Town pay for sloppy start
Wolverhampton Wanderers 2Ipswich Town 0THE famed character and resolve that have saved Ipswich so often this season failed to materialise as they blew their chance of regaining second spot.
By Derek Davis
Wolverhampton Wanderers 2
Ipswich Town 0
THE famed character and resolve that have saved Ipswich so often this season failed to materialise as they blew their chance of regaining second spot.
The Blues were given a footballing lesson in the first half by Wolves, who exploited their weak spots and prevented them playing.
Although Joe Royle's side managed to look a bit more like their real selves in the second half, they never really worried a Glenn Hoddle side content with a rare win after 20 draws this season.
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Perhaps the pressure is getting to Town, but they never looked like a side that is free-scoring and dangerous. Instead, they looked disorganised and dishevelled in the early moments.
Wolves played like a team with nothing to lose. Indeed, their 20 draws this season has ensured a mid-table finish at worst - and best - and, like Rotherham last week, they clearly decided to have a go at Ipswich.
It worked a treat in a lop-sided first half, where Ipswich were played off the park and fortunate to go in just two down.
Town's left flank looked outclassed, although they fared little better on their right either, with both goals stemming from that side.
Although they were clearly second best, Ipswich had chances in the first half with Ian Westlake hitting the crossbar, Shefki Kuqi clipping a post with a curling shot, while Jim Magilton dipped a free-kick wide.
Darren Currie's flair was sacrificed for Matt Richards' wing-back play, while Glenn Hoddle dropped natural winger Mark Kennedy for Colin Cameron.
It took just five minutes for the Scot to vindicate his manager and put Wolves ahead, after Ki-Hyeon Seol tore into the Town defence and got the ball across for Lee Naylor.
The full-back got behind the Blues line and pulled the ball across the goal and a weak David Unsworth header fell nicely for Cameron, who powered in from 10 yards.
The second goal was embarrassing for Town's defence, which was torn apart. A Naylor through ball had them in disarray and Cameron enjoyed lots of space in which to pull a pass back for Carl Cort to tap in.
It would have been far worse at the break if not for keeper Kelvin Davis, who made a number of excellent stops.
He got down low to block a Cort shot with an outstretched arm after good work from Seol. The Korean also forced Davis into a good save low down as he ran amok.
Ten minutes from full time the Town keeper got down at the base of a post to push away a Paul Ince snap shot from eight yards.
Seol and Seyi Olofinjana made some Town players look very ordinary with their skill and one-touch movement.
It was Wolves who were playing the fast-flowing football Town have often produced this season. Westlake did hit the crossbar when a Magilton corner fell to him with some assistance from the referee.
Magilton tried a free-kick but it dipped over wall and went wide, while Kuqi caused concern moments before the break with a well-struck angled shot which clipped the far post.
It was little surprise that Currie replaced Richards at half time, with Town reverting back to 4-4-2 long before the break.
James Scowcroft went on in place of Kuqi who, like many others, had not been at his best.
The duo combined to cause panic in the Wolves' den, even though Scowcroft did not get a clean header on Currie's cross from a quick Magilton free-kick.
Darren Bent had been anonymous before the break but showed his pace 10 minutes into the second half and must have thought he had captured his 19th goal of the season when he lobbed Michael Oakes, only to see the ball nestle on the roof of the net.
Unsworth curled in a free-kick but it was too tame to trouble Oakes, while a good Westlake run ended with a disappointingly wide shot.
Naylor got the ball in the net once more for Wolves but a foul had already been given.