Date: 19th March 2016 at 5:25pm
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Town were unchanged for their second match at Portman Road in a week. Luke Varney failed a fitness test and reserve keeper Dean Gerken was sick again. New loan signing Liam Feeney had to be content with a place on the bench.

The game started slowly with little serious goalmouth action from either end and the first real attempt at goal was from Freddy Sears having been fed by Pitman but his shot could only find the keeper and the chance was gone.

There were half chances for both sides but although Town had more of the possession the blues lacked width and the strikers were largely starved of any service up front.

On 44 minutes Rotherham United took a surprise lead when Leon Best scored his third goal in two games. Matt Derbyshire, who had been injured early on, put in a good cross and although Best miss-kicked his right foot attempt, it deceived Town keeper Bialkowski and nestled into the net from the centre of the penalty box.

This was a poor first half performance from the blues who were playing with a diamond formation that did little to enhance our attacking prowess and although it could be argued that The Millers were fortuitous to be going in at half time in the lead, the depressing lack of invention by Town going forward meant the home fans were restless and the players were booed off at the break.

Liam Feeney came on for Jonathan Douglas after half time as manager Mick McCarthy seemed to realise that he had got his first half tactics completely wrong.

Almost immediately Feeney was making an impact and his lightening pace was soon causing Rotherham problems.

But as the game wore on he seemed to get less and less of the ball and of course without the ball you can do very little.

Rotherham United were largely able to soak up any Town pressure and even when Ben Pringle was introduced after 70 minutes for Brett Pitman he could not influence greatly the outcome.

In a last desperate throw of the dice manager Mick McCarthy swapped Luke Hyam for Kevin Bru four minutes later but it was a case of too little too late for the Tractor Boys.

The blame for this defeat must lie at the door of the management team and especially the gaffer. He selected the wrong team from the outset – perhaps goaded into it after our midweek victory but the tactics and the selections were all wrong.

Rotherham’s Stephen Kelly cleared a Freddie Sears shot off the line and goalkeeper Lee Camp denied Ipswich’s Brett Pitman early in the second half but apart from this there were few clear cut chances for either side and this defeat is a demoralizing blow to any play-off ambitions and we are now once again four – or with goal difference taken into account five points off the top six.

Ipswich had a late chance to level, but Ben Pringle effort flashed across goal with no one getting on the end of it.

Questions will undoubtedly be asked about why we created so little against a side who are fighting for their Championship lives but that at the end of the day is the nature of this league and it is never really concluded until the fat lady sings.

Ipswich Town: Bialkowski, Knudsen, Chambers(captain), Smith, Berra, Skuse, Murphy, Pitman, Hyam, Sears, Douglas. Subs: Crowe, Maitland-Niles, Feeney, Pringle, Bru, Digby, Foley.

Rotherham: Camp, Mattock, Broadfoot (captain), Frecklington, Kelly, Halford, G Ward, Derbyshire, Smallwood, Doyley, Best. Subs: Kenny, Wood, D Ward, Green, Burke, Clarke-Harris, Newell. Referee was Steve Martin from Staffordshire.

Attendance: 20,318

 

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