Ipswich Town 0
Wolves 2 (Smith-og 68, Doumbia 77)
After a tepid opening 45 minutes, the second half of Wolves’ game at Ipswich was a totally different affair as a Tommy Smith own goal and a fine strike from Tongo Doumbia gave the visitors their first away victory of the campaign coupled with a first clean sheet.
Ståle Solbakken made three changes to his starting line-up with Dave Edwards, Razak Boukari and Björn Sigurdarson coming in for Doumbia, Slawomir Peszko and Sylvan Ebanks-Blake who were all named as substitutes.
Backed by around 600 travelling supporters Wolves kicked-off attacking the North Stand end of Portman Road. Paul Taylor got in the first attempt of the game but he was both high and wide with his long distance shot.
Carl Ikeme had to punch clear a free kick fired in from the left by Lee Martin, and Christophe Berra blocked from Guirane N’Daw as Ipswich made the early running.
Berra swung and failed to connect with Bakary Sako’s eighth minute corner before a passage of play in which both teams made forward thrusts without looking too convincing with the final ball.
Another Sako corner was cleared before the crowd amused themselves as a steward and member of the groundstaff struggled to replace a corner flag that had been knocked over. When they finally succeeded, there was a rousing cheer – the loudest of the evening!
Ikeme had to dive to claim an inswinging free-kick from Martin and then Boukari was narrowly wide with a low shot on the turn as the game finally showed signs of starting to warm up.
As Stephen Ward went down after taking a knock, Martin broke clear with the best chance of the game up to that point. He sprinted between Roger Johnson and Berra and had just got Ikeme to beat but the keeper blocked brilliantly at the expense of an unproductive corner.
Two minutes before the break Michael Chopra broke on the right of the area and he delivered a low cross that Martin hit straight at Ikeme from eight yards out.
Home appeals for a penalty when Berra and Taylor tangled on the edge of the area were ignored by the referee.
In stoppage time Sako met a Boukari cross with a side foot volley that home keeper Scott Loach pushed out for a defender to complete the clearance.
Half-Time: Town 0 Wolves 0
Wolves had every man back in their own area for Martin’s 49th minute corner from which the ball was scrambled away.
A foul by Edwards almost led to Ipswich taking the lead with the Molineux midfielder saving the day. Aaron Cresswell lofted a free-kick into the box and the ball hit Chopra, who knew little about it, and was looping towards the net until Edwards performed a superb goal-line clearance hooking the ball out.
However, it only went as far as Daryl Murphy who looked odds on to score but he fired wide of the mark from close range.
On 59 minutes there was an opportunity for Sigurdarson from Boukari’s low cross but the striker shot wide. Then there were two chances for Kevin Doyle with his first effort, a ground shot from 22-yards, forcing a fine save from Roach who dived full length to turn the ball aside.
Doyle was even closer on 62 minutes when he drove against the post from just inside the area after Edwards headed Boukari’s cross into his path.
Midway through the half Wolves made a double switch with Ebanks-Blake and Doumbia replacing Sigurdarson and Karl Henry respectively.
Martin slid in and fired over the bar after a cross from Jason Scotland just before Wolves moved into a 68th minute lead. Doumbia was fouled to the left of the Ipswich box and Sako’s free-kick was turned into his own net by Smith at the far post. Smith appeared to slip as he attempted to clear and the ball went in off his hands as he fell.
Within a minute Massimo Luongo had the chance of an instant response but, with a clear sight of goal as he ran into the area, he blasted the ball wide.
There was another chance for the Suffolk side when Martin nodded down a deep cross to the feet of Smith who spurned the chance of redemption when he blazed the ball high over the bar from close quarters.
Seconds later, in the 77th moinute, Wolves doubled their advantage as Doumbia picked the ball up 25-yards out and drilled a low shot past Loach into the corner of the net.
Dounmbia then went into the book after catching Luongo with a late challenge, before Georg Margreitter became the final change for the visitors when he replaced the industrious Doyle.
Ipswich’s final chance of the night fell to Scotland who had been played in buy N’Daw. But the substitute wasted the opportunity by hurriedly shooting over the bar.
Town: Loach, Creswell, Chambers, C. Edwards (capt), N’Daw (Drury 81), Chopra, Martin, Luongo, Smith, Taylor (Scotland 53), Murphy (Emmanuel-Thomas 71).
Unused subs: Lee-Barrett, Hyam, Ainsley, Wright.
Booking: Chopra (85 – diving).
Wolves: Ikeme, Stearman, Ward, D. Edwards, Berra, Johnson, Sako, Henry (capt) (Doumbia 66), Sigurdarson (Ebanks-Blake 66), Doyle (Margreitter 80), Boukari.
Unused subs: De Vries, Peszko, Hunt, Foley.
Booking: Doumbia (80 – foul).
Referee: G. Scott.