Report: Wolves 0 Ipswich Town 0 – Bialkowski saves penalty, Murphy goal controversially chalked off

Cole Skuse closes down Kortney Hause at Wolves. Photo: Pagepix

Cole Skuse closes down Kortney Hause at Wolves. Photo: Pagepix

Bartosz Bialkowski saved a penalty, while Daryl Murphy had a goal controversially ruled out, as Ipswich Town drew 0-0 at Wolves tonight.

Bialkowski dived to his right to keep out Jon Dadi Bodvarsson’s spot-kick, awarded after Adam Webster’s rash challenge, in the 24th minute.

Then, four minutes later, the linesman raised his flag after Murphy emphatically headed home Grant Ward’s inswinging corner. It seemed that Freddie Sears was penalised for either touching the ball or impeding the keeper from an offside position on the line when appeared to do neither.

Bialkowski made another fine save in the second half, but there is no doubting the Blues were the better team against a home outfit who looked jaded after their impressive high energy win over Reading three days earlier.

It was an encouraging display from Mick McCarthy’s men following their flat second half display in Saturday’s 2-0 defeat at Brentford – and a timely one at that ahead of Sunday’s East Anglian derby against Norwich City at Portman Road.

McCarthy made two changes to his team following Saturday’s 2-0 defeat at Brentford – Jonathan Douglas and Teddy Bishop replacing Conor Grant (groin) and Kevin Bru respectively.

Wolves boss Walter Zenga made just one alteration to his starting line-up following their impressive 2-0 home win over Reading – Kortney Hause replacing George Saville.

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After a slow start to the game, in which both teams sized each other up, Wolves created the first opening when the referee waved play on after Danny Batth appeared to grapple Daryl Murphy. Conor Coady’s through ball was inch-perfect, but Joe Mason over-hit his cross with plenty of team-mates to aim at in the box,

It was Ipswich who were the team to build momentum though after a concerted spell on the front foot around the 10th minute.

Portuguese winger Joao Teixeira tricked his way past Luke Chambers by his own corner flag to cheers, but Douglas steamed in to make a fine challenge and Teddy Bishop’s low cross was hacked away just ahead of Freddie Sears in the six-yard box. Town kept the pressure on and Grant Ward’s whipped cross from the right was fingertipped off the head of Murphy by keeper Carl Ikeme.

After some neat interplay between Sears and Bishop, over-lapping left-back Jonas Knudsen badly over-hit his cross. Ward, always an outlet on the right, again worked half a yard of room and his low cross was scrambled away by Kortney Hause at the near post ahead of Sears.

Ward continued to look like Town’s danger man and, after spinning Matt Doherty expertly on the touchline, he skipped beyond the ponderous Hause to win a free-kick. Bishop’s dangerous dead ball delivery was flapped away unconvincingly by Ikeme.

Wolves had barely got near the Town goal, so when they were awarded a penalty in the 24th minute it came massively against the run of play.

After Bodvarsson latched onto Teixeira’s pass down the left channel, Webster made a rash challenge in the box. He may have nicked a small piece of the ball, but he didn’t look fully in control and there were no protests from the men in blue shirts when referee Peter Bankes pointed to the spot.

Icelandic striker Bodvarsson – a summer signing from German club Kaiserslautern – dusted himself down, but Bialkowski was equal to his effort from 12 yards and kept the ball out with a fine dive low to his right and strong out-stretched arm.

Four minutes later came a major moment of controversy when Town had a goal baffling disallowed. Murphy met Ward’s fine in-swinging corner from the left with his head and the ball into the far corner of the net. The linesman raised his flag though with his interpretation, seemingly, being that Sears had either touched the ball or blocked keeper Ikeme on the goalline in an offside position. He appeared to do neither.

Blues assistant boss Terry Connor held a long inquest with the fourth official, who looked baffled himself, then relayed the information to McCarthy.

Town were soon back on the front foot and the natives soon began to voice their discontent when Bishop drove forwards with the ball from the halfway line, Iorfa eventually halting his progress with a last-ditch challenge in the box.

Then, right on half-time, Christophe Berra met Bishop’s free-kick delivery from the right with a firm header which flew inches beyond the post.

Wolves started the second period with increased tempo and Teixeira curled an effort narrowly wide from the edge of the box. The host once again retreated into their shells though, showing no signs of the high press lauded after their previous victory, and the atmosphere inside Molineux soon went flat.

Bishop had looked like the player of old operating through the middle, showing some classy touches, but not long after he was booked for an ill-judged challenge he was replaced by Kevin Bru.

Ipswich players continued to show more hunger and, when they did turn over possession, they treated the ball with care. One lengthy spell of passing, which included a fine Knudsen switch and a brief Ward dribble, eventually broke down. Moments later, Ward fired a low shot wide from the edge of the area.

A foul by Knudsen, which earned him a booking, fired up the home fans though and, when the crossed free-kick was only half-cleared, Bialkowski did superbly to claw away substitute Helder Costa’s improvised goalbound volley.

That proved to be a rare Wolves attack though and it was Ipswich who finished the game on top, with a hooked Bru attempt scrambled away at the death.

WOLVES (4-2-3-1): Ikeme; Iorfa, Hause, Batth (cpt), Doherty; Coady, Evans; Mason, Edwards (Saville 46), Teixeira; Bovarsson (Costa 65).

Unused subs: Lonergan, Henry, Wallace, Price, Deslandes.

Booked: Hause (20), Teixeira (76)

IPSWICH TOWN (4-1-4-1-3): Bialkowski; Chambers (cpt), Webster, Berra, Knudsen; Skuse; Ward, Douglas, Bishop (Bru 57), Sears (Varney 90+); Murphy.

Unused subs: Gerken, Smith, Emmanuel, Kenlock, Dozzell.

Booked: Bishop (54), Knudsen (72), Chambers (82), Bru (90), Berra (90+)

Attendance: 19,991 (500 away)

Referee: Peter Bankes

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