It is pleasing and somewhat rare that I can say Ipswich deserved their 3-2 win against bottom of the table Doncaster at the Keepmoat.
There were a few team changes made for the last game of the season. The main news was that Tommy Smith was given a chance to show his potential at left back, Ibrahima Sonko played his last game for the club and Lee Martin was playing in a forward position just behind Michael Chopra.
Out of contract midfielder Grant Leadbitter was taken out of the squad along with Lee Bowyer which adds to speculation that Leadbitter won’t be staying at the club. Youngsters Josh Carson, Joe Whight and Byron Lawrence were all included on the bench but only Lawrence got any game time, the 16 year old became Ipswich’s second-youngest player ever when he replaced Jay Emmanuel-Thomas for the last 10 minutes.
Many would be expecting this game to be a fairly dull fixture given both teams only have pride to play for but there was a bright start to the game with both forward lines looking dangerous. After James Coppinger shot wide for Doncaster early on, Lee Martin got a shot into Gary Wood’s right hand side making the Rovers ‘keeper produce a decent save. Ipswich were the better team in these early stages and won 5 corners in the first 10 minutes of the game. Doncaster’s were punished for conceding so many corners with Town’s fifth corner, Lee Martin found Tommy Smith unmarked in the box and the young defender hit home the opener. A sixth Ipswich corner came a few minutes later and Daryl Murphy hit the bar with a header after another cross from Lee Martin.
Doncaster did have a good chance to equalise a few minutes later but James Hayter wasted this by diverting a shot over the bar from six yards. Ryan Stevenson punished Doncaster for not taking their chances again in the 29 minute by hitting a stunning shot off the underside of the bar and into the back of the net. Fabien Robert pulled one back for Doncaster when he found himself unmarked in the Town box and met a cross from Simon Gillett to make it 2-1.
Paul Jewell said he believes his team were “cruising at 2-0” and was angry that the Ipswich team allowed Doncaster to get back into the game, especially in the manner that they conceded the goal.
The second half of the game was more like an end of the season fixture between two sides who didn’t have anything to play for. The remaining two goals in the game came on the 79th minute when Jason Scotland won a penalty and picked himself up to score it. In injury time Doncaster pulled another back when the Town defence failed to clear a freekick, Habib Beye putting it past Arran Lee-Barrett.
This final result was never going to matter too much to either team and the performances were always going to be the main focus. Without a doubt Ipswich could have won this game 4-0 if they had kept their concentration up and Paul Jewell was angry that the team could not finish Doncaster off in the first half.
It was disappointing to see Ipswich concede two goals to the worst team in the division and once the team had a two goal lead it was really evident that they started to suffer from their over confidence. The game showed that this Ipswich team have a lot to improve on in terms of their mentality if they want to make a break for promotion next season. Jewell has made it clear that he isn’t happy with a lot of the players’ attitudes at the moment and hopefully he won’t stand for any complacency like what we saw against Doncaster.