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Ipswich Town 1 Rovers 1

18 August 2012

Kazim-Richards' debut strike cancelled out by late own goal.

Rovers' inability to hold onto a lead returned to haunt them as they were pegged back late on at Portman Road.

It looked good for Steve Kean's side when debutant Colin Kazim-Richards nodded the visitors in front on 21 minutes, but they couldn't build on that advantage and would ultimately pay the price.

Ipswich ended the first half strongly with Paul Robinson called upon to deny Aaron Cresswell and Lee Martin and aside from a Kazim-Richards effort that was narrowly over, Paul Jewell's side would maintain that momentum in a second half in which they enjoyed the lion-share of possession.

That pressure eventually told with eight minutes remaining when a centre from substitute from Jason Scotland was turned into his own net by the unfortunate Jason Lowe as he looked to prevent the ball from reaching Michael Chopra.

Town went looking for a dramatic late winner but Rovers held strong to pick up a useful point on the opening day.

Ahead of the game Steve Kean gave league debuts to four of his summer signings as Danny Murphy, Dickson Etuhu, Nuno Gomes and Colin Kazim-Richards all made their first starts. Murphy having the honour of wearing the captain's armband.

Rovers lined up in a 4-4-1-1 formation - Bradley Orr at right back, Jason Lowe at left back with Scott Dann and Gael Givet in front of Paul Robinson in goal.

The midfield saw the former Fulham duo start in the centre with Pedersen out left and Formica out right, whilst Nuno Gomes operated in the free role behind Kazim-Richards.

In searing Suffolk heat both sides saw early efforts go wide of goal. Josh Carson was first for the home side with a fourth minute effort that flew over the bar, whilst Nuno Gomes chanced on a loose ball in the box but dragged his shot wide.

Rovers slowly started to gain the upper hand, Kazim-Richards getting the better of Tommy Smith on 11 minutes to get space to shoot, his effort deflected off Luke Chambers forcing Scott Loach to readjust to beat the ball away.

Rovers' first corner of the game also earned them the first goal of the game on 21 minutes. As Morten Gamst Pedersen sent the ball into the area from the left, Scott Dann rose unmarked to head onto a similarly free Colin Kazim-Richards and he had the simple task of nodding home from inside the six-yard box.

The on-loan striker wheeled away in delight to celebrate in front of the travelling Rovers fans.

Rovers looked comfortable with their lead but as the half drew to a close the home side threatened on several occasions.

On 39 minutes Lee Martin struck a free-kick wide, then from another set-piece Aaron Cresswell was denied at the near post by Paul Robinson.

Robinson would then deny Martin, the midfielder letting fly from distance only to see the Rovers number one dive to his left to make the save.

The home side started the second half as strongly as they had ended the first but it was Rovers who fashioned the first chance. A forward ball picked up by Kazim-Richards on the right of the area which caught the Ipswich goalkeeper Scott Loach in no mans land, the Rovers striker attempted a lob but it landed on the roof of the net, agonisingly close to being a second goal for Rovers.

On 55 minutes Rovers were to breathe a huge sigh of relief as Town missed a great chance to pull level. Cutting inside from the left Josh Carson let fly towards goal, Paul Robinson pushed the ball aside but only as far as Jay Emmanuel-Thomas but thankfully the former Arsenal youngster's touch was heavy and Rovers scrambled the ball clear.

Rovers then went straight up the other end as Dickson Etuhu sent Kazim-Richards away but the Turkish international chose to shoot early and was off target.

Jason Scotland and Andy Drury were sent on for Ipswich, David Dunn and Markus Olsson for Rovers but it was Ipswich who continued to force the pace as Rovers struggled to get out of their half.

On 80 minutes they endured a huge let off when from a Lee Martin centre Michael Chopra missed the ball catching Luke Chambers out as it cannoned off the defender and behind for a goal kick.

Rovers' luck would eventually run out and with eight minutes remaining the home side finally grabbed the goal their second half play deserved, although it arrived in somewhat fortunate circumstances.

As the ball was played down the right side of the area, Jason Scotland pulled the ball across the six-yard box looking for Chopra and as Jason Lowe looked to block the cross he looked on with despair as the ball rebounded off his outstretched leg and into the back of the net.

Ipswich looked the more likely of the two sides to push on and grab a winner in the remaining minutes but stout defending, particularly from Scott Dann and Gael Givet ensure Rovers picked up a point on their opening day.

IPSWICH TOWN: Loach, Cresswell, Chambers, Edwards (c), Emmanuel-Thomas (sub Scotland 66 mins), Chopra, Martin, Luongo (sub Drury 70 mins), Hyam, Smith, Carson.

Subs not used: Lee-Barrett (GK), Delaney, Stevenson, Murray, Ainsley.

Goals: Lowe (og) 83 mins.

Booked: Luongo.

ROVERS: Robinson, Orr, Dann, Givet, Lowe, Formica (sub Markus Olsson 71 mins), Murphy (c) (sub Paulo Jorge 83 mins), Etuhu, Pedersen, Nuno Gomes (sub Dunn 72 mins), Kazim-Richards.

Subs not used: Kean (GK), Goodwillie, Hanley, Ribeiro.

Goals: Kazim-Richards 21 mins.

Booked: Murphy, Etuhu.

Attendance: 19,117

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