Football: FA Cup Fifth Round: Wolves stay at the door

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The Independent Online
Wolverhampton Wanderers. .1

Kelly 81

Ipswich Town. . . . . . . 1

Wark 28

Attendance: 28,234

DAVID KELLY'S instinctively dispatched late equaliser deservedly kept Wolves in the FA Cup at Molineux yesterday. The First Division side had produced by far the more purposeful football against Premiership opposition, but trailed to John Wark's first-half goal until Kelly intervened.

Mick McGiven said that his Town side were 'lucky to still be in the hat' for today's quarter-final draw. Too true. Wolves, with Chris Marsden and Darren Ferguson an influential unit in midfield and Cyrille Regis a constant distraction up front, created enough chances to pre-empt the need for a replay at Portman Road on 2 March. 'They'll have to play a bit more football at home,' Ferguson said.

A set-piece brought Ipswich an unexpected lead after 26 largely lifeless minutes enlivened only by a colourful capacity crowd who filled Molineux to its hi-tech rafters. Mike Stowell, the Wolves keeper, failed to clear Neil Thompson's left-wing corner properly, the ball dropping kindly for Wark to record his fourth goal of the season from 12 yards. 'That was one from the memory bank,' the former midfielder said.

Wark, a Cup winner with Ipswich in 1978, defended excellently with Dave Linighan as Wolves roamed forward in search of parity. Andy Thompson, Regis and Kelly all had chances before the break but the Town rearguard stood firm, leaving the crowd to wonder what sort of impact the injured Steve Bull would have made.

With Ipswich intent on sitting back and waiting cautiously before breaking forward, Wolves enjoyed the majority of play in a second half of increasingly heated tempers. Molineux's magnificent support, who produced record gate receipts of pounds 210,000, thought that Andy Thompson had secured a 56th- minute equaliser from Mark Rankine's right-wing cross but Craig Forrest arched backwards to tip over the full-back's header. 'Absolutely outstanding,' McGiven said.

Ferguson, whose promising midfield partnership with Marsden should ensure Wolves of at least a play-off spot, saw his shot deflected in the 69th minute and when loud appeals for a penalty were rejected following Linighan's challenge on Regis, it appeared that time had run out for Graham Turner's positive side.

But, with nine minutes left, Regis knocked down Marsden's right-wing cross for Kelly to drive in the equaliser from 15 yards. His wild celebrations nearly developed into a lap of honour. 'If it had come 15 minutes earlier we would have won,' Kelly said. On Portman Road's superior surface, no one would bet against Wolves progressing.