since 1878

Wolverhampton Wanderers (0) 0 - 0 (0) Ipswich Town

Sky Bet Championship 2016-17

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Referee: Peter Bankes

Manager: Walter Zenga

Molineux 19:45

Attendance: 19,991 (Town 500)

Manager: Mick McCarthy

Match Number: 3664

Goals

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Substitutions

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David EdwardsGeorge Saville (46)
Jon BodvarssonHelder Costa (65)
Joao TeixeiraJed Wallace (84)

Cards

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 George Saville (75)
 Kortney Hause (20)
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 Teddy Bishop (54)
 Jonas Knudsen (72)
 Luke Chambers (82)
 Kevin Bru (90)
 Christophe Berra (90)

Teams

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Carl Ikeme

Dominic Iorfa

Danny Batth

Kortney Hause

Matt Doherty

Conor Coady

Lee Evans

David Edwards

Joe Mason

Jon Bodvarsson

Joao Teixeira

Substitutes

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Andy Lonergan

James Henry

George Saville

Helder Costa

Jack Price

Jed Wallace

Sylvain Deslandes

Match Report

Wolves 0 Ipswich 0

After the ceremonial introductions of recent weeks, this was Walter Zenga's official welcome to the Championship.

A tight, gritty, physical, muck and nettles game of football which was lacking in quality and, for long spells, goalmouth action.

The kind of game that will be played out time and again over the next nine months.

The kind of game Zenga will need to sneak 1-0 more often than not if they're to mount a promotion challenge.

They didn't quite manage that here. But, credit where it's due, they could easily have lost against a typically well-drilled Mick McCarthy team and showed good resistance.

Aside from the game's key moment - a first-half Jon Dadi Bodvarsson penalty, saved by Ipswich keeper Bartosz Bialkowski - the visitors created the better chances.

Wolves got going in the final 15 minutes, inspired by frisky substitute Helder Costa, but couldn't sneak a winner, and the spoils were shared.

Zenga's side looked, if not physically drained, then perhaps mentally so. Creativity and inspiration was in short supply after a frantic few weeks for the club - and no days off for the players.

But to extend Zenga's unbeaten run as boss to four games is a plus. And these are still very, very early days for the new head coach and his players, with new signings still to feature and more to undoubtedly be snapped up shortly.

Zenga made one change from the team that had so convincingly beaten Reading on Saturday, restoring Kortney Hause to central defence.

Dominic Iorfa returned to right back, Conor Coady moved into midfield and George Saville dropped to the bench.

Wolves started fairly brightly with Coady releasing Joe Mason with a superb pass into the box, but the striker's disappointing cross was overhit.

The Tractor Boys began to exert their authority with Danny Batth, Coady and Matt Doherty making last-ditch clearances.

In stark contrast to Reading, well-drilled, organised and compact Ipswich were dominating the midfield and Wolves were struggling to make any headway in the opposition half.

Then from nowhere Wolves were handed a golden opportunity to take the lead when Bodvarsson was taken out in the box by a rash Adam Webster tackle.

The Icelander stepped up himself to take the spot kick - but Bialkowski got down low with a firm hand to deny him.

Back came Ipswich - and they should be taken the lead themselves.

A corner was headed into the bottom corner by Daryl Murphy - but the linesman bemusingly lifted his flag for offside. Freddie Sears was stood in an offside position but didn't appear to be interfering with play.

An animated Zenga was furiously screaming instructions to his players, in particular trying to organise the back line.

But Ipswich continued to look the more likely scorers. They were just inches away on the stroke of half time when former Wolves defender Christophe Berra - who never scored for the club but has notched 12 in Ipswich colours - sent a free header whistling past Ikeme's post.

Zenga reacted - as he has done in two of his previous three games in charge - with a half time tactical change and a substitution.

On came Saville, with David Edwards withdrawn, in a new 4-2-3-1 formation which featured Teixeira behind Bodvarsson and Mason and Saville on the flanks.

Wolves began the second half in a much more positive mindset, with the new system having an immediate impact.

Teixeira, whose work rate continued to impress as much as his box of tricks, won the ball off centre half Adam Webster and curled a 20-yarder not too far past the post.

But that moment aside there was precious little to report with both sides cancelling each other out in a stalemate devoid of goalmouth action.

Bodvarsson and Teixeira, Wolves' main threats from Saturday, were being closely marked and Zenga's team sorely lacked a creative spark.

In response Zenga called for Helder Costa, who replaced Bodvarsson.

The change saw Mason head into the central striker role, and Portuguese loanee Costa to the right flank.

But Wolves' midfield woes continued. They had a let off when Grant Ward was allowed to advance from midfield and drilled a menacing shot past the post.

Then from nowhere some Costa magic almost broke the deadlock in spectacular style. A free kick looped back out to him and he fired an 18-yard left-footed volley which Bialkowski did well to palm wide.

It was the kind of inspiration Wolves had been lacking all evening in what had been a fairly drab encounter, reminiscent of the lifeless displays so often witnessed in the same stadium last season.

Costa's introduction, though, sparked Wolves into life and they looked the more likely scorers in the closing stages.

Doherty ran inside, demanded the ball from Saville, played a one-two with Mason and side-footed wide from 20 yards.

Batth bailed out Ikeme with an important clearing header after the keeper spilled a high ball.

But a late winner would have been unfair on either team, with 0-0 the appropriate result.

It means Wolves go into Saturday's big derby at St Andrew's in decent shape - unbeaten under Zenga and with Prince Oniangue and possibly Costa ready to come into the side.

Express & Star

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