Ipswich Town 2-1 Doncaster Rovers: Lambert's men end crazy week with three more points
- Credit: Steve Waller www.stephenwaller.com
Goals from Alan Judge and James Norwood were enough as Ipswich Town won a second-successive game against a promotion contender.
Following Tuesday’s impressive win at Hull, Judge fired the Blues in front with a superb free-kick before Norwood doubled the advantage with a poacher’s finish before the hour mark.
The Blues had to soak up pressure, with Jon Taylor netting for the visitors, but they saw the job through to completion as Paul Lambert’s men secured three more valuable points.
The win comes a day after national reports of a potential American takeover at Portman Road, with investors said to be lining up Paul Cook to replace Lambert as manager at a time when Town now sit two points off the top six.
The eighth-placed Blues head to Accrington on Tuesday night to face a side sitting immediately above them on the same number of points.
Lambert kept an unchanged side for the third-successive game, with the Blues’s first attack coming through the centre of the pitch as Keanan Bennetts slipped a ball inside for Andre Dozzell to burst forward to the edge of the box. The midfielder’s final touch was too strong, though and the chance was gone.
Alan Judge nearly got his side in deep trouble as he pondered on the ball before eventually gifting it to Omar Bogle, but thankfully the Irishman was able to recover and win the ball back inside his own box.
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Tomas Holy’s first action of the afternoon saw the Czech get down well to block Josh Sims’ shot as it came through traffic, with the goalkeeper’s long ball down field creating an opening a few minutes later as James Norwood chested down for Troy Parrott to shoot wide.
Bennetts stung the palms of visiting keeper Ellery Balcombe after an Ipswich corner was cleared, with the Blues not having to wait too much longer to take the lead.
When it came it was a stunner, as Judge took aim from nearly 30 yards after Teddy Bishop had won a free-kick, with the Irishman’s shot sailing beyond the despairing dive of the Doncaster keeper.
Town had trailed their hosts in the possession stakes during the opening 25 minutes but took things up a gear once they had a lead, with Judge and Norwood both having shots deflected over the top for corners as the hosts ramped up the pressure.
Rovers midfielder John Bostock rammed the ball down the throat of Holy from 35 yards, as the visitors searched for a route back into the game, with the Town keeper needed again as he used his feet to block Taylor Richards’ shot before Toto Nsiala put in an excellent block to deny Josh Sims.
The Blues’ were living dangerously and were beginning to get overrun in midfield, though they did maintain a threat of their own as Bennetts was slipped into acres of space on the right of the Doncaster box. Sadly, though, he wasn’t able to make the most of his opening as he took too long before having his cross blocked.
Town led at the break but were on the backfoot at the start of the second period, before doubling their advantage through Norwood as the Town striker reacted quickest to poke Bishop’s header home as the midfielder put the ball back into danger.
Doncaster still came knocking, with Wilson needing to deflect a Fejiri Okenabirhie shot wide, before Rovers finally found their route back into the game.
Richards rattled Holy’s post before Taylor scuffed his follow-up, but the latter got another bite at it just a few seconds later as he was slipped in from deep and finished well, back across Holy.
Lambert emptied his bench, with Aaron Drinan and Freddie Sears joining Josh Harrop, Gwion Edwards and Flynn Downes entering the action, with the Blues looking to soak up visiting pressure as the contest entered the final 10 minutes.
But, despite a few scares, they got the job done to secure three more vital points.
Ipswich Town: Holy; Chambers, Nsiala, Wilson, Kenlock; Dozzell (Downes, 68), Bishop; Judge (Edwards, 68), Bennetts (Harrop, 75); Parrott (Sears, 80); Norwood (Drinan, 80)
Subs: Cornell, Ward
Doncaster Rovers: Balcombe; Halliday, Anderson, Wright, James; Smith (Robertson, 58), Bostock; Richards (Coppinger, 84), Sims (Taylor, 58), Okenabihrie (Lokilo, 84), Bogle
Subs: Jones, Gomes, John