Gallery: Town show promise but lose to Wolves

LEE Bowyer rounded off a fine move to score his first goal for the Blues but it wasn’t enough as Wolves’ Premier League quality just about shone through.


Ipswich Town 1 Wolverhampton Wanderers 2

LEE Bowyer rounded off a fine move to score his first goal for the Blues but it wasn’t enough as Wolves’ Premier League quality just about shone through.

Paul Jewell will be happy with his side’s best performance in pre-season, even if it inflicted their first defeat of the summer with the difference only coming when Mick McCarthy brought on arguably his first team starters.

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Bowyer, who later struck the post with a shot from full-on 40 yards, scored a great goal after super work from Aaron Cresswell and Lee Martin, but two goals in the final 15 minutes – Stephen Hunt’s deflected equaliser and a penalty from Sylvan Ebanks-Blake – proved the difference.

Six of Jewell’s seven new signings started against McCarthy’s men, but perhaps the biggest talking point was Mark Kennedy beginning in a holding midfield role akin to where he played against Arsenal in last year’s Carling Cup semi-final.

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This allowed Grant Leadbitter to support Chopra with Emmanuel-Thomas and Martin operating from the flanks.

And the central midfield trio, completed by Bowyer, started brightly with a sprinkling of one-touch passing lighting up a rather depleted Portman Road.

Town almost took the lead on 23 minutes when a gutsy challenge by Mark Kennedy released Lee Martin, who cut in from the right but his low shot just went the wrong side of the near post.

As the game evened out, and Wolves enjoyed more possession, the Premier League side should have taken the lead before the half-hour mark.

Hammill’s corner was met by Ebanks-Blake whose close range effort was blocked by Stockdale, who then reacted brilliantly to deny Zubar from the rebound,

Seven minutes later, Martin almost broke the deadlock when Emmanuel-Thomas played the winger in but his shot just missed the far post with Wolves keeper Dorus De Vries stranded. But it was left to Bowyer to break the first half deadlock.

It was a goal of real quality, coming in the 43rd minute and started by left-back Cresswell who intercepted a Wolves attack before launching a quick-fire break.

The former Tranmere youngster fed the impressive Martin on the left who ghosted past Wolves full-back Kevin Foley with some magic trickery.

Martin then had the composure to pull the ball back for Michael Chopra who let it run, allowing the onrushing Bowyer to drill the ball home from just inside the area.

And the former Birmingham midfielder almost went one better a minute after Grant Leadbitter had curled a 25-yard free kick just wide.

Picking the ball up some 40 yards out and on the right wing, Bowyer unleashed a fantastic shot that beat the despairing dive of De Vries but cannoned off the inside of the post.

Chopra went close from the edge of the area, but Wolves, aided by a number of changes, gradually gained a stranglehold in the game.

Stockdale made a smart diving save to deny Nenad Milijas’ low bouncing header before Wolves equalised with 15 minutes left.

Jody Craddock headed down and Hunt’s shot only deceived Stockdale because of the deflection off the unfortunate Leadbitter.

And the pressure from the visitors told with six minutes left when Ebanks-Blake, so often linked with a move to Ipswich, was brought down by Carlos Edwards just inside the area.

The musuclar forward got up and slammed the penalty straight down the middle.

Starting line-ups:

Ipswich: Stockdale, Edwards, Cresswell, Ingimarsson, Delaney, Leadbitter (Drury 80), Kennedy (Hyam 80), Bowyer (Healy 80), Emmanuel-Thomas (Carson 70), Chopra (Ellington 76), Martin (Scotland 76),

Subs: Fulop, Priskin, Smith.

Wolves: De Vries, Foley (O’Hara 75), Ward (Berra 82), Davis (Kightly 61), Zubar (Stearman 75), Craddock (Johnson 82), Hammill (Fletcher 70), Milijas (Henry 70), Ebanks-Blake, Keogh (Hunt 61), Griffiths (Elokobi 61).

Subs: Hennessey, Doyle,

Attendance: 5,904 (329 from Wolves).

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