Town gain point in six-goal thriller
IPSWICH Town gained their first away point of the season as six goals are shared at Doncaster Rovers.
By ELVIN KING
Doncaster Rovers 3 Ipswich Town 3
IPSWICH Town gained their first away point of the season in their Coca-Cola Championship thriller against Doncaster Rovers at the Keepmoat Stadium this afternoon.
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Waide Faihurst put the home side ahead in the 13th minute after Richard Wright failed to gather a cross with substitute Jack Colback scoring a deserved 66th minute equaliser.
Martin Woods put Doncaster back in front in the 74th minute before two goals in two minutes from Tamas Priskin and Lee Martin gave Town the lead.
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Quinton Fortune, who Town were linked with in the summer, scored over Wright's head in the 84th minute after coming on as a substitute.
Town will not be happy at any of the goals they conceded, but they scored three good goals and showed a determination and skill level that on most days would have earned them a deserved win.
No doubt encouraged by the early stages of Tuesday's 1-1 home draw with Nottingham Forest, Town manager Keane made just two changes, and one was forced as McAuley was serving a one-match ban after being sent off in midweek.
Smith came in to partner Bruce at the heart of the defence while Counago came back in to play alongside Walters up front with stead dropping to the bench.
Edwards was passed fit after suffering a hamstring problem against Forest while Rosenior had recovered from a blow to the side of his head.
Last season's leading scorer Heffernan was fit again, but he started on the bench as the Yorkshire-based home side looked for their second league win of the season.
Playing in their traditional blue and white strip, Town went close in the sixth minute after early sparring when Counago flicked a long throw by Edwards forward from seven yards and Sullivan was forced into a save.
Town's defensive frailties soon came back to bite them when Rovers took a 13th minute lead. Shackell floated a left wing cross into the box and Wright, facing the sun, was unable to gather when he leapt with Fairhurst and Delaney.
Wright looked to be impeded, but a well-placed referee was happy to give a goal when Fairhurst hooked the loose ball into an unguarded net. It could well have been Delaney who had unintentionally got in the way of the visiting keeper.
Town hit back well after this setback with Martin breaking through and having his shot blocked before Counago showed nifty skills before placing the ball into the net - only to be pulled back for offside.
Then, in the 20th minute, Counago got his head to a left-wing Delaney cross, but saw his downward header fly a foot wide of the far post.
Wright was making his 350th Town first team appearance having made his debut in May 1995 against Coventry; with only Paul Cooper having played more games for Town between the posts.
Leading scorer Jon Walters was clocking up three figures this afternoon after joining the Blues from Chester in January 2007.
Following a neat pass by Edwards and a cross by Rosenior, Quinn had a 25-yard shot that Sullivan saved at the second attempt.
In the next minute - the 28th - Oster skipped beyond Smith and let fly with a right foot shot that Wight saved superbly diving to his right.
Bruce then made an heroic block as Ipswich's defence was again found wanting - flinging himself in front of a fierce Woods goal-bound effort.
While still looking fragile at the back, Town were now having plenty of possession and looking lively in their forward moves although Walters fired wildly wide after beating the offside trap and trying his luck from distance.
Town have no midweek game, but have an eagerly awaited home league tussle with Newcastle United on Saturday when the north stand at Portman Road will be re-named after Blues and Toon former manager Sir Bobby Robson.
Smith saw his 42nd minute deflected effort go a yard wide, and from the corner the youngster's downward header was only just wide of the keeper's left-hand post.
It was a sunny, mild day in south Yorkshire with an impressive number of visiting fans making their presence heard in the stand behind the goal that Wright defended in the opening half.
Counago sees his deflected header float just wide in the 52nd minute with home fans now showing their frustration at Doncaster's inability to gain any lengthy possession with Town still in this game.
The 64th minute saw Town come close to grabbing an equaliser they deserved. Leadbitter chipped a ball forward into the path of the raiding Bruce who failed to get a strong enough connection right in front of goal to beat Sullivan.
Two minutes Ipswich did score, and it was substitute Colback who cracked a low left-foot shot into the net off the foot of the near post with his left foot from 18-yards. Colback made full use of a loose ball after a Delaney cross from the left.
In the 68th minute Martin had a great chance to give Ipswich the lead after a Rosenior cross from the right. He only half-hit his attempted shot from six yards when unmarked in front of goal. And Town paid for this when Doncaster re-took the lead in the 74th minute when a corner was played to him 25-yards from goal. The midfielder took aim and sent in a strong shot that beat Wright to the keeper's left.
But Town, showing refreshing determination, equalised again in the 77th minute when Leadbitter stood up a free-kick from the left and Priskin leapt high at the far post to score with a downward header. It was his first Town league goal.
And two minutes Town players were dancing a jig of delight in front of their ecstatic fans when Martin scored from close range. This came after Smith had thumped a header from a right wing corner against the bar and Peters had seen the first follow-up effort cleared off the line.
Martin was announced the scorer over the public address but Bruce was also involved at the far post.
In the 85th minute this game that had everything had another twist when home substitute Fortune beat Wright with an angled 20-yard shot that entered the net at the far post.
Doncaster Rovers: Sullivan; Lockwood, Hird (sub Fortune 74), Shackell; Chambers, Oster, Spicer (Heffernan 81), Woods, Roberts; Fairhurst (Shiels 74), Sharp. Substitutes: Smith, Wilson, Webster, O'Connor.
Ipswich Town: R Wright; Rosenior, Bruce, Smith, Delaney; Edwards (Peters 58), Leadbitter, Quinn (Colback 58), Martin; Walters (Priskin 67), Counago. Substitutes: Lee-Barrett, Stead, Trotter, Balkestein.
Referee: Mr N Miller (County Durham)
Attendance: 10,711 (910 Ipswich)