Match report: Wolves 0 Ipswich Town 0 – Missed opportunity for Blues
Ipswich Town couldn’t quite find a way to beat a listless Wolves team at Molineux this afternoon, a goalless draw seeing them fall further adrift of the Championship play-off places.
The mid-table hosts offered very little going forwards and had several shaky moments at the back, but Mick McCarthy’s men couldn’t find a breakthrough.
Liam Feeney hit the foot of the post, while Brett Pitman had a clever chipped effort cleared off the line in the first half. After the break, keeper Carl Ikeme produced a fine close-range save to deny Pitman’s diving header, while Christophe Berra had a header from a corner hacked off the line too.
This was undoubtedly a much-improved performance following some of the recent dire displays, but you still never really sensed that the Blues were really knocking the door down though.
Wolves’ rare attempts on goal were met by ironic cheers and there were loud chants of ‘boring, boring, boring’ from the home crowd. No doubt about it, this was a big missed opportunity for Ipswich.
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They remain eighth in the table but are now five points adrift of sixth-spot, which is now occupied by Derby. Indeed, the Blues are now nearer 10th-placed Preston than they are the play-off places with just seven games to go.
McCarthy made two changes to his starting XI following the dire 1-0 home defeat to Rotherham a fortnight earlier. Daryl Murphy (calf) and Luke Hyam were replaced by Liam Feeney and Ben Pringle. They lined up in a 4-2-3-1 system with Cole Skuse and Jonathan Douglas the holding midfielders, Pringle in the No.10 role with Feeney and Freddie Sears wide of Brett Pitman up top.
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Following a cagey start to the match, Ipswich began to get on top. First they won the fight. Luke Chambers time-and-time again made timely blocks or tackles and Pitman bravely flung his head in the way of the ball, just inches off the turf, with a defender’s boot swinging nearby.
Then the Blues began to pass the ball around when possible. One patient move ended with Jonas Knudsen sending a right-footed effort just wide of the post. Then, in the 18th minute, Feeney’s low shot from the edge of the box, following a half-cleared corner, struck the foot of the post.
Town dealt with several dangerous deliveries into their box and their high-press almost paid dividends in the final stages of the half as on three occasions home centre-back Kortney Hause massively rode his luck.
First, in the 35th minute, he just about got away with trying to control a long ball in a dangerous area as Pitman put him under pressure. Four minutes later, the towering defender dallied on the ball, was chased down by Sears and keeper Ikeme just about scrambled the ball away. Then, in the 41st minute, Hause again dwelt on the ball, was robbed of possession by Pitman on the by-line but just about managed to recover and clear Pitman’s clever dinked shot over Ikeme off the line.
Town started the second half on the front foot and, within seconds, Knudsen sliced a good chance well wide after Sears’ dangerous cut-back. Town’s Danish left-back almost chased down a bold chest back to the keeper moments later.
When Sears was given too much time and space to run and send a rising shot over the bar the home fans began to voice their discontent. When the hosts produced their first shot on target, George Saville’s tame shot picked up by Bartosz Bialkowski, there were ironic cheers.
Ipswich were hardly turning the screw against a team that seemed there for the taking, but they were denied by a fine Ikeme save in the 67th minute. Wolves’ Nigerian international custodian showed fine reflexes to keep out Pitman’s diving header from six-yards out following Feeney’s delivery from the right.
McCarthy introduced Luke Varney and Kevin Bru for Pitman and Pringle in the 69th minute, leaving the fit-again David McGoldrick among the substitutes.
Both teams continued to huff and puff, with Skuse’s long-range shot blocked and Varney’s difficult looping header going just over.
Wolves created a rare goalscoring chnace in the 74th minute when James Henry’s through ball put Matt Doherty away, but Bialkowski was quick off his line to make a block.
Ipswich looked the more likely to win it, with Bru’s angled shot pushed around the post and then Berra’s header from the resultant corner hacked off the line by Henry.
McCarthy waited until the 87th minute before introducing McGoldrick and he had no time to make any sort of impact.
WOLVES (4-3-3): Ikeme; Iorfa, Batth (cpt), Hause, Doherty; Coady, Price, Saville; Sigurdarson (Henry 46), Zyro (Le Fondre 68), Helan (Mason 57).
Unused subs: Martinez, Deslandes, McDonald, Hunte.
IPSWICH TOWN (4-2-3-1): Bialkowski, Chambers (cpt), Smith, Berra, Knudsen; Douglas, Skuse; Feeney (McGoldrick 87), Pringle (Bru 69),
Sears; Pitman (Varney 69),
Unused subs: Gerken, Digby, Foley, Hyam.
Referee: Rob Lewis