The Football League Paper - - CHAMPIONSHIP - By Rus­sell Cook

PAUL Lambert praised his de­fence call­ing them “fan­tas­tic” after Ip­swich held Rotherham United at bay to record a win that gives fans hope of a re­vival.

But be­fore any hopes of Cham­pi­onship safety the home team first had to weather a storm of at­tacks from the vis­i­tors with the fi­nal sta­tis­tics show­ing 18 to three shots at goal in favour of the York­shire out­fit.

The only goal of the game came from Hill City loa­nee Will Keane in the 31st minute and it was just Ip­swich’s third win of the sea­son.

Lambert said: “The first half we were very good, re­ally strong and worked the ball, but they made it dif­fi­cult sec­ond half and I don’t think there was two passes strung to­gether; just long balls and thrown-ins and set plays. But the pleas­ing thing is we de­fended fan­tas­tic.

“I thought James Collins and the other new lads were out­stand­ing. James wanted to be here and to come in and do what he did was un­be­liev­able.

“We had to get play­ers in and they have not played for a long time but they will get fit­ter and up to match speed and give ev­ery­body a lift.”

Paul Warne said his Rotherham side gave him ev­ery­thing in a sec­ond pe­riod which they dom­i­nated.

He said: It’s just how foot­ball is. We played re­ally well and I’ve got no com­plaint of the lads’ per­for­mance at all. We needed a bit of qual­ity on a cou­ple of oc­ca­sions but gen­er­ally they were pretty out­stand­ing. The sec­ond half was lit­er­ally one-way traf­fic and I don’t think any­one, if we would have at least got a draw, would not have any com­plaints, it just didn’t drop to us and it just wasn’t to be.”

Ip­swich gave league de­buts to vet­eran cen­tre-back Collins, de­fender Cal­lum Elder and strik­ers Keane and Collin Quaner who all signed in the Jan­uary trans­fer win­dow.

In the sev­enth Quaner was judged to have fouled Rotherham keeper Marek Ro­dak when he chased down a back pass. Ip­swich mounted sus­tained at­tacks and had a penalty ap­peal re­jected by ref­eree James Lin­ing­ton when the ball ap­peared to strike the hand of Rotherham de­fender Sean Raggett.

Al­though the home side were hav­ing much of the pos­ses­sion nei­ther team were able to put much pres­sure on the re­spec­tive goal­keep­ers un­til Keane slammed home the only goal from in­side the six-yard box after his ini­tial at­tempt was blocked fol­low­ing a cross from the left by Sears.

Just be­fore the end of the first pe­riod a free-kick mid­way into the Ip­swich half by An­thony Forde found Nige­rian de­fender Semi Ajayi who headed nar­rowly wide.

Rotherham cre­ated pres­sure on the Ip­swich goal early in the sec­ond half and a long-range shot from Will Vaulks was pushed to safety.

The pres­sure then be­came re­lent­less. In the 60th minute Rotherham Michael Smith’s header went just over the bar as the away side dom­i­nated. Ip­swich keeper Dean Gerken had to get down to hold an­other shot by Vaulks in the 85th minute and in a fre­netic pe­riod of ad­di­tional time Gerken par­ried a de­flec­tion to safety.


WEL­COME: New sign­ing Will Keane cel­e­brates his open­ing goal for Ip­swich


AWAY: James Collins makes his pres­ence known and clears

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