Ipswich Town 1-0 Rotherham: Keane goal wins it as Town grind out vital three points
PUBLISHED: 16:56 12 January 2019 | UPDATED: 19:30 12 January 2019
© Copyright Stephen Waller
New-look Ipswich Town closed the gap to safety to seven points after grinding out just their third win of the season at home to Rotherham.
Paul Lambert gave five league debuts to new signings during the course of 90 minutes and it was one of those, Will Keane, who scored the winning goal as he stabbed the ball home after 31 minutes.
It was far from pretty, as the Blues looked disjointed at times as new relationships formed, with the hosts having to see out an aerial barrage from the visitors which lasted the entirety of the second half.
But a win’s a win and the three points has cut the gap to the Millers, who sit fourth from bottom, to seven points. A Rotherham win would have stretched the margin to safety to 13.
Lambert had spoken of this being a ‘different’ Ipswich Town, heading into this contest, and he was true to his word as he made eight changes to his side and Championship debuts to four new signings.
Keane, Collin Quaner, Callum Elder and newest recruit James Collins all came into the side, with the Blues a little disjointed in the early stages as new relationships formed in all areas of the field.
Jack Lankester was the most likely to make something happen for the hosts with his quick feet and positive first touch, but chances were few and far between.
Captain Luke Chambers suffered a painful start to the contest as he took a tumble over the advertising hoardings as he saw a ball out of play, injuring his left wrist in the process, but he was good to carry on.
The visitors survived penalty shouts as a loose ball in the box bounced up and struck Sean Raggett on the hand, but their resistance soon gave in.
There was a touch of fortune surrounding Keane’s strike, as Sears’ ball into the box bounced off the striker’s thigh before coming back to him as Raggett failed to clear, with the Hull loanee during the rest once it returned to him.
The Blues survived a number of half chances before the break, most notably as Jon Taylor lashed over the bar, but the half-time lead was Ipswich’s.
They were on the back foot at the start of the second half, though and it was a case of ‘one-way traffic’ as Rotherham pushed forward for an equaliser.
Balls kept coming into the Ipswich box and were not dealt with decisively – a theme that continued for much of the second period.
It all became a bit manic in the final minutes as body’s were flung in front of crosses and shots as the Blues desperately tried to hold on.
They did. Just. Bringing wild scenes at the final whistle. Maybe there is a bit of life left in this fight yet.
Ipswich Town: Gerken; Pennington, Chambers, Collins, Elder; Skuse, Chalobah, Lankester (Dawkins 73), Sears, Keane, Quaner (Downes 65)
Subs: Bialkowski, Nsiala, Huws, Bishop, Harrison
Rotherham: Rodak; Vyner (Wood 89), Raggett (Williams 37), Robertson, Mattock; Ajayi; Forde (Yates 70), Wiles, Vaulks, Taylor; Smith
Subs: Price, Palmer, Ihiekwe, Williams, Jones
Attendance: 20,893 (729 Rotherham fans)