Doncaster Rovers 4-1 Ipswich Town: Blues’ unbeaten start comes to emphatic end as errors cost Lambert’s men
Ipswich Town’s unbeaten start to the League One season came to an emphatic end as they were well-beaten at Doncaster.
The Blues took the lead when Luke Chambers forced Joe Wright into an own goal on 15 minutes but, once the hosts began to dominate the midfield battle, mid-way through the opening period, there was only going to be one winner.
The hosts were 2-1 up at the break, thanks to Cameron John’s thunderous shot off the bar and a fluke Ben Whiteman strike which drifted past the entire Ipswich defence and goalkeeper Tomas Holy, before two goals in two minutes during the second half effectively ended the game.
Both were the product of errors, firstly from Toto Nsiala and then Holy, with Ipswich punished as they slipped to defeat on the same October 20 date their unbeaten start to last season was ended at Accrington.
The previously excellent Ipswich defence began to creak in this game, with sloppy errors creeping in, while the midfield looked soft for long periods as the hosts controlled the middle of the pitch and reaped the rewards on a night where Town struggled to get things going in attack.
Paul Lambert will be hoping for a strong reaction to his team when they visit Lincoln this weekend.
The lead up to this game was dominated by a positive coronavirus test for striker Kayden Jackson and the subsequent need to test the rest of the squad in order for them to take their place at the Keepmoat Stadium.
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Thankfully the remaining players and staff all returned negative tests, meaning Lambert was able to select from his fit players as Town looked to extend their unbeaten run and strengthen their position at the top of the table.
The Scot opted to make one change to his side, with Jon Nolan returning to the side following injury in place of Teddy Bishop, who dropped to the bench alongside striker Oli Hawkins, who made a welcome return following fitness issues of his own.
Lambert’s men dominated the early play, having possession for every kick of the opening two minutes without being able to truly break into Doncaster territory, before the ball was surrendered when Emyr Huws was penalised for obstruction.
The front three started as they finished Saturday’s game, with Alan Judge on the right Gwion Edwards on the left and Freddie Sears down the middle, with the latter starting an excellent counter-attacking move as a clever header from Chambers’ pass freed Edwards, who executed a beautiful Diego Maradona-style turn before feeding Sears for a cross which was deflected out for a corner.
Huws to try his luck, with a low shot saved by Josef Bursik, but as Town continued to pass, they soon had their reward.
It was a goal born down the right flank, as Chambers won a good flick-on to find the feet of Judge, who popped a pass inside for his skipper to charge towards goal and play a low cross towards Freddie Sears which tempted Wright into turning into his own net.
The Town captain ran towards the corner, cupped an ear and pumped a fist at the imaginary crowd as his side took a deserved lead, but they were almost made to pay for a moment of extreme sloppiness a few minutes later. Goalkeeper Tomas Holy was the man at fault as, under little pressure, he scuffed a clearance straight to Josh Sims and would have been grateful to see defender Toto Nsiala bail him out with a good block on the Rovers loanee’ shot.
That was a warning, with Doncaster’s first shot on target ending up in the back of the net as Cameron John profited when Town’s defenders were pulled out of position and moving past James Wilson to lash home off the underside of the bar.
Madger Gomes then fired wide as he picked up possession on the edge of the Town box following Nsiala’s headed clearance, with Rovers now the dominant side following the Blues’ fast start.
And that dominance was rewarded when, following a short corner, Whiteman delivered a teasing cross which evaded everyone and ended up nestling in the corner of Holy’s net.
The midfielder’s goal saw Town trailing for the first time in the league this season as the first half came to an end, with Sears’ beginning the second period with a good low effort which Bursik was able to hold.
There was another scare when Wilson allowed a through-ball past him, with Nsiala not reacting quick enough to stop Sims from shooting. But thankfully the Southampton loanee put his shot wide of Holy’s goal.
Town’s task became that bit tougher when Nsiala was caught out by a long ball over the top as Sims burst past him with ease, before the Town defender dragged his man to the floor for a penalty which Whiteman converted past Holy. The Town management were convinced the offence occurred outside the areas, but it looked clearly inside.
Then, within two minutes, the job became impossible as Dozzell’s sloppy pass gifted Rovers possession on the edge of the Ipswich box, allowing Fejiri Okenabirhie to lash home to put the game beyond Lambert’s men.
The Town boss introduced Teddy Bishop, Oli Hawkins and Keanan Bennetts to try and change the tide, but there was to be no way back.
Doncaster Rovers: Bursik, Halliday, Anderson, Wright, Gomes, Whiteman, Okenabirhie (Richards, 76), Taylor, Smith (Williams, 86), Sims (James, 77), John
Subs: Jones, Lokilo, Butler, Coppinger
Ipswich Town: Holy; Chambers, Nsiala, Wilson, Kenlock; Dozzell, Huws (Bishop 60), Nolan; Judge, Edwards (Bennetts, 76), Sears (Hawkins, 69)
Subs: Cornell, McGuinness, Woolfenden, Lankester