Ipswich Town Football Club: 6 steps forward, 3 steps back……

IPSWICH TOWN 2                          –                       DONCASTER ROVERS 3

Npower Championship
Saturday 5th November
Attendance: 17,184
Referee: Simon Hooper (Wiltshire)

IPSWICH TOWN: Stockdale, Wabara, Ingimarsson, Collins, Cresswell, Healy (Martin 28), Bullard (Carson 46), Leadbitter (capt.), Andrews, Priskin (Emmanuel-Thomas 65), Chopra. Unused Subs: Lee-Barratt, Edwards
DONCASTER ROVERS: Sullivan, Chimbonda, Friend, Naylor, Martis, Gillett, Stock, Ilunga, Diouf (O’Connor 82), Coppinger, Sharp (Hayter 69). Unused Subs: Maxted, Barnes, Bennett

Referee Simon Hooper introduces Town Captain Grant Leadbitter to Grecian's Captain George Friend at the coin-toss, while Michael Chopra and Pascal Chimbonda get re-acquainted in the background

 

Ipswich Town‘s stuttering start to the season took another downward turn on Saturday – when they were beaten 3-2 by bottom-of-the table Doncaster Rovers at Portman Road.

The relatively sparse home crowd witnessed a Town performance lacking in spark – let alone any of the fireworks they may have hoped for on Bonfire night.

This was Ipswich’s third defeat in a row, and was compounded because it came against a side who have struggled so far this season – and one they would expect to beat given the resources available to both managers.

Ipswich started the game slowly, and Doncaster had already wasted a couple of opportunities to break the deadlock – before they did just that in the 18th minute.

El-Hadji Diouf met James Coppinger’s deep cross from the right, and planted his header across David Stockdale in the Ipswich goal and into the net – the recent loan signing’s first goal for his new club.

Doncaster’s early profligacy in front of goal was forgotten by the 24th minute. This time Rovers striker Billy Sharp was the beneficiary of Town’s lacklustre defending, when he met another Coppinger cross from the right and planted his free header beyond the hapless Stockdale.

This goal was all the more galling for the Ipswich faithful, as it was created and scored by the two players – Coppinger and Sharp – that Ipswich manager Paul Jewell had tried to sign from Rovers over the summer.

As Ipswich endeavoured to get back in the game, and enjoyed their best spell of possession in the process, things went from bad to worse for them on 39 minutes. The lively Diouf picked up a through ball from Sharp mid-way inside the Ipswich half. He took the ball on a few yards, and after looking up, struck a low shot inside Stockdale’s right-hand upright.

Ipswich had truly given themselves a mountain to climb, and the half-time whistle was met with a chorus of boos from those supporters who hadn’t already made their way to the bar for their half-time coffee – or after what they’d witnessed in the first 45 minutes, perhaps something stronger.

Ipswich did improve after the interval, and the introduction of Josh Carson and Lee Martin provided a little more urgency and guile in wide areas. But in truth, the damage had already been done.

Early second half pressure from Ipswich was rewarded when Carson bundled the ball home from a Martin cross from the left on 53 minutes – the two substitutes combining to good effect, with Carson having only been on the field for 8 minutes when he scored.

The comeback didn’t materialise, however, and Doncaster looked fairly comfortable from this point in. In truth, they could have added to their lead on a couple of occasions after absorbing Ipswich pressure and hitting them incisively on the counter-attack.

The recent run of 6 games unbeaten is now an evaporating memory, with Ipswich having succumbed all too easily to two of the divisions weaker sides in their last two matches – which will make the pill all the more bitter to swallow for supporters.

The result leaves Paul Jewell’s men 15th in the npower Championship table, and they will have to wait two weeks before they get a chance to make amends – due to the break in fixtures for the upcoming international matches.

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