Ipswich 0-1 Wolves: Matt Doherty's header extends leaders' advantage
By PA Sport
Last Updated: 27/01/18 7:09pm
Sky Bet Championship leaders Wolves moved 12 points clear at the top of the table after Matt Doherty's goal was enough to secure victory at Ipswich.
Doherty's 15th-minute header was enough to clinch the points for the high-flying visitors in a high-energy encounter at Portman Road.
The leaders pressed straight from kick-off and Helder Costa was brought down by Jonas Knudsen, but the resulting free-kick was charged down.
Ipswich's Callum Connolly tested visiting goalkeeper John Ruddy from 25 yards in the 11th minute, before Martyn Waghorn then tried his luck with an audacious lob after the ball fell to him, but the Wolves keeper easily gathered.
Nuno Espirito Santo's side took the lead on the quarter-hour mark after a slick move down the left led to Barry Douglas crossing for Doherty to head home at the far post.
Home midfielder Stephen Gleeson was then booked for a foul on Ruben Neves, with the free-kick that followed from Douglas well saved by Bialkowski.
Bialkowski, who signed a new three-year deal with the Tractor Boys this week, made another good low stop from Diogo Jota soon after as Wolves broke quickly.
Bersant Celina went close to a leveller in the 33rd minute when he fired across the face of the goal after a short corner routine and David McGoldrick's long-range effort was tipped over by Ruddy just before half-time as the home side sought a way back into the game.
Jota brought two smart saves from Bialkowski as the visitors looked to extend their lead after the break and the hosts were carved open just before the hour mark by a flowing Wolves move, but Jota's pass went behind Costa in the box.
Bialkowski was brought into action again in the 68th minute when he rushed out to save at the feet of Costa, before he excellently denied Bonatini and kept out substitute Bright Enobakhare's dipping volley.
McGoldrick curled an effort straight at Ruddy late on as the hosts continued to search for an equaliser and though the Wolves keeper failed to claim a cross in stoppage time, Ipswich were unable to force the ball home.
Mick McCarthy: "I'm always disappointed when we lose of course, but I can't really argue with the result. They are a very good side but I can't argue with my lads or complain at them for the effort and application that they gave.
"Could we be better at times, quality with the ball? Yeah, but they give me and they give this club everything, every week, so I'll settle for that.
"They make it very hard, it's a bit of parasite football, they can feed on our mistakes and I don't blame them for it - they're very good at it and when they break, they've got quality."
Nuno Espirito Santo: "I'm happy with the performance that the boys put in. Very pleased with the way they were organised, stuck together, had good defensive organisation and that allowed us to go out and create a lot of chances.
"I don't look at the league table, I look game by game. It was important for us but the next game is in our minds now. We have to realise where we are and be happy about that but, at the same time, have this sense that we still have a long way to go."