Ipswich lose to cellar dwellers

IPSWICH Town were beaten by bottom-of-the-table Doncaster Rovers in an unappetising tea-time affair at the Keepmoat Stadium tonight.

Elvin King

Doncaster Rovers 1 Ipswich Town 0

IPSWICH Town were beaten by bottom-of-the-table Doncaster Rovers in an unappetising tea-time affair at the Keepmoat Stadium tonight.

The Blues lost only their second league game in 13, and didn't really look like finding the net although Richard Naylor had a header hit the bar and newcomer Darren Ambrose produced a wonderful tip-over save by Neil Sullivan.

They had chances but failed to seriously trouble Sullivan other than that one occasion.

It was first Doncaster win for 13 games since they last tasted success in August, and their winner came though on-loan Shelton Martis with a close range effort in the 42nd minute.

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Town made one change from the side that beat Blackpool 1-0 last Saturday. Skipper McAuley tweaked a hamstring in training yesterday, and did not travel to Yorkshire. His place was taken by Bruce.

Balkestein was named one of the substitutes with Miller and Thatcher the two players in the Ipswich party who did not feature in the final 16.

In the eighth minute Bruce had to clear hastily when Rovers threatened, while six minutes later he was close to getting his head to a Garvan corner at the other end of the field.

Town went close to a goal in the 20th minute when Naylor headed down Garvan's corner and the ball bounced up and against the bar. Before the ball was cleared, Norris had a shot blocked.

Four minutes later Volz was booked for a handball, and will now miss a game after picking up five yellow cards.

A nod-down by Lisbie in the 33rd minute set up Quinn for an angled shot that Sullivan tipped over as Town gained the ascendancy.

And they went close again in the 40th minute after Walters headed down a Volz cross only for Norris to shoot across goal from close in with a chance that should have been taken.

Two minutes later Rovers took the lead - only their third home goal of the season. Naylor was beaten in the air at a free-kick, and defender MARTIS nipped in front of Bruce and R Wright to head into the net.

The match was being televised live on Sky Sports with Town having the chance of moving up to seventh in the table after the afternoon results if they pocketed three points.

The game started at 5.20pm at the well-appointed new stadium - the first visit Ipswich have made to the Keepmoat Stadium.

Both Norris, after his traumatic week, and new signing Ambrose were given great receptions by Town fans when their names were read over the tannoy before the start.

Not unexpectedly Norris was on the receiving end of plenty of abuse from home fans whenever he touched the ball.

Town manager Magilton sat at the front of the press box in the opening stages as the directors' box was on the opposite of the field from the players' tunnel and dug-out area.

But it was not long before he became animated in front of the dug-out area.

Alex Mathie's son was the Town mascot with the former Town striker working in the press box for BBC Radio Suffolk.

There was little goalmouth action in the second half with Rovers shooting well over a couple of times, and Town unable to manufacture a decent chance.

But when a cross came in from the left in the 65th minute, Ambrose flashed a left-foot volley goalwards that was superbly tipped over by Sullivan.

Four minutes later - with Rovers pressing - R Wright made a wonderful save to somehow push away a deflected low effort.

Town's keeper saved from Spicer and Counago headed a Stead cross six inches wide of the post to put the cap on a miserable day for the Blues.


Doncaster Rovers: Sullivan: O'Connor, Mills, Hird (sub Spicer 56 mins), Martis; Wellens, Stock, Woods, Chambers; Heffernan (Guy 76), Price (Taylor 82). Substitutes: Hayter, Elliott.

Ipswich Town: R Wright, Volz, Bruce, Naylor, D Wright; Norris, Shumulikoski, Garvan, Quinn (Ambrose 53); Lisbie (Counago 70), Walters (Stead 53). Substitutes: Supple, Balkestein.

Referee: Mr K Friend (Leicestershire)

Attendance: 10,823 (1,090, Ipswich).