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Kick off 15:00 (UK)

27 February 2021 Venue Portman Road Attendance

Kick off 15:00 (UK)

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English Football League - League One

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Match Previews

PREVIEW | Ipswich Town vs Rovers

26 February 2021

Rovers will be looking to complete a league double over Ipswich Town when they travel to Portman Road this weekend.

Darren Moore’s side have had a full week between games after Tuesday night’s game at Blackpool was postponed due to a waterlogged pitch at Bloomfield Road. 


Ipswich’s recent form 

The Tractor Boys have lost just one of their past six league games stretching back to a 1-1 draw at Crewe Alexandra at the end of January. A 2-0 win at home to Blackpool at the start of February was followed up by their only defeat of the month on the road at Peterborough United three days later.  

They then had consecutive 0-0 draws against Northampton Town and Oxford United respectively, before a superb 1-0 victory at Hull City last time out.  


The man in charge 

Former Norwich manager Paul Lambert was appointed as Ipswich boss in October 2018. The club were bottom of the Sky Bet Championship when he took over, and he was unable to keep them in the second tier that season.   

After a positive start to life in Sky Bet League One, Ipswich finished 11th last season, and Lambert was handed a new five-year deal in January 2020. Since taking the job, Lambert has been in charge of 112 Ipswich games, winning 36, drawing 28 and losing 48, giving him an overall win percentage of 32.1%. 


Ones to watch 

Gwion Edwards 

Edwards joined Town in the summer of 2018 from fellow Sky Bet League One side Peterborough United for an undisclosed fee. After starting his career with Swansea City, the winger impressed in the EFL following a permanent move to Crawley Town. He spent two years at the Broadfield Stadium before moving to Peterborough where he made more than 50 appearances. 

He has made more than 70 appearances for the Tractor Boys and is now well into his third season with the club, he has also bagged five goals in Sky Bet League One this season. 


Alan Judge 

The experienced midfielder has featured for several clubs in the EFL, after his first club Blackburn loaned him out to Plymouth Argyle and Notts County before a permanent move to the Magpies in January 2011. His form at Meadow Lane secured a move back to Blackburn, but he made just 11 appearances after his return to Ewood Park and it wasn’t long before he signed for Brentford. 

It was with the Bees where Judge enjoyed the best spell of his career so far, playing more than 100 times and helping the club establish themselves in the Sky Bet Championship. He joined Ipswich in January 19 and his experience has seen him become an integral part of the side ever since. 


James Norwood 

After coming through the system at Exeter City, Norwood made his name in a four-year spell with Forest Green Rovers where he scored 48 goals in just over 150 appearances before a move to Tranmere Rovers in 2015. The centre-forward had even more success during his time at Prenton Park, helping the club earn back-to-back promotions through from the National League up to Sky Bet League One. 

His goals began to attract the interest of clubs throughout the EFL and he signed for Ipswich in the summer of 2019. He scored 11 goals in his debut season at Portman Road, and is approaching 150 career goals in total. 


Last time out 

Rovers ran out 4-1 winners when the sides last met at the Keepmoat Stadium back in October. A Joe Wright own goal gave the visitors an early lead, before goals from Cameron John and Ben Whiteman turned the game on its head before half-time. Whiteman scored his second of the game from the penalty spot just past the hour-mark, before Fejiri Okenabirhie capped off the win with a fourth for Rovers just a minute later. 

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Match Reports

REPORT | Ipswich Town 2 Rovers 1

27 February 2021

Goals either side of the break saw Rovers fall to a 2-1 defeat against Ipswich Town in Sky Bet League One.

Despite Rovers boasting more possession and chances in the first half, they found themselves trailing at half time thanks to Alan Judge’s goal direct from a free kick. Darren Moore’s men came close to equaliser on several occasions before the break with Josh Sims and Taylor Richards both seeing efforts clawed off the line.

James Norwood extended Ipswich’s lead early in the second half when he tapped home from close range giving Rovers a huge mountain to climb. A confident Town started shooting from everywhere without troubling Ellery Balcombe. Rovers got one back with 20 minutes to go when substitute Jon Taylor slotted inside the far post, but it proved to be nothing more than a consolation.

Moore made two changes to the side that faced Hull City a week earlier with John Bostock and Fejiri Okenabirhie handed starts while Jon Taylor and Madger Gomes dropped to the bench.

Rovers started brightly and looked full of energy early on with the quartet of Okenabirhie, Omar Bogle, Josh Sims and Taylor Richards playing with real freedom popping up all over the pitch and causing Town’s defence all sorts of problems.

Okenabirhie put a decent chance wide within seven minutes of the start when Town’s defence played the ball straight to Omar Bogle and Sims cross-cum-shot forced Tomas Holy into a save at the near post just minutes later. Holy was also called into action when Reece James’ cross took a deflection and looped up off Luke Chambers foot and into the arms off the keeper.

The hosts had their first effort just after the quarter-of-an-hour mark Troy Parrott’s effort from distance swung high and wide, but it marked a bit of a change in momentum. Their next chance was on target from Keanan Bennetts but it was a comfortable stop for Ellery Balcombe while James Norwood headed just wide from Judge’s delivery.

It was to be Judge who would break the deadlock - his effort direct from a free kick was curled nearly inside the far post giving Balcombe no chance. He could well have doubled the home side’s lead when he connected with Myles Kenlock’s cut-back, but Tom Anderson made a superb block to deny him.

Rovers continued to go agonisingly close at the other end. Richards and Sims both saw efforts clawed off the line in quick succession before Bogle shot just wide.

Sims had another dipping effort from distance saved and Reece James’ effort with the outside of his boot lacked the power to trouble Holy. Town’s keeper needed to be quick off his line to snuff out a neat ball through to Richards from Matt Smith in the final play of the half.

Ipswich stretched the lead with less than ten minutes played. Norwood had already caused problems with Joe Wright on hand to clear his early headed effort off the line, but the Town no.10 benefitted from being stood in an offside position when a defensive header by Rovers meant he picked up the ball in the six-yard box with no one around him and was able to tap in from close range.

The second goal gave the home side some confidence and efforts started flying from range, but all were off target.
Rovers continued to move the ball but really turned up the pressure with 20 minutes to go and John Bostock created a decent chance when his quick feet saw him break into the opposition box before the cut back was cut out. Richards bought himself a yard of space, shifted the ball and struck well but rattled the upright. The ball bounced to substitute Jon Taylor who scuffed the follow up.

The no.11 made no mistakes when he was afforded another chance a few moments later. His pace got him beyond the Ipswich defence, and he slotted confidently just inside the far post.

Rovers continued to create chances with Brad Halliday and Scott Robertson both testing Holy but were unable to find a way past the Ipswich keeper.

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