Ipswich Hold On For Vital 1-1 Draw Against Play-Off Rivals Wolves
Benik Afobe kept Wolves' fading promotion hopes alive as his 31st goal of the season salvaged a 1-1 draw against play-off rivals Ipswich at Molineux.
Afobe, who scored 19 goals on loan at MK Dons before joining Wolves from Arsenal in January for £2m, pounced after 50 minutes to cancel out a 21st-minute own goal from Richard Stearman.
It was a vital strike from Afobe as the Black Country side were heading for a third successive defeat which would have all but ended their play-off hopes.
While Wolves are just about still alive in the promotion race, Ipswich remain well placed for a top-six finish despite failing to hold on to the advantage they were presented by Stearman.
Ipswich boss Mick McCarthy, who was in charge at Wolves for almost six years before being sacked in February 2012, has steered them to 75 points and knows that winning their final two games of the season would secure a place in the play-offs.
Molineux manager Kenny Jackett had wanted a frenetic start and he got that through quick striker Nouha Dicko.
Dicko had been left out of the starting line-up for the previous game at Middlesbrough and he looked like he had a point to prove following his recall, with pace which tormented Tommy Smith and his central defensive partner, Wolves old boy Christophe Berra.
However, the hosts failed to make the most of his efforts and Ipswich were able to ride out the storm before taking the lead.
New Zealand international Smith rose above the Wolves defence and met a corner from Teddy Bishop that was glanced goalwards and deflected into his own net by the luckless Stearman.
Wolves took time to come to terms with falling behind and when they finally did force an attack of note Dicko saw his 33rd-minute shot blocked by Berra.
That sparked Jackett's team back into life and they were unlucky not to draw level six minutes before half-time when Ipswich failed to clear their lines.
The ball fell invitingly on the edge of the area to Dave Edwards, whose volley looked set to sneak just inside the post before Bartosz Bialkowski tipped it away for a corner.
Wolves took that freshly found momentum into the start of the second half and, after Dicko flashed a header from a Bakary Sako cross just wide, Afobe continued his prolific spell in front of goal.
Rajiv van La Parra's low drive was deflected into the path of Afobe, who reacted brilliantly to force the ball home at the far post.
With parity restored, Wolves carried more of a threat and Berra found himself working overtime to try and keep the dangerous Dicko in check.
Ipswich were penned in their own half for long spells and when they did break out, Freddie Sears failed to test goalkeeper Carl Ikeme as he dragged his 73rd-minute shot wide.
However, the hosts were by far the dominant force and Dicko looked set to make that pressure pay in the 76th minute – only to again be denied from six yards by another well timed block from the hard working Berra.
Failing to make the most of that pressure almost came back to haunt Wolves four minutes from time when substitute Chris Wood picked up the ball on the left flank and surged towards goal, only to see his shot curl agonisingly wide of Ikeme's far post.
And the hosts' frustration was capped in stoppage time when Dicko just failed to connect with a bouncing cross-shot from Kevin McDonald.