Blues lack vision at Belle Vue

Doncaster 2 Ipswich 0ANDY Warrington can boast to his mates that he stopped the Ipswich scoring machine from finding the net in the Carling Cup game at Belle Vue last night.

Doncaster 2 Ipswich 0

ANDY Warrington can boast to his mates that he stopped the Ipswich scoring machine from finding the net in the Carling Cup game at Belle Vue last night.

But it was more a case of Ipswich having a real off-night than the journeyman goalkeeper pulling out all the stops.

Joe Royle's side scored goals for fun last season and this campaign they have found the net in every match.

The last time they drew a blank was in the First Division play-off semi-final, second leg, at West Ham last May when the repercussions were far more serious than last night's exit from the Carling Cup.

Royle's main aim - and he makes no secret of this - is to lead the Blues back into the Premiership.

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He would have taken a victory at League One Doncaster last night, but did not view defeat as being devastating.

On the other hand, a run to the latter stages can prove lucrative in this competition and possibly lead to another player or two being acquired.

Twelve months ago, Town lost in similar circumstances in the Carling Cup to Notts County when they were bottom of the then Third Division.

Doncaster deserved credit for the way they played and for a team that was still in the Conference 16 months ago, they have made rapid progress.

Their two forwards may have looked out of their depth but at the back and in midfield they fought like tigers and never allowed Ipswich any time to relax on the ball.

Town supporters who made the trip and either stood behind one goal or sat in the antiquated main stand were hoping that their team would overcome a shaky start and then take control.

But, Ipswich, who tamed a quality West Ham outfit in the Coca-Cola Championship on Saturday, failed to get to grips with this encounter played in blustery conditions.

Consequently, Warrington had little to do apart from a couple of regulation saves in the first half when Ipswich failed to make use of the wind at their backs.

The keeper did distinguish himself with one fine tip-over after a shot by Darren Bent in the second period, but otherwise Ipswich's possession came to nothing and they rarely managed to look dangerous close to goal.

It was 1958 when Ipswich last played Doncaster and they have never met before in a cup competition.

Royle decided to give one or two of his squad a game after being mainly unchanged for the previous five league fixtures.

He reverted to a 4-3-3 formation, but things did not happen and it was no surprise when an ineffective Dean Bowditch was replaced at the interval by Tommy Miller, who was making his 100th Town appearance.

This improved Ipswich slightly, but the strong home defence remained in charge of proceedings and even when Steve Foster went off to have treatment to a cut head, ten-man Doncaster still remained in control.

It was a big night for certain members of the Town party with Lewis Price being picked in goal, Matt Richards coming back after injury and Tony Dinning having a point to prove before his two-month loan period from Wigan Athletic comes to an end.

Price handled well and kicked well, but he will not be happy with the opening goal, while Richards lost possession too many times and Fabian Wilnis could well be back against Plymouth at Portman Road on Saturday.

The young left-back was not at his best before suffering a foot injury and he found it difficult to make an impression on his return.

Dinning saw plenty of the ball, particularly in the second half, but was unable to provide any telling passes.

Ian Westlake continues to be a worry to Ipswich fans after his fine season that ended last May. This term he has failed to recapture the same levels and it was another below-par performance last night.

Kelvin Davis, Fabian Wilnis and Kevin Horlock were the squad members whose reputations remained intact and were perhaps better off either sitting in the dug out - or in the stand in Horlock's case, having been left out of the final party.

Doncaster are unbeaten at home and started the match ninth in League One. This was a big game for them and it showed.

They started off determined to give Ipswich no ground and their hopes of an upset received a timely boost after just seven minutes.

Ricky Ravenhill was allowed to run through the visiting defence down the left side and he found the net all too easily to send the Doncaster fans into raptures.

It appeared at first sight as though it might be just an inconvenience for Royle's men, but the form that the Blues have shown in the majority of their league matches failed to become evident.

With Miller's introduction they switched back to their 4-4-2 formation that they have used successfully in recent games with Miller probing away better than those around him.

Pablo Counago showed the odd neat touch, but never looked like adding to his goal tally and it remains to be seen whether Royle sticks with the Spanish striker for the Plymouth match.

Bent ran swiftly and often but did not find it easy with balls in front of him running away at speed in the first period and then being held up in the wind after the break.

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