Wolves 1-0 Ipswich: Nuno Espirito Santo's side extend lead at top of table
By Press Association
Last Updated: 23/12/17 7:11pm
Wolves strengthened their position at the top of the Sky Bet Championship as Ivan Cavaleiro's first-half strike earned them a 1-0 win against Ipswich at Molineux.
Cavaleiro struck in the 40th minute as Wolves secured their eighth win in nine games, in the process ending Ipswich manager Mick McCarthy's 13-match unbeaten record against his former club.
A slow start by Wolves saw them come perilously close to falling behind in the 18th minute only to be saved by the nifty footwork of goalkeeper John Ruddy.
Ruddy played a short goal kick to Conor Coady but the Wolves captain played the ball straight back to him at pace and it needed some smart control by Ruddy to prevent the ball fizzing straight past him and into the net.
Wolves initially struggled to find their fluency against a well-drilled Ipswich and it needed a mix-up in the Town defence to present them with their first opportunity of the match, when Diogo Jota latched on to a loose ball only to see his shot saved by Bartosz Bialkowski after 26 minutes.
Jota was frustrated again eight minutes later after a superb through-ball from Willy Boly caught the Ipswich backline flat-footed. Jota looked certain to score at the near post only to be denied by a last-gasp challenge from Myles Kenlock, who made up ground to block his shot.
Wolves did not have to wait much longer to make their growing pressure pay and Jota was again involved - this time as the creator.
His right-wing cross flew across the face of the area. Ipswich had the chance to clear it but Callum Connolly failed to do so and the free ball was collected by Cavaleiro, who beat Bialkowski with a low drive from the edge of the area.
Cavaleiro then threatened to double Wolves' advantage at the start of the second half but a last-ditch challenge from Adam Webster frustrated him.
That escape sparked Ipswich into their first real attacking flurry of the game, Martyn Waghorn saw his low 58th-minute shot flash wide after neat work by Bersant Celina before Kevin Bru's deft chip was comfortably dealt with by Ruddy two minutes later.
But it was Wolves who carried the consistent threat and they were inches away from making the game same in the 83rd minute when Helder Costa's spectacular volley flew narrowly over the bar. Barry Douglas then saw his free-kick drift agonisingly wide as Wolves finished the game in dominant fashion.
Nuno: "We don't look at the table. We look at how we want to continue and proceed and be persistent in our work. This is what we look at.
"It is a good moment for us so let's enjoy it. We are playing well, we are having good results, the team is growing the players still have space to grow and get better."
Mick McCarthy: "We blinked after 40 minutes again. It was a really good finish but us giving them the opportunity was not what I would expect from my team.
"Wolves are a very good side and what impresses me about them most is that they do get 1-0 wins. It doesn't have to be fours and fives all the time with the players that they have got. They scrap it out as well. I am happy enough with the performance, I'm just disappointed with the result."