Point could spark good run
IN the big scheme of things, this was a terrific result for the Blues.Not a great game by any means, or even a vintage performance from Town, but to get a point from a Wolves side that have lost just eight times in 50 games and have serious aspirations for promotion, was good going.
By Derek Davis
IN the big scheme of things, this was a terrific result for the Blues.
Not a great game by any means, or even a vintage performance from Town, but to get a point from a Wolves side that have lost just eight times in 50 games and have serious aspirations for promotion, was good going.
In truth, Town rode their luck.
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Their equaliser came from a penalty that should not have been given, which Matt Richards buried, but then it was only five days earlier when Town were aggrieved at a penalty decision against them. Wolves had taken the lead when a drive from Colin Cameron took a looping deflection off Jason De Vos' wrist and then had four glorious chances to net a winner.
Then again, there has been many an occasion when sloppy finishing has cost Town, so they won't complain at Wolves' wastefulness.
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It is scrappy, slightly fortunate, results like this that can act as a springboard for a decent run and, with a struggling QPR to come at home on Saturday, and winnable matches against Sheffield Wednesday, Crystal Palace, Hull City and even Luton Town to come before we see in the New Year, there is an opportunity to muscle a way into the top 10.
Of course, it is clear that Town don't have enough to trouble the promotion, or even play-off contenders, but they have more than enough about them not to be worried about becoming embroiled in a relegation battle.
That may change if this horrendous run of injuries and suspensions continue but, equally, the signing of a big striker that scores regularly could be the making of them.
Even in a strangely muted Portman Road, with no-one really fancying their chances, the Blues started confidently and brightly against Glenn Hoddle's side packed with internationals and million pound stars.
Joe Royle went for an attack-minded three-man frontline, with Darren Currie and Dean Bowditch either side of Nicky Forster.
Currie delivered a terrific low free-kick from 35 yards that evaded Forster and Richard Naylor and scraped the outside of a post to frighten Wolves.
The wide-man, playing his 50th game for Town, then went close with another free-kick, from the left flank, which dipped narrowly past a post. He then forced Wolves keeper Stefan Postma into a good save, pushing round a post a terrific right-footed volley when Currie met a deep Gavin Williams cross on the full.
Postma was also alert when his own midfielder Tom Huddlestone back-headed towards goal, and was relieved to see a wicked low cross from the excellent Sito flash across goal and go wide without a Town player managing to get a killer touch.
A below par Wolves got back into the game for a while but their finishing was woeful, with skipper Mark Kennedy climaxing a clear run with a sky-high shot from 25-yards out, while Huddlestone side-footed an opening straight to Lewis Price.
Hoddle changed things at half-time, with a struggling George Ndah complaining of a hamstring strain and so was replaced by a lively Leon Clarke, while Darren Anderton took over from a poorly-performing Huddlestone.
The change bore fruit seven minutes later when Cameron unleashed a 30-yard drive that struck De Vos and looped over Price as he struggled to get back and the ball dipped under the crossbar for an unlikely opener.
That prompted Jim Magilton and Dean Bowditch to be withdrawn for Adam Proudlock and Kevin Horlock.
That switch was rewarded six minutes later when Horlock made a stunning tackle on Kennedy and sent Forster scampering away.
The striker surged into the area and Hungarian defender Gabor Gyepes looked to have made an excellent tackle to win the ball, which rolled into touch, but it was from behind and Forster tumbled and referee Keith Stroud pointed to the spot.
Richards, who was having a busy afternoon trying to contain World Cup winger Ki-Hyeon Seol, welcomed the break and hit a powerful left-footed penalty home.
Although Postma went the right way and got a hand to it, the spot-kick was so well struck he could not stop its goal-bound journey.
It was the first goal Wolves had conceded for 470 minutes and Richards' third for the season.
Horlock's enthusiastic and full-blooded tackling earned him a booking but it was good to see someone getting stuck in
Despite his work, Wolves finished the game stronger and Anderton was proving dangerous. Fortunately, when he found space to bear down on goal he chose to pass instead of shooting and the chance went begging.
Clarke hit the side-netting after wriggling through but the miss of the day came from South Korean Seol, who blazed over the bar when unmarked from six yards.
No wonder Hoddle was fuming afterwards.
Town offered little in the way of attack and when the impressive Williams did intercept a sloppy Anderton pass he could not get off a shot and Proudlock could not do anything with the pass to feet outside the box, with the centre backs bearing down on him.
Scott Barron went on to make his league debut and did fine as Town saw out the final few minutes to earn a vital point.