COLLINS STEPS FORWARD TO DENY MILLERS
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
STAR MAN JAMES COLLINS Ipswich Town
AWAY: James Collins makes his presence known and clears