Ipswich 2-3 Millwall: Shane Ferguson strike sparks second-half collapse
Report and highlights as Tractor Boys suffer damaging home defeat
Last Updated: 01/01/19 9:25pm
Three goals in 16 minutes earned Millwall their first win of the Sky Bet Championship season as they beat rock-bottom Ipswich 3-2 at Portman Road.
Shane Ferguson, Jake Cooper and Tom Elliott were on target in the second half for the visitors at Portman Road.
Jack Lankester, 18, scored his first senior goal for the Tractor Boys, who led at half-time in what had been billed as a must-win game if they were to have any chance of avoiding the drop.
Substitute Kayden Jackson reduced the deficit to a single goal with a 25-yard effort in the 89th minute - but this latest setback leaves Paul Lambert's team 10 points - plus goal difference - from safety and they will need a miracle to avoid returning to the third tier of English football for the first time in 62 years.
Lambert has only managed to bank six points from his 11 games in charge but his team could not have made a better start when Lankester, who turns 19 later this month, opened the scoring in the second minute.
Freddie Sears fed the ball out to the right, where Lankester had found acres of space. The youngster cut in and sent a low shot beyond the outstretched arm of Jordan Archer and inside the far post.
The Tractor Boys squandered a great chance to extend their lead in the 28th minute when Flynn Downes cut the ball back for Sears but the former West Ham man's shot was brilliantly blocked by former Ipswich loanee Ryan Tunnicliffe.
Within seconds Jed Wallace went on an amazing run from deep in his own half but after deciding to go it alone, rather than try to pick out the unmarked Aiden O'Brien in the middle, his low drive was well saved by the advancing Dean Gerken.
Millwall made a change for the second half, sending on experienced striker Steve Morison for left-back James Meredith as manager Neil Harris looked to add some much-needed firepower to his attack.
There was a firm sense the Lions were edging closer to an equaliser and it duly arrived on the hour mark when Chambers collided with Tom Elliott, referee Stephen Martin pointed to the spot and Ferguson sent Gerken the wrong way as he lashed the ball into the net.
Four minutes later Lambert was shown a yellow card for dissent after he complained his side should have had a free-kick when Harrison appeared to be held back by Jake Cooper on the edge of the area.
Things went from bad to worse for Lambert and his players when the Lions went in front in the 68th minute. Morison directed a cross to the far post for Elliott to head back into the middle, where Cooper had an easy task to nod in his fifth goal of the season.
Millwall were not finished and added a third goal in the 76th minute, O'Brien cleverly setting up Elliott for his third goal of the campaign with a cute backheel after the big striker's initial shot was blocked.
Jackson gave Ipswich a flicker of hope of rescuing a point when his shot found the net via a post and Harrison had an effort that Archer grabbed at the last second when it seemed to be creeping in.
Ipswich boss Paul Lambert: "We should have been three up at half-time. We were excellent in the first half. We dominated the game and the ball, and we had some unbelievable chances.
"Nobody could have begrudged us if we'd gone in at 3-0 - I thought we were that far ahead. The football we played was great but we have to take our chances.
"I knew what we'd have to deal with when Steve Morison came on - long balls and headers - but we never dealt with the physicality side of it. We got caught up with the emotion of the game as well and the lads got involved with some of the decisions, which I thought were strange."
Millwall boss Neil Harris: "It was a horrendous first half from us and I've got to be honest, it wasn't acceptable.
"I don't think I've ever made a sub in the first half, unless it's forced on me by an injury or a red card, but that was the closest I've come to doing it.
"I had a few choice words at half-time for the group and I questioned how much they wanted it, and they responded second half. The goals weren't that great but we scored more than Ipswich and that's all that matters."