We have to do better, says skipper

Ipswich Town 4Rotherham United 3BLUES skipper Jim Magilton last night warned that Ipswich would be murdered in the Premiership if they defend as they did against Rotherham, writes Derek Davis.

Ipswich Town 4

Rotherham United 3

BLUES skipper Jim Magilton last night warned that Ipswich would be murdered in the Premiership if they defend as they did against Rotherham, writes Derek Davis.

In a crazy game of seven goals, Town were 4-1 up and cruising before Rotherham hit back to set the nerves jangling.

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Although the garrulous Irishman was delighted with his side moving back into the automatic promotion places - and scoring his second goal in as many games - he admitted harsh words were spoken after the game.

With Sunderland beating Wigan 1-0 at the JJB Stadium, and former Town hero Marcus Stewart scoring the winner after three minutes, Ipswich moved into second place, three points ahead of the Latics.

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Even after Ian Westlake, Darren Bent (twice) and Magilton netted, Town blew a chance to better their goal difference through sloppy defending.

Magilton said: “We scored four great goals and it should have been a canter. The three goals we conceded were all sloppy and if we do go up, and defend like that in the Premiership, we will be hammered.

“I'm not just having ago at the back four and the keeper but as a team we need to be better.

“When we went 4-1 up people switched off and in this game you can't just do the right things when you want to. You have to do them every minute of every day of your footballing life.

“You have to give credit to Rotherham, who came here and gave it a go and deserved something, but we were too casual and harsh words were spoken. The whole game summed up our season.”

Manager Joe Royle did not know whether to laugh or cry after his side moved back into an automatic promotion place but ruined their chances of improving their goal difference by conceding three goals at home for the first time this season.

He said: “That was a great chance for us but somewhere along the line we pressed the self-destruct button. We made it easy for Rotherham, who deserve credit for working as they did, but we should not have been hanging on at the end as we were.

“Too many key players switched off and thought the game was won. I wasn't happy even at half time, because I thought we had been sloppy. Their first goal was a Sunday morning goal and that should not happen.

“Mind you, it is another three points and four goals. I'm delighted that we have gone clear second with a hard game coming up.”

While the Blues sweated for an extra 15 minutes to find out the score at Wigan, Rotherham's fate was already sealed.

The Millermen's board had met earlier in the day at Portman Road to discuss the appointment of a permanent manager, with caretaker Alan Knill hoping he would secure the job, although Lincoln boss Keith Alexander and Colin Lee were also in contention.

Knill praised his side's effort and said: “Our boys gave it a real goal and we had a chance at the end to get a draw, which I feel we deserved. It was good entertainment and as a neutral you want to see football like that. You have to admire our team's spirit and conviction.

“Ipswich are a top side, on top of their game, and at 4-1 I wanted the referee to blow his whistle to end the game because I thought it was going to be six.”

n With the FA Youth Cup first semi-final to be played on Friday, Ipswich Town will be shorn of many young players for tonight's reserve-team game at Fulham. All five of last night's substitutes could also be involved.

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