Ipswich continued their fantastic winning home run, with their tenth successive victory easily coming against a strong Wolves side tipped for promotion this season. Neil Alexander saved his second penalty of his career, and of the week – once again conceding it. Ipswich goals from Alan Lee, Pablo Counago and Danny Haynes.
Wolves were very lively in the opening stages of the game, not allowing Ipswich to break out of their own half. Their early dominance was rewarded when they were given a controversial penalty after Town keeper Neil Alexander was alleged to bring down Michael Kightly.
It was Fabian Wilnis’ poor backpass that led to the penalty, underhitting a pass which was intended to go about six yards. Kightly intercepted the ball but kicked it out of play for a goal-kick, but as Alexander meant to kick the ball away, his trailing leg was simply an object for Kightly to fall over.
Kightly’s ex-Grays teammate, Freddy Eastwood stepped up to hit the spot-kick, but stuttered his run-up and all but gave away the direction he was going to hit the ball, thus was a second save in a week for keeper Neil Alexander.
Wolves seemed determined to quickly make up for the miss and remained the dominant side for another five minutes. However, when Ipswich finally could put their foot on the ball it signalled the end of Wolves dominance – and any significant Neil Alexander involvement in the game as he wasn’t tested any more.
As Ipswich finally awoke, they began to play some neat passing and had their first effort on goal after Billy Clarke had been fouled; Dan Harding blasting the resulting free-kick marginally over the bar.
By the half-hour, Ipswich were clearly the dominant side as Billy Clarke, Dan Harding, Alan Lee and the impressive Pablo Counago all went close. However, Ipswich’s best chance of the half so far fell to Jon Walters after he had been played in by Alan Lee. The former Chester player hit a cross-shot when he was one-on-one with Wolves keeper, Wayne Hennessey.
Finally, the Tractor Boys made a breakthrough after Sylvain Legwinski won the ball in the middle of the park and played it to Owen Garvan who superbly passed a ball through the Wolves defence, only for Alan Lee to shrug off a defender’s challenge and finish with the outside of his foot into the top corner of the net.
It was very much a case of deja vu for Ipswich as a Neil Alexander penalty save brought the crowd and the rest of the team to life to go on to dominate.
Wolves once again started lively, but were no real threat to Ipswich who doubled their lead on 52 minutes after Jon Walters took a quick throw-in to Pablo Counago. The Spaniard then cut in from the right, twisting and turning, and round the keeper before poking the ball in the back of the net. It was his fourth goal – more significantly, his fourth home goal of the season. If only the ex-Malaga frontman could score away from home, Ipswich may be a much tougher proposition on their travels.
The second goal pretty much knocked the stuffing out of Wolves, and although the game was not over, seemed to shut up shop and stop themselves from conceding a third against an Ipswich side who were passing the ball around nicely.
In injury time, substitute Danny Haynes received the ball 25 yards out and feigned a shot before superbly turning two defenders before blasting the ball into the back of the net in front of some very happy fans in front of the North Stand.
Neil Alexander 8
Conceded the penalty but more than made up for it by saving it and inspiring the players to victory.
David Wright 8
Was in contention for man of the match with his superb running and tackling.
Dan Harding 7
Is a lot more comfortable with someone that will track back and help him out and is getting back to his best.
Jason de Vos 7
Didn’t have too much to deal with throughout the game.
Fabian Wilnis 6
Poor backpass led to the penalty decision and some wayward passing may cause Magilton into a rethink into his team selection.
Jon Walters 8
His clever play set up Counago’s goal and one his aerial battle with the left-back.
Billy Clarke 8
Fantastic tackling both in defence and further up the pitch and was very energetic.
Owen Garvan 8
Once again, fantastic passing and creativity.
Sylvain Legwinski 8
Perfect partner to Garvan in midfield as he is not afraid to put the boot in – displayed this throughout the game to ensure Town dominated in the middle of the park.
Alan Lee 8
Fantastic running with the ball and brilliant goal.
Pablo Counago 9
Man of the match.
Sub – Gary Roberts 7
Creative and determined to show the Town fans what he can do.
Sub – Danny Haynes 8
Scored a fantastic goal and looked to show boss Magilton that he deserves a slot in the team for next week’s East Anglian derby.
Not enough time to make an impact.
For the second time in a week, a referee was conned into giving a penalty against the home side at Portman Road. However, his decision didn’t cost the deserving side and shoud be satisfied with his overall performance.
Very impressive home win against a much-fancied side will do wonders for the players going into next weeks derby. Now all is needed is to replicate this home form into away matches.