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Town 2-2 Wolverhampton Wanderers - Match Report
Saturday, 21st Nov 2015 17:11

Jonathan Douglas and Daryl Murphy put Blues in front in either half but Wolves equalised twice via James Henry and Benik Afobe in a 2-2 draw at Portman Road. Douglas opened the scoring in the 16th minute, Henry levelled seven minutes before the break, prior to Murphy regaining Town’s lead on 54, but Afobe hit back with a header 15 minutes from time.

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 effort 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 a feet feet 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.

Six minutes after the restart Murphy hit the first shot of the second half from the edge of the box, the ball deflecting wide for a corner.

Town regained their lead in the 54th minute. Skuse played in Pitman on the right of the area and, as keeper Ikeme came off his line expecting the former Bournemouth man to go for goal, he slid the ball over him but across to Murphy, who nodded in his fourth goal of the season from close range.

Ikeme - in the side as a replacement for the injured Emiliano Martinez - suffered an knock in attempting to get back into his ground but after treatment was OK to carry on.

After Graham had shot over from a promising position on the left of the area, Wolves switched Dave Edwards for Adam Le Fondre on 65 with the visitors.

A minute later Skuse won the ball midway inside the Wolves half before finding Sears, who exchanged passes with Pitman, but the return was just too strong for the one-time West Ham trainee.

Town continued to look the more dangerous side, Murphy sending over another cross from the left on 68 but again beyond his team-mates. Soon after Bru was switched for Ainsley Maitland-Niles, the Mauritius international receiving warm applause as he left the field.

Graham looped a freekick from a dangerous position on the right over in the 71st minute with the visitors beginning to have more of the ball in the Town half.

And in the 75th minute they got back on terms. Le Fondre sent over a cross from the right and Afobe planted an unchallenged header past Gerken from a five yards.

The visitors, who had started to get more into the game before the goal although without looking too much of a threat, went close again a minute after scoring, Le Fondre just failing to reach Henry’s cross from the right.

Maitland-Niles went close to making it 3-2 on 79, the on-loan Arsenal man flicking a header from Sears’s cross just wide. At the other end, Henry shot well over after good work on the edge of the box from Le Fondre.

As the game moved into its final scheduled 10 minutes Wolves were looking much more dangerous than earlier in the game. On 82 Le Fondre hit a shot straight at Gerken.

Two minutes later, Sears and Murphy carved out a chance for Douglas inside the area but Ikeme plucked the Irishman’s shot out of the air.

Kevin McDonald blazed over in the 87th minute with the visitors creating most of the better late chances. Two minutes later, Ikeme did well to punch away Sears’s cross ahead of Murphy and Chambers.

As the game moved into four minutes of injury time Skuse saw a powerful effort blocked, then Douglas hit a strike which deflected through to Ikeme.

In injury time Chambers was yellow-carded for a foul on Ojo, then Le Fondre was joined him in the book for a cynical trip on Sears as Town broke. Town were unable to make anything of the freekick and soon after referee Gavin Ward blew his final whistle.

Town will feel they have dropped two points having been on top and comfortable twice in the game before conceding two bad goals.

Having put in one of their best performances of the season in the first half, the Blues weren’t quite so impressive after the break, however, once Pitman had superbly created Murphy’s goal they should have gone on to claim all three points but allowed the game to drift and Wolves to get back on terms for a second time.

Town remain 10th in the table - now only three points off the play-offs - ahead of next Saturday’s trip to Charlton, who climbed to fifth-bottom after a 1-0 away win at Birmingham.

Town: Gerken, Chambers (c), Smith, Berra, Knudsen, Skuse, Bru (Maitland-Niles 69), Douglas, Sears, Murphy. Pitman. Unused: Bialkowski, Malarczyk, Parr, Coke, Oar, Touré.

Wolves: Ikeme, Iorfa, Batth (c), Williamson, Golbourne, McDonald, Price, Henry, Edwards (Le Fondre 65), Graham (Ojo 78), Afobe. Unused: Flatt, Doherty, Coady, Byrne, Holt. Referee: Gavin Ward (Surrey). Att: 19,227 (Wolves: 996).

Photo: Action Images

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blue75 added 17:21 - Nov 21
Can't wait to hear the same crap from MM.

prebbs007 added 17:22 - Nov 21
Same cr&p Play well lead twice only draw due to sh1t back 5 again !!!! MM out !!!! How much more evidence do you need mr stubborn??? That back 5 has proved all season it's not good enough. You can't score 2 at home and not win !!!! Beat worst 2 teams in division can't beat damn average wolves. C ya !!!!

battyblue added 17:28 - Nov 21
One point better than one..........but nothing has changed still cant defend and still have a weak goalkeeper

pumpee added 17:32 - Nov 21
Another schoolboy error from Smith for the 1st goal! It's basic defending!

Keaneish added 17:34 - Nov 21
Ugh. Here we go. The circus starts prompted by nonsense posts from clowns.

Should have gone for the jugular today. Excellent first half but two extremely soft goals. Wolves will make a top 8 finish I reckon but a disappointing point all in all. Think Freddie deserves a mention today. He actually was 'different class'. Parr for Knudsen for me against Charlton.

Lost my bet to Bluefeast today.

TimmyH added 17:37 - Nov 21
Disappointing result in my opinion but not really surprising. Wolves not quite the team of last season and lets face it neither are we. Too many home draws against teams we would have beaten last season and lets be honest our defense really is not up to a team vying for at least the play-offs.

I pray for a 'busy' January transfer window in which we badly need some quality in certain areas but we know what this clubs modus operandi is - and that is spend little and hope the manager can get as much out of the players as possible. I can't help thinking mid-table mediocrity will be the tale of this season.

TimmyH added 17:37 - Nov 21
Disappointing result in my opinion but not really surprising. Wolves not quite the team of last season and lets face it neither are we. Too many home draws against teams we would have beaten last season and lets be honest our defense really is not up to a team vying for at least the play-offs.

I pray for a 'busy' January transfer window in which we badly need some quality in certain areas but we know what this clubs modus operandi is - and that is spend little and hope the manager can get as much out of the players as possible. I can't help thinking mid-table mediocrity will be the tale of this season.

TimmyH added 17:37 - Nov 21
Disappointing result in my opinion but not really surprising. Wolves not quite the team of last season and lets face it neither are we. Too many home draws against teams we would have beaten last season and lets be honest our defense really is not up to a team vying for at least the play-offs.

I pray for a 'busy' January transfer window in which we badly need some quality in certain areas but we know what this clubs modus operandi is - and that is spend little and hope the manager can get as much out of the players as possible. I can't help thinking mid-table mediocrity will be the tale of this season.

TimmyH added 17:43 - Nov 21
Sorry about the posts - I just wish we had a hat-trick of wins today, but that was asking for too much. :)

runaround added 17:46 - Nov 21
Very frustrating to drop 2 points in a game we should have won but could have even ended up losing. We were undone by 2 decent balls into the box but the crosses should not have been allowed in so easy in the first place & then Gerken & the defence should have dealt with them better. It's a real shame as apart from that we played well & our attacking play was deserving of 3 points with Douglas excellent. The subbing of Bru seemed to lessen our potency somewhat & Knudsen was poor.
We seem so close but will not challenge for promotion until we stop gifting goals & failing to press home our advantage

therein61 added 17:47 - Nov 21
Well done all of us in the stadium for the before k.o minutes silence and on 21 mins the applause for Marton Fulop which was quite emotional, now back to the game Mick(great point that they are a good team very dangerous!!) all I want for Christmas is a fully balanced back 5 which inspires confidence through the rest of the side otherwise it's mid table at best ! why can you not see the bloody obvious that the opposition can who turn our two left footers in the middle inside out and the skipper at right back who turns slower than the horse on the badge(mind you he's good at pointing his finger at someone else when he cock's up and a goal follows) resulting in us being opened up at will and conceding goals, for Gods sake take your blinkers off!!!!!!

EssexTractor added 17:52 - Nov 21
An odd game,apparently we were in the ascendancy and Gerken not tested until he had to be and that was so disappointing. He can make instinctive saves but he doesn't command his box. We have a goalkeeping coach so is he or Gerken or both not up to the mark? Sadly Smith who had been aerially dominant for 30 minutes had the inconvenience of having to use his right foot when under a degree of pressure, hence a corner and thereafter Gerkens inability to soar. Dean you can use your hands!
These soft moments nullified the spirited sprinting of Sears in the first half and the maybe surprisingly good influence of Douglas showing why he had been an important part of Warburtons Brentford.
We do need to stamp our authority at home when we are in the ascendancy but despite their own averageness Wolves must have considered their journey would not be pointless when in truth their own defence took no pounding as it should have done when we took a 2.1 lead.
Not gloomy overall but certainly way short of a club endeavouring to escape from the grip the Football Championship has upon us.


Notts_tractor added 17:56 - Nov 21
I'm currently reading David Peace's book about Bill Shankly. It's a fascinating insight into the mind and methods of one of the greatest ever football managers. One of the things which emerges about the man is that he didn't have favourites, and if someone was not performing he would be absolutely ruthless in replacing them. The big difference with our current situation is that the Liverpool board backed up their faith in Shankly with funds to buy better players. All we ask is for players to be played in their strongest positions.

Surco72 added 17:59 - Nov 21
Entertaining championship game in difficult conditions by two mid table average sides .
MM stated we can add no better than what we have in week so this is where we will finish mid table . We have top of the league forwards and bottom of the league defenders as a back 5 who constantly make the same defensive errors but will never be changed . It's going to be a long average season unless MM faces that however much he tells us they are good they will cost us and changes it . I won't hold my breath

sidtheswan added 18:00 - Nov 21
Two sloppy goals again to give away and in the end got what we deserved . Quite like Douglas/Skuse in central midfield but today Bru was poor and until MM plays a balanced back four and puts Bart in goal nothing will change. We do have a stronger squad but MM plays his favourites and nobody else gets a look in . Also the division is a lot stronger and mid table looks good unless anything changes drastically in the transfer window or MM makes a New Years resolution to stop being so stubborn. Finally it was windy today try playing football not hoofball !

bluefeast added 18:08 - Nov 21
Keanish I'm not happy to win the bet i wished your 13 from 15 was correct i really do. So now we need to decide the players charity. Wait until the 5 games are up ? There are a few contenders.

pinewoodblueboy added 18:10 - Nov 21
Very frustrated at our defending again today, Knudson & Chambers exposed by pace, Gerken rooted to his line & poor marking by our centre backs for the 2nd equaliser. Saying that, our attacking play was at times really good, & entertaining to watch in atrocious conditions. Wolves looked shaky at the back & at 2-1 we should have gone on to a comfortable win. These defensive frailties will be our undoing this season unless it is addressed and against better opposition will be ruthlessly exploited.
On another note ITFC. Sort out the bloody catering, understaffed, no hot food, dreadful coffee etc.........will soon need to queue up before kick off to get a drink at half time.

Jimmy86 added 18:10 - Nov 21
We did play some good football at times and looked more fluid in posession. Berra and Smith had Afobe in their pocket till he scored and Murphy was back to his robust best. Knudsen didn't have a great game today, but he is still adjusting to life in the championship. The 2 goals we conceded were poor from a town point of view and I think Gerken could have done more with both of them. He still doesn't command his area well enough or talk to his defenders. Wolves were there for the taking today and it's just a shame we didn't get the 3 points. Least the fat excuse of a footballer didn't get on and throw a spanner in the works.

Westy added 18:10 - Nov 21
Any genuine lover of the game, whether Ipswich, Wolves or neutral should be disappointed with that great game of football.

chepstowblue added 18:13 - Nov 21
The only plus from todays result is that the vast majority on this forum do not deserve to support a winning team,in fact I'm not sure that the vast majority on this forum deserve to own a computer. Might not be a bad idea to remain silent for 72hrs and then start posting the comments, because the sulky schoolboy rants (which are often mistaken for passion) beggar belief. Here's hoping Mick is still at the club long after some of you have decided that your hearts aren't really in it !!

Keaneish added 18:20 - Nov 21
@bluefeast - yeah let's wait until after the Charlton game. I've got these as my MoMs from the games so far but completely open for debate:

Cardiff - Berra / Smith
Bolton - Pitman
Rotherham - Murphy
Wolves - Sears

warktheline added 18:30 - Nov 21
Mentioned prior to kickoff, ourselves and Wolves are in the group trying to bridge the gap to top five, as usual the main perpetrators took this as unacceptable comment, a draw today hasn't changed my stance, especially as McCarthy persists with unbalanced defence!
Guess some of us won't have to eat humble pie this evening!

StowTractorBoy added 18:36 - Nov 21
Was beginning to think it was me who thought we were ordinary today but posts on here appear to back my thoughts up. A good game if you were neutral but two awful defences and frankly two mid table sides on todays showing. Sears was outstanding and you can't really fault our attackers as two goals at home should be enough to get us three points. Bru on the right hand side just does not work and the back five looked jittery throughout. What has happened to the MM school of defending as it can be thrown out of the window at the moment. I still have doubts about Gerken who does not inspire me with confidence as he just does not command his area. How can the Wolves second equaliser be nodded in comfortably in front of the goal from around the 6 yard box as the guy hardly had to jump. Good game yes but thoroughly dejected tonight as we have to beat teams like Wolves at home. Top five looks an impossibility at the moment and I would not put my house on top six unless we shut the gate at the back.

bluefeast added 18:36 - Nov 21
I think Pitman has had strong influence over the team in the last few games , Sears was the top man today although i prefer him central , he's our best natural finisher and has pace to find pockets of space that others lack. I can't give anything to Berra or Smith ,even though yes they were better vs Cardif than they have been in any other match this season. Douglas has been decent the last two games in my opinion. But this disjointed square peg mentality Mick has is pure blindness to our weaknesses. It seams there are 7 or 8 players who can have 10 bad games on the trot and still get selected and 4 or 5 who have one average game and are dropped. Its his squad ,his buys its up to him to manage matters better in order to gain some balance , ball retention ,press as a team etc etc ,but the current 11 cannot do that as we are so frail across back 5.

Cloddyseedbed added 19:20 - Nov 21
Same amount of ball in the air, same defensive frailties, same goalkeeper who will not command his area, for me the 1st goal should never have happened if the goalkeeper came off his line 2-3 yds to catch the ball. 2nd one seemed a simple goal to concede too. Never mind as long as the back 5 are always fit, they will always start and will never be substituted. Bru out of position, Sears out of position, Smith out of position, Chambers out of position,Maitland-Niles out of position when he came on and Gerken out of his depth. Can't see league position changing much this season. Sears ran his heart out as usual, credit to the boy, always looks dangerous. Murphy looked shot after 75 mins after International footy. Came away disappointed, anybody can beat teams at the bottom, but to move up we need to beat teams as bad as Wolves too. They were there for the taking, we looked scared to concede a 3rd!

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