We focus on Friday's opposition...
Rovers overall historical record against Ipswich Town is surprisingly good, having won 16, drawn 9 and lost 16 of the 41 games played. The record at Portman Road is very reasonable too with 8 wins, 1 draw and 12 defeats. However, 6 of those victories came in the first 8 games played in East Anglia! The first time the teams crossed paths was in the last season before World War 2 in the old Division 3 (South). The game at Portman Road ended 0-0 (the only draw at that venue between the clubs) and the game at Eastville 3-3, Frank Curran (2) and Tom Mills scoring for Rovers and Charlie Fletcher (2, I penalty) and Fred Jones scoring for Ipswich.
In the 1991-92 season amazingly the game at Twerton Park also finished 3-3 Devon White (2) and Marcus Stewart scoring for Rovers with Jason Dozzell, Paul Goddard and Michael Stockwell scoring for the away team. The game at Portman Road was won for the home team with a solitary Simon Milton goal.
In those early years Rovers had a couple of remarkable victories in Suffolk. On 1 May 1948, Bert Bush, Jimmy Morgan and George Petherbridge (2) scoring Rovers goals. On 25 October 1952 the goal difference was the same but this time the score-line was 5-1. Geoff Bradford (2), Bert Bush, George Petherbridge and Vic Lambden scored for Rovers and Tom Garneys for Ipswich.
Since winning there on Boxing Day 1958 Rovers record at Portman Road has been abysmal, 9 defeats and 1 victory! That one victory was quite remarkable for a number of reasons. Rovers were underdogs going into the game on 14 December 2019. The Gas took a 4th minute lead when a throw-in was flicked on by Tom Nichols and was shielded in the penalty area by Ollie Clarke for Tyler Smith to fire high into the net. They extended their lead nineteen minutes later, following a cross from the right by Alex Rodman which was headed home by Nichols.
The Tractor Boys pressure eventually paid off in the 37th minute, following a fine move which ended with James Norwood heading home a pinpoint cross by Kayden Jackson. They almost drew level when Norwood's stabbed shot hit the bar and Anssi Jaakkola brought off a save in the 75th minute to deny the Ipswich striker. Three minutes later the Gas were reduced to 10 men when Clarke got his second yellow card for coming back on the field without the referee's permission.
The euphoria of Rovers victory was deflated somewhat by a very odd post-match Graham Coughlin interview where he made certain hints and then tendered his resignation! It is fair to say since then, things for the Gas have been interesting.
Rovers have already visited Portman Road this season in a First Round Carabao Cup game. The home team went ahead in the 29th minute when Toto Nsiala's excellent pass released Aaron Drinan on the right, and the striker's inch-perfect cross was slammed home by Freddie Sears from close range.
Sam Nicholson nearly levelled for the Gas in the 38th minute after going clear of the Ipswich defence but Tomas Holy tipped his fierce shot wide. Alan Judge's inswinging delivery was powerfully headed home by Luke Chambers for the Blues' second goal in the 44th minute.
Ipswich almost extended their lead in the 65th minute when Judge's terrific cross was met by Aaron Drinan but the Town forward's stab at goal was saved by Jordi Van Stappershoef. The third goal came three minutes later, however, Teddy Bishop's sweeping cross from the right finding Sears, who squeezed the ball under Van Stappershoef.