Rovers FT: Ipswich 2 Doncaster 1

Billy Sharp for Rovers at Portman Road
Billy Sharp for Rovers at Portman Road
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Doncaster Rovers were left looking over the shoulders at the bottom three after a late goal deprived them of a point at Play-off-chasing Ipswich.

Rovers’ superb run through most of March was pushed to the back of the mind after successive defeats at home, plus results elsewhere, deplumped the cushion from the danger zone back down to just four points.

Paul Dickov opted to switch formation as he went for broke at Portman Road, looking for the victory that would likely see his side safe.

Dickov fielded three at the back with Husband pushed forward into a wing-back role along with Coppinger while Cotterill sat behind the front two of Brown and Sharp.

The hosts were the first to threaten on eight minutes when Hunt sent in a superb free kick from the right only for Berra, Smith and Chambers to all narrowly miss getting a touch.

The way opened up for a Mings shot from 30 yards on 14 minutes but his low strike brought a comfortable save from Johnstone.

Ipswich continued to have the better of the opening period with their strong pressing game denying Rovers the time on the ball they seemed to be craving.

The high intensity play from the hosts told in a one minute period when both Sharp and Brown were booked for late challenges on Ipswich players as they looked to break.

Ipswich should have opened the scoring on 21 minutes. Anderson beat Meite for pace and sent in a low cross with Hunt charging in to get a touch only to force the ball wide with the goal at his mercy.

Rovers’ first shot on target did not come until the half hour mark and Brown did incredibly well to produce it. Husband drilled a low cross with Brown tumbling as he took possession but manage to swipe a shot after swivelling on the floor.

Murphy went close for Ipswich when rising to meet a dinked cross from Anderson but sent his header over.

The best chance of the half came for Rovers however, nine minutes from the break.

A Cotterill corner found Tamas completely unmarked and he powered a header on goal, drawing a fine save from Gerken.

The hosts pushed on as half time approached and went close when Chambers headed a Hunt cross wide from eight yards out.

And Hunt went close himself with a curling free kick from 25 yards but sent it far too close to the grateful Johnstone.

The Rovers keeper had to work harder to keep Ipswich out on the stroke of half time. Hunt delivered an in-swinging free kick with Smith glancing a header and drawing a superb one-handed stop from Johnstone.

Ipswich boss Mick McCarthy sent on Ebanks-Blake and Nouble at half time to switch his formation to 4-2-1-3.

And Ipswich opened the scoring within two minutes of the restart. A chipped cross from Mings drew out Johnstone but he hesitated allowing MURPHY to rise and head into an empty net.

Rovers went back to a standard 4-4-2 around the hour mark but they continued to struggle to build attacking play.

Ipswich wasted a free kick just outside the box when Skuse blasted high and wide after Williams’ lay off.

And such profligacy was rued on 83 minutes when Rovers were gifted the leveller.

Mings blatantly pushed substitute Duffy in the back with referee Scott pointing to the spot from which BROWN slotted into the bottom corner to equalise.

But parity lasted just three minutes as Ipswich took the lead again.

Williams’ attempted shot from 15 yards deflected out wide to CHAMBERS who drilled low into the far corner.

Rovers had a glorious chance to get on terms as the game entered six minutes of added time.

Cotterill crossed from the right, Brown rose and powered a header on goal but it was well held by Gerken.

Dickov threw on Robinson as he went for broke again but Rovers failed to produce the chances.

Nouble could have wrapped it up for Ipswich on the break but fired straight at Johnstone from 12 yards out.

The hosts had done enough with Rovers left to continue looking over their shoulders at the bottom three.