Town 1-1 Wolverhampton Wanderers - Half-Time
Saturday, 21st Nov 2015 15:59
Jonathan Douglas put the Blues ahead in the 16th minute but James Henry equalised for Wolves against the run of play seven minutes before the break.
Boss Mick McCarthy named an unchanged side against his old club with central defender Christophe Berra facing his former side.
For Wolves, one-time Town loanee Jordan Graham was handed his debut wide on the left of midfield.
Prior to kick-off there was an immaculately observed minute’s silence for former Blues keeper Márton Fülöp, who died aged 32 just over a week ago following a long battle with cancer, and the victims of the Paris attacks.
Cole Skuse struck the game’s first shot of the game well over in the second minute after good work down the left involving Freddie Sears.
There was a scare for the Blues a minute later when Wolves striker Benik Afobe was first to Dominic Iorfa’s ball over the top but stumbled as he took it down and Tommy Smith got back to challenge before Dean Gerken claimed.
Wolves threatened again in the 10th minute when Iorfa made a powerful run into the area but Berra got across to block his shot. The loose ball fell to Graham on the left of the area and Gerken grabbed his shot after a deflection.
James Henry picked up the game’s first yellow card a minute later for a foul on Jonas Knudsen on the Blues’ left but the freekick came to nothing and Wolves broke, Graham sending over a dangerous low cross which Skuse did very well to divert over ahead of Jack Price.
Despite the visitors having had the better of the early chances, the Blues went in front on 16.
A move which started in the centre circle ended with Sears feeding Knudsen on the overlap to his left. The Dane sent over a low cross which Daryl Murphy allowed to pass behind him to Jonathan Douglas, who deftly curled into the corner of the net with the outside of his right boot. It was the Irishman’s second goal in two games and his first at Portman Road.
Brett Pitman wasn’t far away from making it 2-0 on 18 when he blocked Carl Ikeme’s kick and the ball looped not too far wide of goal.
As the clock ticked over to 21 Portman Road burst into applause in tribute to Fülöp - 21 was his Town squad number - with the Sir Bobby Robson Stand chanting ‘One Márton Fülöp’.
Having got their noses in front the Blues were looking the more threatening side and on 26 Pitman was inches away from making it 2-0 when he headed Sears’s cross from the left just past Ikeme’s left post.
Pitman went even closer on 32, albeit unintentionally, when a cross from deep on the right looped over Ikeme and bounced off the top of the bar and over.
Three minutes later, a sweeping Town move ended with Sears playing a low ball across the six-yard box from the right but no one was able to add the final touch. Soon after, the former Colchester striker scuffed an effort from distance wide.
The Blues had been well on top having taken the lead but seven minutes before the break the visitors got back on terms.
Graham sent over a corner from the left to the far post, on-loan Newcastle man Mike Williamson stabbed back across the area and James Henry - a Town target during Paul Jewell’s time in charge - turned home from a couple of feet.
Three minutes before the break Smith headed Kevin Bru’s right-sided corner powerfully goalwards but straight at Ikeme. As the half moved into its final scheduled minute, skipper Luke Chambers headed a cross from the left but also to the keeper.
Town will feel they ought to have been ahead at the break after an impressive first half performance.
Having gone in front via a well-worked goal the Blues played some of their best football of the season, keeping possession confidently, passing the ball fluently and carving out one or two chances to increase their lead.
The Wolves equaliser came very much against the run of play and was a very poor goal to concede from a Town perspective.
However, if the Blues play as well in the second half as they have in the first - and avoid a making a similar error at the back - then they should secure their third successive win.
Town: Gerken, Chambers (c), Smith, Berra, Knudsen, Skuse, Bru, Douglas, Sears, Murphy. Pitman. Subs: Bialkowski, Malarczyk, Parr, Maitland-Niles, Coke, Oar, Touré.
Wolves: Ikeme, Iorfa, Batth (c), Williamson, Golbourne, McDonald, Price, Henry, Edwards, Graham, Afobe. Subs: Flatt, Doherty, Coady, Ojo, Byrne, Holt, Le Fondre. Referee: Gavin Ward (Surrey).
Photo: Action Images
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