FULL-TIME: Jason Scotland rescues point for Ipswich at Palace
A CRACKING strike out of the blue from Jason Scotland earned Ipswich a point from a rather flat 1-1 draw at Crystal Palace.
The striker didn’t appear to have a lot on when he picked up the ball on the left wing in the 59th minute.
But he cut inside England Under-21 right-back Nathaniel Clyne and hit a fantastic right-foot rocket to net his eighth of the season.
Scotland’s goal was out of keeping with a lacklustre match that distinctly had an end-of-seson feel to it.
But it could have been worse after a 36th minute goal from Norwich City loanee Chris Martin gave Crystal Palace a half-time lead at Selhurst Park.
Martin rounded off a fine move from the home side involving Clyne and Sean Scannell to give the Eagles a 1-0 lead which didn’t really tell the story of the first half.
Town bossed possession for the vast majority of the 45 minutes and created far more chances, albeit largely from distance.
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Scotland was inches away from getting on the end of Aaron Cresswell’s teasing cross before a clever free-kick routine ended with Grant Leadbitter shooting just wide.
Jay Emmnanuel-Thomas got in on the long-range act but he could find no way past Palace keeper Julian Speroni.
And on 23 minutes, and against the run of play, the hosts should have taken the lead when Wilfried Zaha’s smart reverse pass released ex-Town midfielder Darren Ambrose but he was denied by a strong block from the onrushing Arran Lee-Barrett.
Town continued to make the better chances, a diving Speroni saving well from Jason Scotland’s volley before Palace broke the deadlock in the 36th minute.
Ipswich had controlled possession without really getting behind their opponents who proved to be more lethal in front of goal.
As in recent matches, Town struggled at the start of the second half before Scotland’s shock equaliser.
It was just what the visitors needed but neither side were able to produce the necessary cutting edge to win the match.
Ambrose shot straight at Lee-Barrett from the edge of the area while at the other end a short corner released Lee Martin whose powerful drive was deflected off Owen Garvan but flew just wide of the far post in the 69th minute.
Scannell fired wide when released by Garvan before Carlos Edwards’ deep cross was met by Daryl Murphy who headed onto the roof of the net.
Town had a scare in the 81st minute when Zaha found himself one-on-one with Cresswell and went down in the area but the referee waved play on.
It would have been harsh on the left-back and Ipswich with neither side deserving anything more than a point.
Though it was the Blues who almost won it when Edwards’ injury-time piledriver flew just over.
Jay Emmanuel-Thomas, Lee Martin and Andy Drury have all been restored to the Ipswich Town team for today’s trip to Crystal Palace.
The trio were rested for Monday’s home defeat by Leicester City but all three return at the expense of Lee Bowyer, Josh Carson and Ryan Stevenson.
Carson and fellow youngster Luke Hyam are not in the 16-man squad while Jason Scotland is again preferred to Michael Chopra.
Richard Wright is injured so young US keeper Cody Cropper, who is out of contract in the summer, is on the bench.
Former Town midfielder Darren Ambrose is back in the starting line-up for Palace, alongside ex-Town youth Stuart O’Keefe, while Paul McShane starts at centre-back.
Lewis Price and Owen Garvan are both on the bench against their former employers.
Ipswich: Lee-Barrett; Edwards, Smith, Delaney, Cresswell; Drury, Leadbitter; Emmanuel-Thomas, Martin, Murphy; Scotland. Subs – Cropper, Sonko, Stevenson, Bowyer, Chopra
Crystal Palace: Speroni; Clyne, McCarthy (c), McShane, Moxey; Ambrose, Dikgacoi, O’Keefe, Zaha; Scannell, Martin. Subs – Price, Parr, Garvan, Pedroza, De Silva