Gallery: Town destroy Doncaster 6-0
IPSWICH TOWN completed a quick-fire double over Doncaster Rovers with an emphatic 6-0 victory at the Keepmoat Stadium.
Doncaster Rovers 0 Ipswich Town 6
IPSWICH TOWN completed a quick-fire double over Doncaster Rovers with an emphatic victory at the Keepmoat Stadium.
Having beaten Sean O’Driscoll’s side at home last month, Town scored three times in the opening half to set up the fourth win in six league games since Paul Jewell took over as Ipswich manager.
It was a Valentine’s Day (plus one) massacre and achieved with military style efficiency by the visitors to collect their first ever success at Doncaster.
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It was a joy to behold if you were a Town follower and showed how things have changed so dramatically since owner Marcus Evans decided to change managers at the beginning of last month.
Connor Wickham will take the honours for his first senior hat-trick but it was a wonderful all-round display against a side that had all their senior strikers missing.
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The home team were weakened through injuries and not in the best of health after a series of poor results, but they still had to be beaten, and Ipswich went about their task in a professional manner.
Two games in Yorkshire in four days did not prove too much of a problem for the Suffolk-based Blues having been denied all three points at Barnsley on Saturday by a last minute Tykes goal.
They looked fresh last night and they harried their opponents from the first whistle and after taking a rather fortunate lead in the 25th minute through an own goal by the all at sea Sam Hird there was only going to be one winner.
Colin Healy added a second goal in the 33rd minute with a sublime finish after a precise low cross by Lee Martin, and nine minutes later Connor Wickham drove home a third goal after keeper Gary Woods had failed to deal properly with a Healy 20 yard shot.
Further goals followed after the break with Wickham deadly accurate again in the 61st minute and Gareth McAuley netting his third goal of the season four minutes later.
Wickham won and converted a penalty in the 90th minute to complete his hat-trick and a memorable night for Ipswich.
Town scored five away from home when they beat Hull 5-2 in 2007 prior to netting six at home to Bristol City in the November of that year.
They now have 13 points out of the last 15 on offer.
This was Ipswich’s fifth away league win of the season and the eighth in total after three successes in the Carling Cup – and how their fans who travelled up the A1 lapped it up.
In Jewell’s opening five league games in charge Ipswich had accrued 10 points, which if maintained over a season would lead to automatic promotion.
Add these three points and the target of 50 that is normally regarded as being enough to secure another season at Championship is rapidly approaching.
It is a far cry to when Jewell took over in early January when the Blues had just 28 points and were three points above the drop zone.
Doncaster were particularly short of firepower and were there for the taking and with Healy, Jimmy Bullard and Grant Leadbitter winning the midfield battle this was achieved.
Carlos Edwards continued his good form at right back while Wickham showed the class that eluded him pre-Christmas and Lee Martin gave another effective if at times frustratingly na�ve display out wide.
With a stream of goals at one end and a clean sheet at the other it was a thoroughly satisfying evening for everybody connected with Ipswich Town with a performance that showed the complete transformation at the club since the change of manager.
Town were without skipper David Norris who suffered knee and ankle ligament damage in Saturday’s 1-1 draw at Barnsley with Colin Healy taking over the midfield role.
Jason Scotland came in to replace Tamas Priskin up front as Town manager Paul Jewell made a rare unforced alteration to his side.
Scotland netted at the weekend – his first away goal for Ipswich – and Town fans will be hoping he finds his scoring form and keeps his appetite for life at Portman Road with his former club Swansea showing interest in taking the 32-year-old back to Wales.
Grant Leadbitter, who took the captain’s armband when Norris departed at Oakwell, skippered the side while new signing Andy Drury was included on the substitutes’ bench for the first time.
Drury came on after the interval to take part in his first Football League game at the age of 27 and featured well mainly down the right flank.
When Leadbitter departed feeling the back of his left thigh a little, Mark Kennedy took over as skipper for the remainder of the match.
The team sheet showed that Ipswich had only named six substitutes although it transpired later that Luca Civelli’s name had been incorrectly omitted with Luke Hyam also having flown north on Monday afternoon with the rest of the Town party.
It was a rainy night in Yorkshire with this game having been called off a day before it should have been originally played on December 28 because the pitch was frozen solid.
This was two days after the Blues’ scheduled home match with Watford also fell victim to the weather and with Town now in improved form than they were under the management of Roy Keane it had the makings of being a blessing in disguise.
Town beat Doncaster 3-2 in the corresponding fixture last month when Billy Sharp could have had a hat-trick before the interval when Ipswich were fortunate to be just 1-0 down at the break.
Sharp, who failed a fitness test to play last night after getting a blow in his ribs during the home defeat to Portsmouth on Saturday, went on to score again but goals from Norris, Connor Wickham and Carlos Edwards were enough to give the Blues a welcome three points.
Ipswich had previously failed to win a league game at Doncaster having drawn last season after going 3-2 ahead with a few minutes left but conceding a late leveller when Quinton Fortune tried his luck from distance and beat Richard Wright in the visiting goal.
Town had their usual impressive number of travelling supporters at the ground and they were situated in a stand behind one of the goals.
There were a few puddles on the pitch that reflected off from the glare of the floodlights but the ball ran okay across the surface with the rain reduced to a drizzle by the game started.
The strength of the wind had increased making passing a bit of a lottery with anything other than a short controlled pass difficult to judge.
Ipswich manager Paul Jewell is looking to bring in a loan signing or two by the time Hull City visit Portman Road on Saturday with Norris again expected to be out and Jimmy Bullard unable to play under the terms of his loan move from the Humberside-based club.
Norris’ injury is not considered long term after he had his knee and ankle scanned and the gritty midfielder could well be back in action before the end of the month.
IPSWICH have a totesport.com Combination game against Colchester United today with a 2pm kick-off at the Playford Road training ground.
Jewell is expected to be looking on and seeing a number of his fringe players in action as Chris Kiwomya’s side looks to build on last Wednesday’s win at Didcot against Oxford United. Also taking an interest will be ex-Town star Russell Osman, who was this week appointed Under-18 Blues coach in succession to Mike Pejic.