, while midfielder Ollie Rathbone didn’t make the trip having been ill.
The Millers were forced into a late change with keeper Josh Vickers dropping out and sub Viktor Johansson starting.
After the teams taking a knee had been warmly applauded, the game got under way with neither side threatening in a high tempo opening.
Rotherham forced the first save of the game in the 12th minute when Jamie Lindsay hit a curling effort from the edge of the box and Christian Walton did well to get across to his left to tip away for a corner.
Town were seeing a lot of the ball but with the Millers very quickly on to the man in possession they didn’t create a chance until the 21st minute when Janoi Donacien’s header into the box from Macauley Bonne’s left-sided cross was half-cleared to Fraser, who scuffed his shot wide.
Four minutes later, the visitors took the lead. Wiles was allowed to bring the ball to the edge of the area unchallenged from deep before hitting a shot to Walton’s left and into the net. It looked stoppable and the keeper’s reaction suggested he felt he ought to have done better.
It was a poor goal to concede from a Town perspective and handed the impetus to the South Yorkshiremen, who immediately went looking for a second, Lee Evans making an important block on the left of the box and Fraser eventually clearing after the Blues had made heavy weather of getting it out of their area.
A minute later, a clever Town move down the left ended with Bonne losing his footing as he looked to cut Chaplin’s pass into the six-yard box.
In the 31st minute, Freddie Ladapo shot across the face of Walton’s goal from the right from Smith’s pass.
The Blues were having long spells with the ball but without being able to break through the visitors’ determined defence.
The Millers were looking far more dangerous on the break and on 38 skipper Richard Wood headed Ferguson’s free-kick across the face of goal but with Rarmani Edmonds-Green and Ladapo unable to reach it at the far post, fortunately for the Blues.
On 40 Lindsay was shown the first yellow card of the game for stopping Town from taking a quick free-kick, then four minutes later Michael Ihiekwe joined him in the book for dissent, which he continued as he walked away from referee Ward who called him back but decided not to issue any further sanction.
The niggly Rotherham fouls in the closing stages of the half meant the game had little flow, although the Blues won a late corner but which ultimately came to nothing.
The scoreline at the break was a fair reflection of the opening period with the Blues having been unable to lay a glove on the well-organised Millers, who had looked much more of a threat when breaking, although Town will feel they played a big part in Wiles’s goal.
Town had seen plenty of the ball but had been hesitant in playing the final ball into the box or taking a shot with their spells in possession all too often seeing them make their way towards the edge of the area then away again as they struggled to find an opening.
Rotherham really should have doubled their lead three minutes after the restart when Smith tried to head down to Ladapo from Ferguson’s left-wing cross when he should have nodded at goal and failed to find his team-mate by some distance.
Town weren’t too far away from levelling in the 50th minute when Evans curled a free-kick just over from 25 yards after Fraser had been fouled by Lindsay.
After a shaky moment when Blues defenders and Ladapo both failed to get anything on one-time Town trialist Chiedozie Ogbene’s cross from the right, the ball eventually reaching Walton, Town worked their way into the box on the left of the Rotherham area before Chaplin’s low cross was cleared.
Town found some space in the Millers’ half for the first time in the 58th minute but Fraser was unable to find Bonne with his through ball, much to the frustration of the home support.
And a minute later, the visitors doubled their lead. Ogbene worked his way past Clements on the right, Ladapo's effort was blocked but Ferguson was able to slam into the roof of the net at the far post to claim his first goal for the Millers.
Town had a mountain to climb at 2-0 against a side against whom they were yet to manage a shot on target and it was no surprise when manager Paul Cook made changes in the 63rd minute with Edwards and Penney taking over from Evans and Clements.
Town continued to huff and puff without looking particularly dangerous, while Rotherham came very close to netting a third when Smith headed Ferguson’s left-wing cross over from close range following a long spell in possession.
The Blues swapped Chaplin for Joe Pigott in the 73rd minute with a Rotherham third looking more likely than Town pulling one back.
Penney did well to work his way in from the left on 74 but failed to beat the first man with his low cross. Moments later, a Town corner from the right came to nothing.
Edwards did well to beat Ogbene as the game moved towards its final 10 minutes but failed to find Celina with his cutback. Moments later, the Millers swapped Irish international Ogbene and Ferguson for Mickel Miller and Wes Harding.
On 87 Dan Barlaser was cautioned for time-wasting then Edmundson joined him in the book presumably for scuffling ahead of the free-kick.
In injury time, Pigott looped a header at goal which Johansson claimed under his bar to sarcastic cheers from the Sir Bobby Robson Stand.
Morsy scuffed a decent opportunity wide before the final whistle was greeted by muted boos from a frustrated home support.
Town had been comfortably beaten by a well-drilled Rotherham side who prevented the Blues from managing a shot on target until injury time at one end while carving out enough chances to win the game, more than 2-0 had Smith taken his opportunity.
While the Blues ought to have had the Sunderland game won before the Black Cats’ two late goals, Rotherham showed that they’re a level above most of the rest of the sides towards the top of the division
They never allowed Town a sniff and once they had established their lead, where the points were going was in little doubt.
A chastening lesson for the Blues, who are down to 13th ahead of Sunday’s home game against bottom club Crewe Alexandra.
Town: Walton, Donacien, Nsiala, Edmundson, Clements (Penney 63), Morsy (c), Evans (Edwards 63), Chaplin (Pigott 73), Celina, Fraser, Bonne. Unused: Hladky, Burgess, Vincent-Young, Harper.
Rotherham: Johansson, Barlaser, Wood (c), Wiles, Ladapo (Sadlier 86), Ogbene (Miller 81), Lindsay, Ferguson (Harding 81), Ihiekwe, Edmonds-Green, Smith. Unused: Vickers, Sadlier, Grigg, Kayode, Odoffin. Referee: Gavin Ward (Surrey). Att: 18,221 (Rotherham: 267).
Photo: Matchday Images
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