Town subs salvage a point

IPSWICH Town's substitutes salvaged a point seven minutes from the end of an extraordinary match against Wolverhampton Wanderers at Molineux last night, writes Tony Garnett.

IPSWICH Town's substitutes salvaged a point seven minutes from the end of an extraordinary match against Wolverhampton Wanderers at Molineux last night, writes Tony Garnett.

Wolves were rampant until they went ahead with what seemed a long overdue goal in the 48th minute. Their inspirational skipper Paul Ince fired home from a cross by Shaun Newton.

Then Ipswich, with 16 year-old Dean Bowditch introduced for the second half, gradually assumed control with their equalising goal thoroughly well deserved when it arrived.

Bowditch, by no means overawed, was tripped by Joleon Lescott 30 yards from goal in a central position. Martijn Reuser, who had been on the field only for four minutes, curled the free-kick to the far post. Up jumped Richard Naylor, who was introduced only two minutes earlier, to head home.


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Town manager Joe Royle has made some telling substitutions since he has been at Portman Road but it was amazing that all three should have been involved in such an important goal.

In the very last minute of time added on Ipswich almost grabbed a winner in identical fashion. Bowditch was again fouled by Lescott in much the same position. This time Reuser tried to score with a more powerful free-kick but his effort was blocked.

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Ipswich looked like being annihilated throughout the first half when Wolves enjoyed almost all the play but wasted great chances, the best of which fell to Mark Kennedy.

Ipswich were thankful for the brave efforts of central defenders Thomas Gaardsoe and Matt Holland before the interval while Andy Marshall once again looked supremely confident in goal.

Gaardsoe and Tommy Miller both lived dangerously after a booking but the second half was really a triumph for the Ipswich teenagers.

The skilful Bowditch, the speedy Darren Bent and Matt Richards all came through the test with immense credit while Darren Ambrose battled well although he was probably still feeling the effects of the battering he received from Craig Fleming at Norwich on Sunday.

Wolves were a vastly superior side to the Canaries so it was a great performance by Town to come away with a point that keeps their slender play-off hopes alive.

If Ipswich can bounce back with victories over Stoke City, Crystal Palace and Sheffield Wednesday they will breathing down the necks of the challengers for places in the top six.

Wolves earned the first corner when Richards was under pressure. Then Fabian Wilnis made a crucial headed interception to cut out a cross from Denis Irwin that was aimed at Kennedy at the far post.

The first Ipswich move of note was started by Richards. It involved Bent and Jim Magilton but quickly fizzled out. In the sixth minute Tommy Miller was booked for a late challenge on Lee Naylor and it was clear that Ipswich were facing confident -looking opponents.

Irwin brought down Richards, who seemed to be enjoying the big stage, but Town were finding it hard to show fluency.

Gaardsoe checked a run by Kenny Miller and in the 12th minute Holland kept cool in his own penalty area to stop Newton, who had been put through by the adventurous Irwin.

Wilnis, who scored the opening goal at Norwich on Sunday, cracked an angled drive into the side netting but it was almost impossible to score from his position near the byline.

Wolves went close in the 16th minute when Irwin sent Kenny Miller chasing down the right. His cross led to a challenge between Holland and Nathan Blake in the penalty area. The Town skipper won the day.

Wolves seemed to be growing in strength and Kennedy provided Kenny Miller with a through ball but Makin cut out the threat at the expense of a corner. There was another dangerous Wolves raid after 21 minutes. Kenny Miller sent Kennedy through on the left and he fired across the face of goal as Marshall narrowed the angle.

Then Kennedy had an angled cross deflected into the side netting. It was Richards who cleared after a bout of heading pinball in the Ipswich penalty area.

Ambrose caught Ince with a late challenge but the ex-England player took it sportingly.

Holland and Blake had another tussle, this time just outside the penalty area. It left the Wolves striker on the ground appealing in vain.

Marshall did well to dive to cut out a cross from Newton and then Kenny Miller fired left-footed and only just wide. Home fans were up in arms when a rugged challenge by Gaardsoe left Blake on the ground in need of treatment, but the referee saw nothing wrong with it.

Too many Ipswich passes were being intercepted with the result that they seldom threatened the Wolves goal. When Gaardsoe stopped Kenny Miller in his tracks in the 37th minute the referee again sided with Ipswich. Kenny Miller chased the official 30 yards to protest but cooled down before risking a booking.

Marshall saved cleanly from Cameron after a build-up between Irwin and Newton down the right. The atmosphere was now becoming hostile with Wolves fans unsure whether Gaardsoe or the referee was their biggest villain.

Kennedy missed a golden chance in the 40th minute when put clean through down the left by Newton. Marshall left his line but Kennedy's finish was woeful as he fired high over the bar.

A last-ditch sliding interception by Makin prevented Blake from getting in a shot but the Ipswich defence held out until the interval by the skin of their teeth.

Bowditch replaced Magilton at the interval but within a minute Kennedy had crossed with no Wolves player able to take advantage.

In the 48th minute Ince opened the scoring when he fired home right-footed from 15 yards after Newton had set him up. Lee Naylor had to change the point of attack with a crossfield ball to Irwin, who sent Newton on his way to make the cross.

In the 55th minute Marshall saved well from Kennedy after Newton had crossed from the left.

Paul Butler headed back across the face of the Ipswich goal from a corner by Kennedy but by this stage one had the feeling that Wolves had taken their foot off the pedal.

On the hour Bowditch and Richards raided down the left. The ball was scrambled clear as far as Holland, who tested Matt Murray with a low drive which he held.

Then Ambrose dribbled deep into the Wolves penalty area. He tried to chip the ball back over Murray's head but the keeper managed to stretch high to hold it.

Wolves tried Adam Proudlock in place of Blake but Ipswich were coming far more into the game. Wilnis beat Lee Naylor but his cross was too deep. Then the Dutchman drove another dangerous ball into the goalmouth that Murray intercepted.

There was a lecture for Ince and Tommy Miller after a sudden flare-up. This must have been a tense moment for the Ipswich player, who had already been booked.

Gaardsoe was shown the yellow card in the 70th minute for a foul on Ince that led to protests from the Wolves players.

Ipswich were growing in confidence and Butler headed behind for a corner to cut out a cross from Bent who had used his pace to go clear on the right. Kenny Miller almost intercepted a headed back-pass by Makin but it was to be his final contribution as he was replaced by Dean Sturridge. At the same time Reuser took over from Ambrose.

An exciting run by Newton was stopped by Gaardsoe and with eight minutes to go Ipswich gambled on all-out attack by introducing Richard Naylor. The plan worked to perfection.

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