Following defeat midweek to Middlesbrough, Jackett brought Scott Golbourne back into the defence and Edwards came into the midfield alongside McDonald.
In truth, it was a poor game of football. Neither team seemed able to string three passes together and dictate the play. The game was scrappy and in hindsight, it wasn’t the best choice to be broadcast live on Sky.
A large amount of the scrappiness was down to Ipswich’s style of play. Mick McCarthy has made them a hard team to beat and it’s easy to see why. With lots of physicality throughout the team, Ipswich also had a number of players who chased everything and could slow down play with little fouls.
Wolves struggled to cope with The Tractor Boys’ strength, with Batth struggling to win headers against Darryl Murphy while Afobe was having no luck against the centre halves.
Ipswich’s physicality effectively forced their goal with Tommy Smith pressuring Richard Stearman who headed the ball into his own net from an Ipswich corner.
Wolves looked out of ideas throughout the first half and struggled to muster any real chances. Nouha Dicko looked like the only player who was giving his all for the cause. His direct style, hold up play and close control made him a constant menace for Smith and Berra.
The only chance Wolves had in the first half was from a dipping volley by Dave Edwards that was very well saved.
It was clear the Jackett had delivered some very strong words at half time as Wolves came storming out the blocks in the second half. After Dicko had a glorious chance to equalise, Wolves found a leveller through Benik Afobe. Following good work by McDonald and Van La Parra, the Dutchman’s deflected shot found its way to Afobe at the far post, who had a simple tap in from three yards for his 31st of the season.
Wolves did continue to push for the next ten minutes when they had momentum in their favour but couldn’t create any more meaningful opportunities. Ipswich helm firm and very much settled for a point, seeing out the game with very minimal fuss by the end.
Wolves did improve second half in fairness. Kevin McDonald had a solid game and Iorfa and Golbourne had very good games from fullback. Bakary Sako was unfortunately anonymous for most of the game who, according to rumours, is in contract negotiations with numerous clubs.
I try not to slate referees too often, as it is a tough job, but Stuart Atwelll had a poor game. His refusal to caution any players in the first half an hour made it seem like the pressure of the match being live on television had got to him. Atwell’s decision on several occasions to not enforce the advantage rule made the game even more stop-start as Wolves struggled to find any rhythm to their play. Having not set off Jay Tabb in the first half for his crunching tackle on Dicko; Atwell will no doubt be added to the long list of official not wanted down Molineux again.
Other results went our way so Wolves are now 3 points off the playoffs with two games left to play. With Wolves inferior goal difference, the boys in Gold and black will need big wins against Wigan and Millwall and for Derby and Ipswich to have poor results. It is a tough ask, but stranger things have happened in football.
images via www.twitter.com/afobe_ and www.mirror.com