Ipswich Town 0-2 Rotherham: Millers comfortably beat Blues yet again
- Credit: Steve Waller - stephenwaller.com
Ipswich Town were once again out-foxed by a Rotherham side who kept the hosts at arm’s length during their 2-0 victory at Portman Road.
Goals from Ben Wiles and Shane Ferguson did the trick for Paul Warne’s side, who went top of the table following a victory in which they were the better team in almost every department.
Just as they were in the two sides’ two previous League One meetings, which ended in victories for Warne’s men in 2019/20, the Millers won the physical battle and managed the game well, limiting Ipswich to very few chances on a tough night for Paul Cook’s men. Indeed, the hosts didn’t manage a shot on target until added time.
Cook and his players had little answer after falling behind, with the Town boss introducing Joe Pigott to play alongside Macauley Bonne for the final 20 minutes. Sadly, though, there never really looked like a route back into this contest was going to be forthcoming.
Defeat sees Town drop to 13th in the League One table after back-to-back league losses for the first time since August, following Saturday’s failure at Sunderland. Rock-bottom Crewe visit on Sunday.
Cook made two changes to his starting XI, switching his wide players as Scott Fraser and Conor Chaplin came into the side in place of Sone Aluko and Kyle Edwards. The latter dropped to the bench, while Aluko wasn’t included in the 18.
Bailey Clements was given the nod to start a fourth-successive first-team game, as Matt Penney returned to a matchday squad for the first time since his nightmare afternoon at Plymouth.
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Rotherham were forced to change their goalkeeper prior to kick-off, with Viktor Johansson coming into the side for original starter Josh Vickers, but the Swedish stopper saw little of the ball in the early stages as Town looked to play with tempo but weren’t able to make the ball stick in important areas of the pitch.
It was the Town goalkeeper, Christian Walton, who saw the first action as the Brighton loanee was extended fully to push Jamie Lindsay’s deflected shot away well.
The Blues began to settle, keeping the ball better and winning it back more regularly, with one occasion seeing Fraser pick the pocket of Wiles and begin a counter-attack which ended with the scoring sending a low volley wide of the post, after a cross had been half-cleared.
The Portman Road atmosphere had seemed a little flat when compared to recent standards, but the famous old stadium fell quiet on 24 minutes as Wiles picked up the ball just inside the Ipswich half and ate up the space in front of him before letting fly with a left-footed shot which arced away from Walton and into the back of the Ipswich net.
Town looked to respond, with a clever move involving Chaplin and Bersant Celina ending with Macauley Bonne missing his kick inside the area, before Rotherham went close again as Chiedozie Ogbene’s ball up the line freed Freddie Ladapo to shoot across the face of Walton’s goal and wide of the post.
Fraser saw a shot blocked by Richard Wood, as the hosts probed down the left flank, before the Millers’ skipper stooped to head wide as a Rotherham free-kick was slung into the Ipswich area.
Despite leading, the Rotherham players began to lose their heads a little as Lindsay was booked for needlessly kicking the ball away, while Michael Ihiekwe was shown a yellow card just a few minutes later for remonstrating referee Gavin Ward’s decision to give a foul throw again him. The man in purple considered a second yellow for the latter, after the Millers defender continued his protests despite already being carded.
A small number of boos greeted the half-time whistle, as Rotherham went in at the break a goal up, before started quickly at the beginning of a second half in which they needed to turn the tide.
Lee Evans curled the ball over with a free-kick, 25 yards from goal, but Town’s attempts to open Rotherham up from open play more-often-than-not ended with a breakdown in communication, before the visitors put themselves in a commanding position.
Ogbene and Ladapo combined, as the Millers raided the left-side of the Ipswich penalty area, before the latter’s shot squirmed loose as it bounced through traffic, allowing Ferguson to slam the ball home at the back post, as Janoi Donacien desperately tried to close down his shot.
Cook responded by introducing Matt Penney and Kyle Edwards, in place of Clements and Evans, before Pigott arrived in place of Chaplin a few minutes later.
The trio made little impact, though, as the Blues fell to defeat at the hands of a promotion-chaser once again.
Ipswich Town: Walton; Doncacien, Nsiala, Edmundson, Clements (Penney, 63); Morsy, Evans (Edwards, 63); Chaplin (Pigott, 73), Celina, Fraser; Bonne
Subs: Hladky, Burgess, Vincent-Young, Harper
Rotherham United: Johansson; Edmonds-Green, Wood, Ihiekwe; Ogbene (Harding, 81), Wiles, Barlaser, Ferguson (Miller, 81), Lindsay; Smith, Ladapo (Sadlier, 87)
Subs: Vickers, Grigg, Kayode, Odoffin
Referee: Gavin Ward
Att: 18,221 (267 Rotherham fans)