Gallery: Fans want Jim out as Town lose again

THERE were strong chants from the North Stand for the removal of Ipswich Town manager Jim Magilton as Ipswich Town sank to their sixth home Coca-Cola Championship defeat of the season at Portman Road this afternoon.

Elvin King

Ipswich Town 1 Doncaster Rovers 3

THERE were strong chants from the North Stand for the removal of Ipswich Town manager Jim Magilton as Ipswich Town sank to their sixth home Coca-Cola Championship defeat of the season at Portman Road this afternoon.

The Blues can have no complaints against an ordinary Doncaster Rovers side with little money and no pedigree at this level.

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Town were that bad and now face the prospect of finishing in the bottom half of the table.

The North Stand made their feelings known with a chant of 'What a load of rubbish' and 'Jim Magilton out' as the game entered its final stages.

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Doncaster took a highly fortunate lead when a deep cross from Gareth Roberts somehow found the net in the ninth minute with Owen Garvan equalising with an accurate low sizzler four minutes later.

Town dominated for a while after their equaliser and Giovana Dos Santos struck the post.

But Ipswich were looking disorganised and ragged by the time Paul Heffernan put Rovers ahead again in the 74th minute.

Substitute James Hayter made it three in the 85th minute as chants for Magilton's removal intensified in the North Stand.

Jon Walters was back in the starting Town line-up after suffering ruptured ankle ligaments just over a month ago having confirmed that he will be staying with the Blues next season.

Also back in the side were David Wright, Pablo Counago and Giovani Dos Santos. Out went Alex Bruce, Alan Quinn and Kevin Lisbie, who all dropped to the bench and Jon Stead who was injured.

There was no place for Tommy Miller in the final 16, while 16-year-old Stanway-based schoolboy Connor Wickham made his senior debut as a 65th minute substitute to become the youngest-ever Town senior player ahead of Jason Dozzell, who was 16-years and 57 days old when he played against Coventry in February 1984. Wickham was 16 just 11 days ago.

Town manager Jim Magilton kept faith with Owen Garvan and Veliche Shumulikoski in midfield after they took time to find their feet on their returns after lengthy absences in last week's 2-0 defeat at in-form Sheffield United.

These two teams have met only five times in the league with Town winning both previous games at Portman Road. The Yorkshire side was looking for a double after a 1-0 win at the Keepmoat Stadium earlier in the campaign.

Town, effectively playing with three up front in Walters, Counago and Dos Santos, hardly had a touch in the opening six minutes, and Wilson had an early goal-bound shot deflected by Campos while Woods fired over when well placed at an angle left of goal.

It was no surprise when Doncaster took the lead in the ninth minute - but the goal was a huge surprise to ROBERTS.

His intended cross from the left touchline floated on and on and over the despairing hands of a back-pedalling R Wright to nestle into the far side netting for a most fortunate goal.

Roberts shrugged his shoulders to signify his amazement at finding the net. To their credit Town hit straight back to equalise in the 13th minute.

Norris showed enterprise going forward, and Counago took the ball on his chest to set up GARVAN for a free unmarked shot from 18-yards that entered the net in the corner to Sullivan's right.

It was Garvan's seventh goal of the season - probably his best - and Town almost grabbed a second goal in the 17th minute when Garvan set up for Dos Santos for a 10-yard shot that struck the foot of Sullivan's left-hand post.

Town had only scored twice in the previous six games, so Garvan's strike was welcome, although Doncaster hit back with a neat move in the 26th minute that ended with Shiels shooting a yard over from 19-yards.

Walters and then Garvan shot over as Town enjoyed the majority of possession. Rovers were certainly not sitting back, and the wandering Spicer had space on the left to drill a cross that went through the heart of the home defence.

As the game approached the interval the pace had slackened with a level score line a fair reflection of proceedings.

Mid-table Doncaster had lost their previous four games while Town were looking to improve a record of just one win in seven matches - and only one home victory in the league since mid-December.

In McAuley's absence - he could be back at Bristol City on Monday - Richard Wright again captained the Blues.

Balkestein had a header clawed away by Sullivan not long after the re-start - with the game now resembling what it was - a mid-table end of season affair.

Wickham received a big cheer when he took over from Shumulikoski to try and pep some life into a Town side that had become disorganised and ragged with visiting fans making their presence felt.

The game was dying on its feet and it was a case of whether Ipswich could hold on to their point with precious little cohesion and not much passion.

But they went behind in the 74th minute after a deep cross by Wilson from the right. R Wright made a good save from a close range header by HEFFERNAN, but the visiting striker was quickly on to the rebound to drive low into the net as the Town keeper got to his feet.

Doncaster scored again in the 85th minute when Chambers crossed from the right and Guy fed fellow substitute HAYTER who went beyond Campo too easily to beat the exposed R Wright.

Lockwood was taken off by the mobile stretcher in the final stages with shell-shocked Town now a well beaten side and Magilton hidden away in the home dug-out.

The final whistle ended with boos all around the ground as Magilton trudged alone to the safety of the changing room.


Ipswich Town: R Wright; D Wright, Campo, Balkestein, Thatcher; Norris (sub Quinn 79 mins), Shumulikoski (Wickham 65), Garvan; Walters, Counago (Lisbie 79), Dos Santos. Substitutes: Bialkowski, Bruce.

Doncaster Rovers: Sullivan; Chambers, Lockwood (Van Nieuwstadt 89), Mills, Roberts; Spicer (Guy 74), Wellens, Woods, Wilson; Shields; Heffernan (Hayter 74). Substitutes: Hird, LuaLua.

Referee: Mr K Stroud (Hampshire)

Attendance: 19,918.

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