Report: Late heartbreak for Blues as Smith’s last-minute goal secures Millers win
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Ipswich Town suffered late heartbreak at Rotherham this afternoon as Michael Smith’s 90th-minute goal condemned the Blues to a 1-0 defeat.
On an afternoon where the Blues gave debuts to four summer signings, the visitors came out the blocks fast but couldn’t find a way past the home defence, before Smith struck in the final minute of normal time as he swivelled to turn home a free-kick following a foul by Toto Nsiala.
The Blues deserved to leave with a point, in a game where neither side overly threatened the opposition goalkeeper.
Hurst made three changes to the side which drew with Blackburn last weekend, handing debuts to Toto Nsiala and Jon Nolan getting their first starts and Grant Ward returning from suspension on the left side in place of Freddie Sears.
As he was on his debut last weekend, Gwion Edwards was involved early and scampered away from Joe Mattock and delivered a dangerous low ball which was cut out by Zak Vyner ahead of the on-rushing Ellis Harrison and Ward.
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The Blues would maintain a high-tempo, strong start for much of the opening 25 minutes, with Trevoh Chalobah central to much of their best work as the Chelsea loanee moved the ball well through midfield.
Penalty appeals were waved away, as Nolan went down under pressure from Semi Ajayi, before Edwards saw an acrobatic effort blocked away by Will Vaulks and Janoi Donacien’s shot was deflected over the bar.
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The fast start faded, though, with the hosts beginning to work the ball into dangerous areas as the pace and power of Jon Taylor and Kyle Vassell tested debutante Nsiala and Donacien without ever calling Bartosz Bialkowski into action.
The sides went in level at the break before Nolan flashed a shot wide at the start of the second period.
Neither side were able to test the opposition goalkeeper before new signing Jackson emerged with 25 minutes remaining, with his pace stretching the Rotherham backline without being to force a way to goal.
Late penalty appeals were waved away after Jordan Roberts, on for his Ipswich debut, was sent crashing to the turf by Joe Mattock, with the Blues unable to test the Millers further.
There was a late sting in the tail, though, as Smith struck to condemn Hurst to defeat for the first time as Ipswich boss.
Rotherham United: Rodak; Vayner, Ajayi, Wiid, Mattock; Palmer, Taylor (Forde 67), Vaulks, Newell (Williams 62), Vassell, Smith
Subs: Price, Forde, Ball, Wiles, Raggett, Jones
Ipswich Town: Bialkowski; Danacien, Chambers, Nsiala, Knudsen; Chalobah, Skuse; Ward (Edun 77), Nolan, Edwards (Roberts 82) Harrison (Jackson 67)
Subs: Gerken, Spence, Sears, Kenlock
Attendance: 9,460 (1,345)