Match report: Ipswich Town 2 Wolves 2 – Blues twice pegged back in another Portman Road draw

Daryl Murphy scores Towns second and ends up in the back of the net with Wolves keeper Carl Ikeme du

Daryl Murphy scores Towns second and ends up in the back of the net with Wolves keeper Carl Ikeme during the Ipswich Town v Wolverhampton Wolves (Championship) match at Portman Road, Ipswich, on 21 November 2015. Picture: Steve Waller - Credit: Picture: Steve Waller

Ipswich Town were twice pegged back in this afternoon’s 2-2 draw with Wolves at Portman Road.

Jonathan Douglas (16) and Daryl Murphy (54) scored in either half but on both occasions those goals were cancelled out as James Henry (38) and Benik Afobe (75) found the net.

The Blues have now drawn four of their last five games at Portman Road and will be seeing this once very much as two points dropped given just how much they were on top in the moments after each of their goals.

Mick McCarthy’s men played some slick football at times, with the trio of Murphy, Brett Pitman and Freddie Sears combining very well for the third successive game, but the home side were unable to ruthlessly shut the game down.

Wolves’ spirited performance shouldn’t be underestimated wither though, with both teams pressing for a winner in the closing stages.

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It was the visitors who started the match on top and, for a difficult five period, Town really had to weather a metaphorical storm in the wet and windy conditions.

First it required a fine Christophe Berra block on Dominic Iorfa in the box, then Tommy Smith did well to take the sting out of Jordan Graham’s well-hit shot. On both occasions Jonas Knudsen gave the ball away cheaply in the build-up.

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Ipswich counter-attacked well at once stage and Sears was guilty of shooting at the end of driving run rather than slipping pass to an unmarked Murphy.

Wolves were soon back on the front foot though and this time it was Cole Skuse to the rescue, the midfielder racing back and cutting out a low Graham cross in the six-yard box just ahead of Jack Price.

Town’s opener therefore came against the run of play. It was a well-worked goal, Sears driving down the left, finding the overlapping Knudsen and, after his low cross was dummied by Murphy, the late-arriving Douglas showed great composure to take a touch and guide a fine outside of the boot shot into the net.

It was the midfielder’s second goal in as many games, the former Brentford man clearly benefitting now that the shackles have been removed.

Boosted by the goal, Town began to play some neat, one-touch football in their search for a second.

In the 25th minute, Pitman, left unmarked on the penalty spot, guided a header inches past the foot of the post following Sears’ cross from the left.

Then, just past the half hour mark, Pitman’s swirling cross from the right clipped the top of the crossbar with keeper Carl Ikeme beaten.

Town continued to knock the ball about with confidence in the final third and, after Sears got the ball back off Pitman, his low cross flashed across the six-yard box.

Wolves leveller, just like Town’s opener, therefore came without warning.

One corner was well defended, but the second, delivered by Graham, was stabbed back into the danger zone by Mike Williamson at the far post and subsequently turned in by Henry from close-range.

Ipswich rather lost their momentum with this set-back but they were still able to create a couple more chances before the end of the half, Smith and Luke Chambers both heading difficult chances straight at the keeper.

Following a quiet start to the second period, Town got their noses back in front in the 54th minute.

Skuse’s diagonal ball into the area was sublime and Pitman, spotting the sluggish Ikeme rushing off his line, attempted to lob the ball over the keeper on the angle.

The Town striker, on the stretch, didn’t make as good contact as he would have liked and the result was that the ball landed nicely in front of Murphy to head home from close-range.

The back-pedalling Ikeme remained in a heap in the back of his net after conceding and received lengthy treatment from a physio before continuing.

Just like at Rotherham, Town’s three strikers – Murphy, Pitman and Sears – linked up well and all caused a threat in different ways. Twice in quick succession they were all on the same wavelength but, on both occasions, the final pass or cross was slightly overhit.

The Blues allowed the game to drift though and Wolves gradually got a foothold again as sub Adam Le Fondre injected some added class.

The equaliser arrived in the 75th minute, Le Fondre afforded acres of room to cross from the right before Afobe arrived between Chambers and Smith to head home from six yards out.

With neither side having looked defensively sound you sensed that one of them would go on and win it.

Town sub Ainsley Maitland-Niles came very close to restoring the home side’s lead in the 79th minute when he headed Sears’ deep cross down into the ground and just wide of the left post.

Then, in the 84th minute, Town’s front men combined well again. Pitman flicked a header on, Sears danced inside, Murphy passed sideways but Douglas, falling backwards, couldn’t quite get enough power on his difficult chance.

Wolves weren’t exactly trying to protect a point and continued to look a threat themselves. Indeed, there was a major let off for Ipswich when Kevin McDonald lashed wildly over inside the area after Smith had done well to stab away a low cross from the right.

In the 89th minute, Sears’ cross from the left was scrambled away and then Skuse’s thunderous volley was well blocked. Douglas’ long-range follow-up attempt lacked power.

A keenly contested match then ended on a sour note as players from both sides went into the referee’s book late on – Chambers crudely blocking Sheyi Ojo and then Le Fondre cynically taking out a full-flight Sears.

IPSWICH TOWN (4-4-2): Gerken; Chambers (cpt), Smith, Berra, Knudsen; Bru (Maitland-Niles 69), Skuse, Douglas, Sears; Murphy, Pitman.

Unused subs: Bialkowski, Malarczyk, Parr, Coke, Oar, Toure.

Booked: Chambers (90+).

WOLVES (4-2-3-1): Ikeme; Iorfa, Batth (cpt), Williamson, Golbourne; McDonald, Price; Henry, Edwards (Le Fondre 65), Graham (Ojo 77); Afobe.

Unused subs: Flatt, Doherty, Coady, Byrne, Holt.

Booked: Henry (11), Le Fondre (90+).

Attendance: 19,277 (996 away).

Referee: Gavin Ward.

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