LIVELY LE FONDRE TURNS THE TIDE
KENNY JACKETT and Mick McCarthy were singing from the same footballing hymn sheet after Ipswich Town and Wolves played out an entertaining draw at Portman Road.
Pleased with the performance but calling on their players to cut out the defensive mistakes was the mantra of both managers.
Jackett deserved plaudits after his decision to introduce Adam Le Fondre alongside Benik Afobe changed the complexion of the game, the two combining in the 75th minute for Wolves’ second equaliser, scored by the latter.
The Wolves boss singled out Le Fondre for praise, but also hailed the character shown by his team in what has been a stuttering Championship campaign.
Jackett said: “We deserved a point but I don’t think we deserved to win. I was very pleased with how we came from behind twice and we showed great character.
“Ipswich are a good side and this is a tough place to come – so I would have taken a point at the start.
“Adam Le Fondre did really well when he came on, both his assist for the second equaliser and his overall attitude. When we went to two up front, the game opened up and we had chances to win the game on the break.
“We need to start climbing the table but this match was a snapshot of our season.
“We need to cut out the inconsistencies in our game and iron out those certain mistakes which are costing us goals. Then when we score, like you saw here, it gives you a burst of confidence.”
It was an odd match with Ipswich taking the lead against the run of play and Wolves equalising when the home side were in the ascendancy.
Jonathan Douglas opened the scoring with a neat finish before Wolves equalised before the break thanks to James Henry’s close-range finish.
After Daryl Murphy had continued his rich return to form with a 54thminute header, a largely lifeless second half was played out as Ipswich appeared to be somewhat coasting to victory.
But the introduction of Le Fondre, after he returned to action with two goals in a behind-closed-doors friendly at Liverpool in midweek, made all the difference.
Christophe Berra and Tommy Smith, who had previously looked comfortable against Afobe, found the lively Le Fondre a constant thorn in their side.
And it was the former Reading man who turned provider when his cross was headed home by Afobe to score his eighth of the season after the striker ghosted in between two Ipswich defenders.
In a game full of twists and turns, a draw was probably just about right with Ipswich incisive going forward but defensively sloppy at times.
McCarthy’s men are just three points off sixth place but a further seven away from Burnley in fifth as the table starts to take shape.
McCarthy said: “I’m pleased with our performance but disappointed with the goals we conceded.
“We twice let them off the hook by twice allowing them to get back into the game.We played well but the mistakes makes it even more frustrating that I am sat here with one point rather than three.
“When I look back on it on Monday, I will look at the positives. We showed plenty of attacking threat but their first goal started with our attack on the edge of their area – that’s not right.We were ruthless going forward but not ruthless enough at the back.
“It was an exciting game and I am sure it was great to watch for any neutral.”
SILENCED: Wolves’ Benik Afobe celebrates while, inset, Ipswich Town’s Jonathan Douglas scores the opener