Ipswich Town 3 Rovers 1
Rovers' troubles on their travels show no sign of abating after a poor 3-1 defeat at the hands of Ipswich Town.
Gary Bowyer had called for his side to be more resolute on the road but they were no match for a hardworking Town side who fully deserved all three points.
Slow starts in both halves proved costly, Luke Hyam firing the hosts in front after just four minutes, capitalising on a poor Tommy Spurr headed clearance.
Rovers levelled through Jordan Rhodes' 11th of the season on the half hour, but the momentum that saw them end the first half strongly was undone as Ipswich regained the lead on 48 minutes.
Aaron Cresswell's through ball found Stephen Hunt in the box and although he was tackled, the ball ran kindly for Carlos Edwards and the Town captain slotted home.
Rovers huffed and puffed in their bid to get back on level terms once more but failed to trouble the Ipswich back line, instead it was the home side who took full advantage.
Slack defensive play four minutes from time saw a Scott Dann and Jake Kean's mix-up allow Frank Nouble to make it a miserable night in Suffolk.
Gary Bowyer made two changes from the side that defeated Leeds United 1-0 at the weekend.
DJ Campbell returned to the starting eleven for the first time since March, whilst Lee Williamson recovered from the illness that prevented him from taking part in Saturday's win.
David Dunn was rested, whilst Chris Taylor missed out for personal reasons. The bench saw new signing Rudy Gestede named for the first time.
For Mick McCarthy's side, they made four changes from the team that also won 1-0 at the weekend, defeating Charlton Athletic at The Valley.
Less than two minutes in and former Tractor Boy DJ Campbell almost grabbed his first goal in Rovers colours. Campbell was prolific during a six-month loan spell with Ipswich last season and but for a fine save from Dean Gerken he'd have marked his Portman Road return with a goal. Lee Williamson saw his shot blocked but the ball ran to the Rovers striker however his close-range effort was pushed around the post.
The home side went straight up the other end and grabbed a surprise lead. A high ball into the area was headed clear by Tommy Spurr but only as far as Luke Hyam and he hit an unstoppable low drive through the crowded box and past an unsighted Jake Kean.
After being so resolute at the back on home soil, it was such a disappointment to concede on their travels yet again.
The pace of play was frenetic, Josh King raced goalwards only to be denied by a last-ditch Tommy Smith tackle, whilst David McGoldrick let fly from outside the box, the ball whistling just past Kean's right post.
Then Stephen Hunt sent a cross over from the left where Carlos Edwards had escaped the attentions of Spurr but he headed high and wide.
The tremendous work ethic shown by the home side was troubling Rovers, barely given a moment to settle on the ball, Bowyer's side unable to get any meaningful possession.
However on the half hour Rovers were back on level terms. Grant Hanley sending a long ball forward and for once Jordan Rhodes escaped the offside flag to round the advancing Gerken and stroke the ball into the back of the net.
It was the striker's 11th goal of the season, a sweet return to Portman Road for Rhodes.
Rovers grew in confidence after that, ending the half in the ascendency, but the scores were level at the break.
Any momentum that Rovers had built up ahead of the break evaporated moments after the restart.
Aaron Cresswell with a slide-rule pass into Stephen Hunt who bore into the area, and although a Rovers defender tackled the former Wolves man, the ball went straight to Town captain Carlos Edwards who had time to pick his spot to put the home side back into the lead.
Stunned by the early goal, Rovers struggled to regain their foothold, matters were then made worse when Grant Hanley went off with what looked like a shoulder injury, Matt Kilgallon coming on to replace the Scot.
Ben Marshall was then introduced as Rovers looked for a way back into the game.
It almost came courtesy of a Dean Gerken error on 69 minutes, the Town 'keeper clearing a back pass straight against Rhodes, but the rebound was kind enough to allow Gerken to tip the ball behind.
Rovers pressed and probed, a Marshall centre was cleared, then a similar one from Tommy Spurr was met by the outstretched boot of Rhodes but he couldn't divert the ball on target.
However the home side continued to pose the greater threat, an Aaron Cresswell free-kick was cleared only as far as Stephen Hunt on the edge of the box, thankfully the Irishman blazed over.
With just over ten minutes remaining Rudy Gestede was given his first Rovers outing, replacing DJ Campbell but although he made a nuisance of himself to the Ipswich back line, the visitors rarely threatened Gerken's goal.
It was at the other were Rovers looked nervy, Ipswich sensing a third and it duly arrived with four minutes to go in calamitous circumstances.
Scott Dann allowed a high ball to run back to the goalkeeper, but with Jake Kean caught out Frank Nouble nipped in to stroke the ball into the empty net.
It was a disappointing end to what was a disappointing evening on the road once more.
IPSWICH TOWN: Gerken, Chambers, Berra, Smith, Cresswell, Edwards (c), Hyam, Skuse (sub Tunnicliffe 90 mins), Hunt (sub Mings 81 mins), McGoldrick (sub Murphy 81 mins), Nouble.
Subs not used: Loach (GK), Anderson, Graham, Tabb.
Goals: Hyam 4 mins, Edwards 48 mins, Nouble 86 mins.
ROVERS: Kean, Kane Dann (c), Hanley (sub Kilgallon 59 mins), Spurr, Cairney, Williamson, Lowe, King (sub Marshall 66 mins), Campbell (sub Gestede 77 mins), Rhodes.
Subs not used: Eastwood (GK), Rochina, Judge, Henley.
Goals: Rhodes 30 mins.
Booked: Campbell, Kane, Marshall.
Attendance: 14,953 (302 Rovers fans)