LEON AND NEIL – SIMPLY THE BEST
Ipswich lose to battling Millers
HIS appointment might have been unexpected but Neil Warnock is proving there is life in the old dog yet after masterminding another three points for his resurgent Rotherham.
The Millers moved out of the Championship’s bottom three with a hard-fought, but well-deserved, win over dismal Ipswich Town.
Leon Best, who broke an 18month goal drought with a dramatic double at Derby last week, scored his third goal in two matches with a scrappy finish that was in keeping with a match low on entertainment.
Not that Warnock cared one jot after seeing his side claim their fourth win in eight matches and extend an impressive unbeaten run to five.
He said: “I thought we deserved the win and overall the lads have done ever so well. We are limited but the Championship is my cup of tea.
“I have come here for 14 matches and I am loving it. I don’t feel under any pressure and I have asked the lads just to give me their best. As you can see, they are certainly doing that."
When asked what his wealth of experience had brought to a struggling side, he added: “I have come in and galvanised and organised them. I have good staff around me and I told the chairman when we first met that he wouldn’t get anyone better than me. But I am so grateful for the opportunity.
“The chairman even lets me win at golf to keep my morale up."
Warnock had every right to crack some jokes after seeing his side put in a thoroughly professional performance and once again more-than-match a side at the right end of the table.
Ipswich were woeful, manager Mick McCarthy sparing no punches in a brutal post-match assessment, in a match that saw very few good chances.
Freddie Sears and Richard Smallwood swapped, and spurned, half chances before the best moment fell to Rotherham’s Grant Ward whose low shot was turned wide by Bartosz Bialkowski.
Two minutes before half-time, the visitors took the lead – from an Ipswich free-kick.
Jonathan Douglas’ pass was wayward, and a quick break allowed Matt Derbyshire to streak clear down the right and his cross was turned in by the unmarked Best.
Ipswich showed some spirit at the start of the second half, but both Daryl Murphy and Jonas Knudsen failed to truly test Lee Camp with headers.
The closest they came was deep into injury time but substitute Ben Pringle missed both the far post and the sliding Christophe Berra when well placed.
While the visiting fans cheered ‘we are staying up’, Ipswich supporters responded with ‘what a load of rubbish’.
Both assessments were spot on judging from 90 minutes of largely forgettable football.
McCarthy, who questioned whether the reaction meant Ipswich fans were growing tired of him, said: “We deserved to get booed off even though I don’t have to listen to it.
“Fans pay good money and they expect to see their team play well and win.
“We haven’t done that so of course we accept the booing.
“It was a poor performance but I take a big part of the responsibility for that.
“I left the team as it was on Tuesday when in hindsight I should have changed it.
“Maybe they didn’t have the legs or energy.
“But all round the side, and I include myself, none of us came out of that with any glory.”
YEARS IN THE MAKING: Leon Best scores his first goal since 2014