Ipswich 1-2 Wolves: Town Fall To Final Defeat
Lee Bowyer netted his first Ipswich Town goal but it wasn't enough to stop Wolverhampton Wanderers leaving Portman Road with a 2-1 win in Blues' last match of the pre-season campaign.
Perhaps with one eye on picking a lineup for next Saturday's Championship opener against Bristol City, Paul Jewell named a strong starting XI with six of his new signings included. David Stockdale, Aaron Cresswell, Ivar Ingimarsson, Lee Bowyer, Jay Emmanuel-Thomas and Michael Chopra all took their places in a 4-5-1 lineup, with Grant Leadbitter again chosen as captain. Wolves' starting lineup looked comparatively under strength, with regulars such as Kevin Doyle, Christophe Berra, Karl Henry and Stephen Hunt on the bench, as was rumoured Town target Richard Stearman.
Wolves keeper Dorus De Vries was called upon to claim a dangerous ball from Chopra and Ingimarsson headed wide from Lee Martin's cross as the Blues started brightly. Adam Hammill sent the first shot for the visitors straight to Stockdale on 20 minutes before the on-loan Fulham keeper was called upon twice to deny Sylvan Ebanks-Blake and Ronald Zubr in quick succession from a Wolves corner.
Martin fired narrowly wide from Emmanuel-Thomas' pass on 35 minutes, but the Blues were able to find an opener just before the break. Chopra skipped over Martin's pass from the left to allow the onrushing Lee Bowyer to power home his first goal for the club since signing from Birmingham City.
Town were worthy of their first half lead and had no plans to merely sit on it in the second half. Leadbitter curled a free kick just wide before Bowyer came agonisingly close to a spectacular second on 57 minutes, lobbing De Vries from 40 yards only to see his effort come back off the inside of the post with Chopra hitting wide on the rebound.
Wolves boss Mick McCarthy responded by bringing on George Elokobi, Michael Kightly and Hunt in place of Zubar, Leigh Griffiths and Andy Keogh, Stearman joining the action soon after. With Chopra missing the chance to double Town's lead, Nenad Milijas tested Stockdale before the Ipswich keeper was beaten in unfortunate circumstances, substitute Stephen Hunt's volley taking a deflection off Ebanks-Blake to send Stockdale the wrong way and make it 1-1 with 76 minutes played.
Jewell made sweeping changes for the final quarter of an hour with Jason Scotland and Nathan Ellington replacing Martin and Chopra before Andy Drury, Luke Hyam and Colin Healy all joined the action. The substitutions proved somewhat disruptive however as Wolves started to get on top of the game, Kightly and Stephen Fletcher missing opportunities as the game drew towards its conclusion.
There was still time however for the Premier League side to grab a controversial winner on 84 minutes. Sylvan Ebanks-Blake went to ground in the box under pressure from Carlos Edwards, and despite little appeal from the Wolves frontman himself, referee Darren Deadman decided to award the penalty which the striker duly converted.
So Ipswich's pre-season schedule finishes with a defeat - their only loss of the campaign - but they will feel hard done by with the manner in which this game was turned on its head late on, despite fading in the second half against their top flight opponents. However, Blues manager Jewell said he was satisfied with the performance and is looking for further new additions ahead of Town's opening match of the new Championship season at Bristol City on 6 August (KO 15:00).
Ipswich: Stockdale, Edwards, Cresswell, Ingimarsson, Delaney, Leadbitter (Drury 79), Kennedy (Hyam 79), Bowyer (Healy 79), Emmanuel-Thomas (Carson 70), Chopra (Ellington 75), Martin (Scotland 75) - Not used: Fulop, Priskin, Smith
Wolves: De Vries, Foley (Stearman 75), Ward (Berra 82), Davis (Elokobi 60), Zubar (O'Hara 75), Craddock (Johnson 82), Hammill (Fletcher 71), Milijaś (Henry 71), Ebanks-Blake, Keogh (Kightly (60), Griffiths (Hunt 60) - Not used: Hennessey, Doyle
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