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Match Reports

Report: Ipswich 3 Rovers 2

Former Rover Tom Lawrence downs Rovers

14 January 2017

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Rovers suffered their first defeat of 2017 as Ipswich Town ran out 3-2 winners at Portman Road.

Rovers suffered their first defeat of 2017 as Ipswich Town ran out 3-2 winners at Portman Road.

Former Rovers man Tom Lawrence returned to haunt the visitors with a brace, including a stunning strike that left Rovers’ Jason Steele rooted to the spot.

Lawrence opened the scoring after his first half free-kick beat Steele low to his near post.

Hope Akpan then levelled for the visitors, until Christophe Berra put the home side back in front, poking home following a corner.

Lawrence would then steal the show with his stunning effort, before Danny Graham netted his tenth goal of the season from the spot to make it 3-2.

Derrick Williams had a strong claim for a penalty waved away deep in to added time as Owen Coyle's men just fell short.

Rovers made two changes from the side that knocked QPR out of the FA Cup last Saturday. Goalkeeper Jason Steele returned in place of David Raya and Darragh Lenihan replaced Gordon Greer following a three-match suspension. There was also a first league start for Elliott Bennett since the opening day of the season.

Rovers threatened early as Liam Feeney’s cross from the right just evaded the head of Sam Gallagher but it was Ipswich who had the first clear cut chance.

17 year-old midfielder Andre Dozzell, hooked the ball back in to the box after Charlie Mulgrew had cleared a free kick, Freddie Sears’ shot just evaded Steele’s left hand post.

Tom Lawrence’s neat footwork created space for a hopeful cross in to the box but left-back Jonas Knudsen fired wide.

Another chance fell to the Suffolk side as Mulgrew failed to deal with a ball over the top which allowed Sears to steal the ball and bare down on goal. Steele rushed out and made a superb block to keep the tie even.

Rovers should have taken the lead on the 14th minute after a superb run from Liam Feeney as he beat his man and sprinted in to the Ipswich half, a nicely weighted pass found Sam Gallagher, whose shot was stopped by Bartosz Bialkowski in the Ipswich goal.

It was not long until Rovers threatened once more, this time Ben Marshall broke from the right, his scooped cross found Gallagher who headed towards goal, testing Bialkowski as he tipped it over the bar.

The chances continued as Bennett fired a speculative effort over the bar, whilst another Feeney cross evaded the Rovers men in the box.

The end-to-end opening to the match had evened out midway through the first-half before Dozzell fed Sears once more but his shot was saved well by Steele down to his left hand side.

It would be a former Rovers man who would strike the first blow. After 38 minutes Marshall committed a cynical foul on the edge of the box, up stepped Tom Lawrence to fire the resulting free kick hard and low, beating Steele at his near post.

Lawrence would soon find his name in the book following a cynical challenge of his own on Hope Akpan, as the Rovers man looked to start a breakaway from the Rovers half.

Akpan would be in the thick of the action again shortly after. Ipswich failed to clear their lines as Feeney picked the ball up on the wing, his cross found Graham who neatly touched the ball to Akpan on the 18 yard line to cooly slot past the Ipswich keeper to bring the scores level before the break.

Rovers hung on to keep the scores level heading in to half-time, despite the best efforts of the Tractor Boys. Lawrence and Knudsen would both test Steele with thunderous efforts but the teams went in to the break all square.

Ipswich would have the first chance in the opening periods of the second half. Lawrence’s crisp 25-yard effort was comfortably collected by Steele at his near post.

Ipswich retook the lead on the 53rd minute. Tom Lawrence’s corner was flicked on at the near post, the ball found its way to Christophe Berra who was on hand to poke the ball home to put Mick McCarthy’s men back in front.

Ipswich’s third would prove a devastating blow for the visitors. The impressive Lawrence picked up the ball from just outside the centre circle before unleashing a fearsome 30-yard shot that smashed in to the top corner of the Rovers goal as Steele looked on, rooted to the spot.

Feeney, returning to the side he spent the final few months of last season with, curled a left footed shot just past the post as Rovers looked to get back in to the game.

Marvin Emnes replaced Elliott Bennett on the left side of midfield as Rovers looked to give themselves more attacking options.

The Tractor Boys could have further extended their leasd when Cole Skuse slipped the ball to Freddie Sears in the box, Sears who was judged to be onside just couldn’t steer the ball past the onrushing Steele.

On the 73rd minute Rovers were awarded the chance to get back in to the game. Hope Akpan closed down Webster in the box and just nipped in front of him to retrieve possession, before being brought down by the Ipswich man. Danny Graham cooly slotted home from the spot for his tenth goal of the season.

Rovers pushed for the leveller as Feeney broke down the right once more, his left-footed cross in to the box found the head of Emnes whose flick failed to fall to a Rovers man.

There was a late shout for a penalty in the closing stages as Derrick Williams tussled with Josh Emmanuel in the box but the referee saw no infringement as the match ended 3-2 to the home side.

IPSWICH: Bialkowski, Knudsen, Chambers (c), Berra, Skuse, Webster, Bru, Sears, Dozzell (sub Ward 67 mins), Lawrence, Emmanuel.

Subs not used: Gerken, Best, Digby, Douglas, Morris, Webber.

Goals: Lawrence (38, 57), Berra (53)

Booked: Lawrence, Dozzell.

ROVERS: Steele, Marshall, Lenihan, Mulgrew, Williams, Feeney, Lowe (c), Akpan, Bennett (sub Emnes 61 mins), Gallagher, Graham.

Subs not used: Raya, Brown, Greer, Nyambe, Tomlinson, Mahoney.

Goals: Akpan (43), Graham (74).

Attendance: 15,009 (including 295 Rovers fans) 

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