Miller's thriller keeps it interesting

FAILURE to produce away from home was always going to be the Blues downfall and so it proved once more at Wolves.Tommy Miller did produce a rare bit of outstanding quality to salvage a point and keep things interesting for at least another week, but once again it was hardly convincing stuff from Ipswich.

Derek Davis

FAILURE to produce away from home was always going to be the Blues downfall and so it proved once more at Wolves.

Tommy Miller did produce a rare bit of outstanding quality to salvage a point and keep things interesting for at least another week, but once again it was hardly convincing stuff from Ipswich.

Wolves, who can overtake Ipswich if they win their game in hand over Cardiff tomorrow, were no great shakes either and were guilty of missing even more chances to win than Town.

Wolves went for the jugular while the Blues tried to counter, but lacked any real conviction or quality, symptomatic of their away form all season.

Just three wins, at Sheffield Wednesday, Scunthorpe and Crystal Palace underlines the problem and with a difficult trip to Preston to come, catching Palace, who now have a three point gap and a four goals better goal difference, reaching the play-offs still looks unlikely.

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Possible - but unlikely.

Of the three other clubs that have won just three games on the road two, Colchester United and Scunthorpe, have already been relegated and Barnsley are still in danger of the drop.

While Town have fared much better due to their brilliant home results, they will be left to rue many of those earlier dropped points away.

If this result had come in the first half of the season it would have been considered a decent enough result, especially as Town have not won at Molineux in nearly 17 years and ten attempts, but coming at a time when only wins will do it is simply not good enough.

Given what is at stake, the possibility of a top six finish and three more chances to win promotion to the Promised Land via the play-offs, it is understandable that both sides were edgy.

Neither wanted to make a mistake, yet nerves led to an error-strewn first half, which in turn made it an open match with chances at both ends.

Alan Quinn was guilty of missing the Blues' best opportunity when, unmarked 14 yards out, he volleyed high and wide when a Pablo Counago shot was deflected to him.

Quinn also had a pop from 30-yards when the midfield opened up for him, but Wayne Hennessey got enough of a hand to it to push the ball wide.

They were rare moments from Quinn, who was being overlapped superbly by David Wright on the left in the first half with the defender showing a real desire and hunger to make things happen.

Sadly, not enough of his team-mates showed the same level of commitment.

Town's right flank was being cruelly exposed by former Colchester defender George Elokobi and Matt Jarvis as they bypassed the ineffectual Danny Haynes and gave Danny Simpson a torrid time.

The on-loan Manchester United defender struggled to cope and most of Wolves' chances came from that area of the park.

A fully-stretched Sylvan Ebanks-Blake missed from just three yards as an Elokobi ball came past Simpson in the first half and the Wolves top-scorer scooped over from three yards.

Only a super save from Stephen Bywater denied Ebanks-Blake in the second half and when he had a second crack from the rebound Jason de Vos cleared off the line.

It was all in vain for Town though when moments later the Blues' defence cracked.

A long ball from Elokobi found Ebanks-Blake, who was allowed to turn and shoot from 16-yards to take his goal tally for the season to 23.

Just as Ebanks-Blake was proving a menace for Ipswich, so Tommy Miller was showing some of his old goal-threat surging from midfield.

He had a shot blocked by the stout Joey Craddock, hit another 22-yard drive inches wide, and was often the provider for Pablo Counago and Jon Walters, wearing a black armband due to a personal bereavement, who prodded and probed with much joy.

Although Ipswich enjoyed plenty of the ball they did little with it and needed every second of the four minutes of time added on in order to get the equaliser.

Substitutes Gary Breen and Alan Lee collided and the referee awarded a soft free kick almost 30 yards out in the middle of goal.

The kick was delayed while de Vos and Breen fought for an inch of space in the wall, but Miller waited patiently with Quinn, who had earlier skied one from a similar position.

The former Sunderland midfielder, signed by Mick McCarthy, strode forward a couple of paces and hit a sublime shot up and over the wall and down into the net with Hennessey caught completely flat-footed. Think Ronaldo and David James.

Although it may prove too little, too late, the wild celebrations in front of the 2,500 travelling Town fans showed what it meant to Miller personally, only his fourth goal of the season, and the team, who knew that if they lost a play-off place would have been even harder to reach.

If they can suddenly overcome their away-day blues and get all three points at Preston, Town will fancy their chances of a 15th home win, the best record in the Championship, even against automatic promotion-chasing Hull City.

It is a big ask, but Miller has kept the hopes alive.