Ipswich Town 0-0 Doncaster Rovers: Points shared at Portman Road as Lambert’s men fail to find a way through in stalemate
- Credit: Picture: Steve Waller
Ipswich Town had to settle for a point at Portman Road as both the Blues and Doncaster held onto their unbeaten League One records.
Paul Lambert's men huffed and puffed throughout but were never able to test Rovers goalkeeper Alex Lawlor regularly enough, with striker James Norwood forcing two good saves from the visiting goalkeeper. Town stopper Tomas Holy was required to make two good stops to ensure the hosts earned at least a point, as the Czech goalkeeper denied both Jon Taylor and Niall Ennis.
Ipswich struggled to dominate the midfield area for much of this game, given Rovers' man advantage in that area of the field, with strikers Norwood and Kayden Jackson, as well as the returning Will Keane, feeding off scraps in the final third for much of the game.
While you could certainly argue the visitors were the better side, a draw is perhaps a fair result between two good teams.
The point, which extends Ipswich's unbeaten start to seven games, moves the Blues up to second in the table, a point behind new leaders Coventry with a game in hand.
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Next up is a visit to MK Dons on Tuesday night.
Lambert made one change to his league side as the Blues returned to action after the international break, with Gwion Edwards coming in for Danny Rowe, who dropped out of the 18 entirely.
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But the incoming Welshman and wing partner Alan Judge saw little of the ball during the early exchanges as Doncaster kept hold of the ball well and had the better of the play.
The visitors were comfortable on the ball and were making their advantage in the middle of the pitch count, with striker Niall Ennis forcing the first save from Tomas Holy as the Town goalkeeper palmed away a waist-height effort well.
Ipswich strikers, Norwood and Jackson, continued to see very little ball as the Blues opted to go long rather than play their way through a congested midfield area, despite having good patterns of play in their own territory.
When the hosts were able to mount periods of pressure, such as Jackson's ball to free Norwood and the latter's towering header at the back post from a corner which brought danger, Doncaster were on hand to snuff it out as the Blues failed to test Ian Lawlor.
Downes volleyed over when presented with the ball on the edge of the box from Judge's corner, before Doncaster they should probably have been ahead before the half-time whistle.
The danger once again came down the left, where Myles Kenlock had endured a difficult 45 minutes, and saw Ennis cross after evading Chambers. Thankfully Jon Taylor took a poor touch before Holy spread himself superbly to save his close-range effort which the skipper ultimately headed clear.
The Blues were better at the start of the second, seeing more of the ball in the midfield area and giving themselves a platform from which to play, but it wasn't bringing chances.
The best of them came from an Edwards cross which Jackson bravely met with his head but couldn't quite turn towards goal, before the striker then lashed a shot over the top from range.
Matty Blair glanced a header wide before a double Ipswich change, which saw Anthony Georgiou and Jon Nolan replace Edwards and Downes.
Norwood's best chance of the game saw the striker thwarted from a tight angle as his dinked effort was well-saved by Lawlor, before Kenlock superbly blocked a goal-bound Ennis shot at the other end.
Doncaster's changes, which saw Alfie May and Kieran Sadlier enter the game, saw Rovers move up a gear and pick their way through the Ipswich line to cross on a few occasions, with Ben Sheaf rattling the outside of Holy's post with a driven effort from 25 yards.
Ipswich's best chance of the half came in added time, when Skuse's long ball over the top superbly sprang Norwood clear, but the striker's left-footed effort was palmed away by Lawlor.
Ipswich Town: Holy; Vincent-Young, Chambers, Woolfenden, Kenlock; Skuse, Downes, Edwards (Georgiou 63), Judge (Georgiou 63); Norwood, Jackson (Keane 78)
Subs: Norris, Wilson, Dozzell, Dobra
Doncaster Rovers: Lawlor; Halliday, John, Anderson, James; Whiteman, Sheaf, Taylor, Coppinger (Sadlier 70), Blair (May 70), Ennis (Kiwomya 84)
Subs: Diang, Gomes, Longbottom, Kiwomya, Daniels
Attendance: 18,928 (621 Doncaster fans)