Restless fans jeer poor Town display

THE sun was shining, the pitch looked good and the crowd were in expectant mood.This game had all the hallmarks of a pre-season friendly and even though Doncaster were looking for at least a point to ensure their Championship survival and made an effort, Town hardly bothered.

Derek Davis

THE sun was shining, the pitch looked good and the crowd were in expectant mood.

This game had all the hallmarks of a pre-season friendly and even though Doncaster were looking for at least a point to ensure their Championship survival and made an effort, Town hardly bothered.

You would never have thought that perhaps their manager's future was at stake and maybe they should at least make an effort.


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With everyone else on secure terms there was only Iv�n Campo in the starting line up playing for a contract and he was woeful with over hit passes and slow and sloppy defending.

Alex Bruce, who would love to stay at Town but not on what he considers derisory terms in relation to what some of his team-mates are on, was on the bench and there he stayed watching Town's back line get taken apart.

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Tommy Miller, waiting on a contract offer, was not even in the 16 although we are told he is fit, must be fearing the worst after being left out of the past two defeats.

It could be he returns this afternoon at Bristol City looking to add some impetus to Town's play.

Whether he would have done anything to prevent Rovers pinning Town back for the first 10 minutes is debatable but Ipswich were under the cosh non-stop even before Gareth Roberts scored from the left wing and almost 35 yards.

Rovers' early play deserved a goal but when they got it they could scarcely believe their luck. Roberts' cross didn't curl and instead floated over Richard Wright's head and into far corner. Fluky doesn't cover it and he was almost too embarrassed to celebrate.

That goal stung Town into life and they quickly responded with the hard-working David Norris putting a ball in for Pablo Counago who, back to goal, controlled and then laid off with a clever six-yard pass for the onrushing Owen Garvan. The young Irishman struck it low just inside a post to equalise and grab his seventh for the season.

Town enjoyed their best spell with Gio dos Santos hitting a post, while Jon Walters fired over the bar as did Garvan. But on the whole the game meandered along although Richard Wright, Town's proud skipper for the first time at Portman Road, was the busier of the two keepers without having too much of a heavy work load until the last 20 minutes.

After failing to get any joy out of David Wright and Jon Walters down the right side, Doncaster concentrated on the left flank with success.

James Chambers bombed forward from right back supporting John Spicer and Dean Shiels swapped flanks to outnumber Town.

The former Hibernian forward worked with Spicer to carve out space behind Ben Thatcher for Chambers who got to the by-line and was somehow able to cross past Pim Balkestein.

The waiting, and unmarked, Heffernan headed his effort goalwards but it was brilliantly saved by Wright on the goal-line right next to a post.

But the striker had time and space to follow up and shoot past Campo and Wright.

While the first was down to pure luck, the second a tad unfortunate for Wright if we are being generous, the third was rank bad defending from front to back.

After driving forward, Chambers again was allowed to cross and substitutes Lewis Guy and James Hayter combined to get past Campo and Balkestein.

Hayter kept his balance and nerve before knocking past a stranded Wright and the already restless Blues crowd lost patience completely.

The message that started in the North Stand but was soon taken up by all four stands was unequivocal and it was not the view of a minority as the club have us believe.

'We want Magilton out' and 'What a load of rubbish' chants were followed by boos and jeers as Jim Magilton took the lonely walk off the pitch.

He must have been thankful that owner Marcus Evans was not there to witness events on and off the pitch as he was away on business in the Far East.

Rovers finished strongly inspired by a battling skipper in Ritchie Wellens, who impudently tried his luck from 40 yards such was the confidence coursing through his side.

However, Ipswich lacked any sort of fight or desire.

The only bright spot was the introduction of Connor Wickham who, at 16 years and 11 days, made history by beating Jason Dozzell's record as the club's youngest ever debutant when he replaced Veliche Shumulikoski with 65minutes and 28 seconds played.

The Philip Morant schoolboy from Colchester produced a good first touch and held off a defender before passing wide to Walters.

He closed down, worked hard and did not look fazed but the lack of any real service meant he didn't have a real chance of his own, although he did try and tee-up Garvan.

But even his input could not stop the scorn pouring from the stands and it was clear the crowd did not consider this good enough for a pre-season game, never mind a Championship match.

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