Doncaster Rovers 0-1 Ipswich Town: Bakinson wins it for McKenna's Blues
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Ipswich Town were in control throughout as they beat Doncaster Rovers to close the gap on the League One play-off places.
Tyreeq Bakinson opened his Ipswich account, tapping home as he followed up Macauley Bonne’s saved header to score what ultimately proved to be the only goal of the contest.
Town had chances to extend their lead, notably Bonne’s multiple headed efforts at goal, but ultimately they had to rely on Bakinson’s strike to secure three more big points.
While the fragile nature of the Ipswich lead always brought concerns, you never truly felt like the Blues were going to concede to a Doncaster side sitting bottom of the League One table. The hosts didn’t manage a shot on target.
Ipswich kept the ball for long spells of this match and remained solid of the back, with that combination enough to secure a comfortable victory on a night when they needed to come home with all of the points.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Michael Carrick, two of Town boss Kieran McKenna’s former Manchester United colleagues, watched this match from the stands on a night when the Northern Irishman’s night secured back-to-back victories following Saturday’s victory over Gillingham.
The win closes the gap to the top six to six points, heading into Saturday’s big game at MK Dons, as the Blues continue their bid to break firmly back into the promotion
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McKenna made three changes to his side following the weekend victory over Gillingham, restoring Bonne to the central striking role in place of Joe Pigott.
Bersant Celina came into the starting XI on the left of the Ipswich attacking three, while Bakinson replaced Tom Carroll in the centre of midfield.
And the Blues, clad in their white away kit for this game, were on the attack early as Celina got on the ball on the right flank and delivered a teasing cross which Bonne headed wide from close range.
Town were finding gaps in the Doncaster defence much more readily than they were able to in Saturday’s win, with Conor Chaplin and Wes Burns both having efforts blocked behind as McKenna’s men continued to probe.
Bonne had another headed opening as he turned Dominic Thompson’s cross over the top of the bar, with Luke Woolfenden the next to see an opportunity come his way as his congested header from Lee Evans’ corner looped onto the roof of the net.
Then it was Chaplin’s turn again, as Saturday’s match-winner collected a superb Edmundson ball from the back, staying onside as he looked to turn the ball towards the Doncaster goal. He handled as he looked to bring it under control, though.
A rare Doncaster chance saw Josh Martin’s free-kick deflected over the top for a corner, which Town dealt with well before ultimately taking a lead which looked as if it had been coming.
Thompson’s cross from the left made it, with Chaplin cleverly heading the ball over the top of home defence, allowing Bonne to head towards goal. Home keeper Jonathan Mitchell made the save, but could only push the ball as far as Bakinson, who gobbled up the rebound to tap home.
Town took their one-goal lead in at the break, before Woolfenden headed over soon after it as the visitors continued to enjoy plenty of the ball while kicking towards their own supporters.
Bonne had a golden chance to make it 2-0, as he hung in the air well to head Celina’s cross straight at Mitchell, who was well-placed to push the Ipswich striker’s effort up and over the bar.
If anything highlighted how the Ipswich chances were being spready around in this game, it was the sight of Janoi Donacien heading over the top of the bar, before McKenna introduced Idris El Mizouni from the bench in place of Bakinson.
James Norwood replaced Bonne, firing an opportunity wide, soon after coming on, but it mattered little as Town secured the points.
Doncaster Rovers (4-2-3-1): Mitchell, Younger, Williams (Knoyle, 46), Oluwu, Jackson; Rowe (Gardner, 46), Smith, Seaman (Barlow, 84), Martin, Griffiths, Odubeko
Subs: Jones, Clayton, Barlow, Dodoo, Agard
Ipswich Town (4-3-3): Walton; Donacien, Woolfenden, Edmundson; Burns, Bakinson (El Mizouni, 76), Evans, Thompson; Celina, Chaplin (Aluko, 87), Bonne (Norwood, 77)
Subs: Hladky, Burgess, Vincent-Young, Jackson
Att: 6,383 (1,026)