Town must guard against complacency

JUST as smoke can be a bigger danger than the actual fire, so complacency can wreck a promotion dream as much as under-performing.

Derek Davis

JUST as smoke can be a bigger danger than the actual fire, so complacency can wreck a promotion dream as much as under-performing.

Not for the first time Ipswich went to a bottom of the league side and got burnt after being suffocated by the opposition's apparent greater desire.

The single-goal loss, once again coming from a set play, means Town have failed to go to any of the five clubs currently occupying the bottom places and win.

They have lost (and drawn at home) against Charlton, been beaten at Watford and Doncaster and drawn at Southampton and Nottingham Forest.

While playing well and beating the better sides - Reading and Burnley are third and fourth - is terrific, Ipswich can't afford to drop their intensity just because they are playing against supposedly weaker opposition.

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It is unlikely Town went to the Keepmoat Stadium consciously thinking 'we are miles better than this lot and are going to cruise it', but for large portions of the game the Blues were not only out-played but out-fought.

Rovers, who had gone 12 games without a win, looked to have far more desire to put right their situation than Town did to push close to the play-off places.

Not only that but they quite often out-'Ipswiched' Ipswich with their neat passing play and intricate build-up.

By using three centre halves, Doncaster's wing backs added numbers and width to their midfield and even with Jon Walters dropping back to help out, Town were second best and all too easily over-run.

Owen Garvan was anonymous for a large part of the early stages, although he did provide Town's best chance from a corner that Richard Naylor met with a downward header that bounced up and came back off the crossbar.

Veliche Shumulikoski was forced on to the back foot and while he managed to break up some of the play, more often than not Brian Stock, Martin Woods and Richie Wellens out-manoeuvred him.

David Norris got dog's abuse from the Rovers fans but was terrier-like in his work coming in from the left and although menacing around the edge of the box, didn't look at his best.

He had a couple of efforts from long range blocked, but missed the best chance when Walters nodded down into his path from a Moritz Volz cross, but the former Plymouth midfielder shot wide.

Volz was more effective at getting crosses in than he was defending, with James Chambers getting the better off him with apparent ease.

The German was booked for a handball as he struggled once again against Chambers and woods and will miss the Derby game with a one match ban for five cautions.

His absence could see David Wright return to right back and Ben Thatcher going in on the left side as Alex Bruce could be needed in central defence once more.

With Gareth McAuley struggling with a hamstring injury Bruce went to the left side of central defence and showed why Republic of Ireland manager Giovanni Trapattoni rates him so highly.

In McAuley's absence the side was skippered by club captain Naylor, a consummate professional, but beaten in the air by Matt Mills when Rovers skipper Stock floated in a free kick.

Mills nodded the ball across the area and on-loan West Brom defender Shelton Martis got away from Bruce and in front of Walters to beat Richard Wright to the ball and nod in the winner.

It was hard on Wright who made a stunning save from Woods whose shot after picking up a James O'Connor throw in, went through a crowd of players and took a deflection off Norris.

Neil Sullivan in the other goal was equally agile making an excellent save to tip over an Alan Quinn shot after being fed by Lisbie and getting behind another drive from the former Sheffield midfielder.

Quinn aimed a verbal volley in the direction of David Wright and Magilton as he was substituted and Walters was equally livid at being replaced, flinging a water bottle and sweat-top around in his anger in the dug out after apparently letting the manager know his feelings.

As usual Magilton ignored the players he brought off and his substitutions almost paid off.

Garvan, who had gone to the left flank, delivered a good ball for Darren Ambrose whose second coming was almost announced with a goal from a fabulous volley, but Sullivan pulled of a super save.

Ambrose also crossed for fellow sub Pablo Counago but the Spaniard glanced a header wide then did likewise with another ball from Jon Stead who had also come off the bench.

Stead also went close with a thunderbolt from 25 yards and a header from a Garvan corner, but Rovers dug in and hung on even with four added minutes and ne of their substitutes might have embarrassed town further as John Spicer got past Volz with ease but his shot lacked power and Wright saved comfortably.

The loss sees Ipswich once again slip out of the top ten and with Derby County, Birmingham City and Sheffield United coming up they have plenty of opportunity to get back in the habit of performing well before the derby match at struggling Norwich City where the mindset has to be spot on.