GOING OUT WITH DEFEAT: Rovers 2 Ipswich Town 3

THE curtain came down on Rovers’ four year stay in the Championship with defeat to Ipswich Town.

The visitors capitalised on a lacklustre start from Dean Saunders’ men with goals from Tommy Smith and Ryan Stevenson to leave Rovers with a mountain to climb.

And a Jason Scotland penalty 12 minutes from time sealed the win for Ipswich after an even second period.

Rovers squandered possession incredibly cheaply over the first half hour of the contest, particularly in the middle of the park were passes were often wayward and regularly came up short.

Ipswich forced several corners in the opening quarter hour and punished Rovers from one when Smith rose unmarked to nod home Lee Martin’s corner on 11 minutes.

Rovers continued to be their won worse enemy as they surrendered possession at regular intervals, allowing the visitors to establish control of what should have been an open game.

Paul Jewell’s side pushed on with Daryl Muphy crashing a header from another corner off the bar while Damien Delaney drilled the clearance well over.

When Rovers did have chances they were squandered, with James Hayter particularly guilty.

Hayter hooked a volley well over from ten yards put an almost identical effort straight at Arran Lee-Barrett.

Ipswich’s second on 29 minutes was tinged with controversy.

While there was no doubting the quality of Stevenson’s strike as he produced a stunning long range strike which smashed down off the bar.

But whether it actually crossed the line was up for dispute.

Referee Scott Mathieson did not give the goal but his well-placed assistant signalled for one, a decision which appeared correct.

Fabien Robert pulled a goal back for Rovers on 34 minutes, capping an excellent move.

Coppinger sent Simon Gillett clear on the left and his low cross was turned home by the Frenchman.

Rovers did have the ball in the back of the net again before the break when Hayter headed into the far corner but it was ruled out for offside.

Chances were few and far between in an even second half which typified the low stakes nature of the occasion.

Rovers started the half much better but their energy levels and desire dropped as the period wore on.

Ipswich sealed the game from the spot on 78 minutes after Scotland was tripped as he turned to collect a pass just inside the area.

Scotland dusted himself off to slot the spot kick into the bottom corner, sending Woods the wrong way.

Rovers did pull a game back in injury time when Habib Beye turned the ball home through Lee-Barrett’s legs after Coppinger’s deep free kick dropped to him on the edge of the six yard box.

But there was no time left for late heroics and Rovers’ stay in English football’s second tier concluded with a defeat.

Rovers: Gary Woods, James O’Connor, Habib Beye, George Friend, James Husband, Sam Hird (Kyle Bennett, 61), James Coppinger, Simon Gillett, John Oster (Martin Woods, 75), Fabien Robert, James Hayter.

Subs not used: Neil Sullivan, Mustapha Dumbuya, Habib Bamogo.

Ipswich: Arran Lee-Barrett, Damien Delaney, Carlos Edwards, Jay Emmanuel-Thomas (Byron Lawrence, 80), Michael Chopra (Jimmy Bullard, 76), Lee Martin, Ryan Stevenson, Andy Drury, Tommy Smith, Daryl Murphy (Jason Scotland, 66), Ibrahima Sonko.

Subs not used: Josh Carson, Joe Whight.

Referee: S Mathieson

Att: 9,764