PRE-SEASON: South African captain plays on trial as Ipswich Town win at Crawley
Crawley v Ipswich: Daryl Murphy and David McGoldrick netted in each half as Ipswich Town’s winning start to pre-season continued at League One side Crawley Town.
South Africa captain Bongani Khumalo was in the first-half starting line-up for the Blues as a trialist.
The 26-year-old has been training with the Blues since Monday, with his employers – Tottenham Hotspur – allowing Town boss Mick McCarthy to take a look at him this week.
Spurs paid South African partner side Supersport United £1.7m for the 6ft 2in defender in 2010, shortly after he had scored for the host nation in the 2010 World Cup against France.
He is yet to feature for the North London side though, having been on loan at Preston, Reading and, most recently, Greek side PAOK.
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The centre-back made a number of towering headers, but had a couple of uncertain moments on the ball – think Ibrahima Sonko during his loan spell at the Blues.
One half of football is hard to judge though, with numerous players still finding their touch at this stage of the summer. Khumalo has pedigree and, still under contract at White Hart Lane, it may be a loan deal that the Blues are considering.
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It was Khumalo who gave away a foul inside the opening minute with a lunge on tricky right-winger Nicky Adams. Ex-Town youngster Billy Clarke curled the resultant free-kick just wide of trialist keeper Dean Gerken’s goal.
The opening goal arrived in the ninth minute, with new boy Paul Anderson playing a big role. The 24-year-old juggled the ball over the top of two defenders’ heads following Tyrone Mings’ delivery, with Murphy killing the loose ball and spinning to volley home from six yards out.
Having arrived at the club from Bristol City on Monday – as part of a swap deal for Jay Emmanuel-Thomas – Anderson was played on the right wing, with Josh Carson on the opposite flank.
It was Murphy who was the Blues’ stand-out player in the first-half though, with the Irishman looking sharp and lean. His goal tally for pre-season now stands at three in 90 minutes following his brace at Irish side Shelbourne.
Gerken – on trial following his release from Bristol City – was largely untroubled, making one fairly routine stop from Jamie Proctor.
Crawley did create two good chances, but wasted them both as Joe Walsh glanced just wide and Clarke nodded tamely into Gerken’s arms.
At the other end, Anderson found the angle just too tight after nodding the ball around advanced keeper Jones, while Murphy was denied a second by a fantastic Mark Connolly block.
The team-sheet issued before the match said that the Blues would change their entire line-up for the second half, as they had done in Dublin last weekend.
However, Gerkin kept his place in goal – Scott Loach remaining on the bench – as McCarthy took a longer look.
Fellow trialist Dan Seaborne – the left-sided centre-back released by Southampton – was among the players on for the second period, with Crawley remaining unchanged.
Town started the second half on the front foot as Jones made a smart stop from Jay Tabb at the far post.
Two minutes later the Blues had doubled their lead when McGoldrick was brought down by the on-rushing keeper, the striker dusting himself down to net from the penalty spot.
Crawley made four subs on the hour mark and started to come back into the game.
Impressive right-winger Adams drilled home a superb 25-yard effort in the 63rd minute, though Town’s midfield should undoubtedly have close him down sooner.
Frank Nouble went close following a good Anthony Wordsworth pass, but at the other end Gerken made a smart stop from Adams’ side-footed effort.
IPSWICH TOWN (4-4-2)
FIRST HALF: Gerken; Hammond, Khumalo, Smith, Mings; Anderson, Skuse, Hyam, Carson; Chopra, Murphy.
SECOND HALF: Gerken; Hewitt, Chambers, Seaborne, Cresswell; Lawrence, Berkane, Wordsworth, Tabb; Nouble, McGoldrick.
Crawley Town (4-4-2): Jones; Stinson, Essam, Connolly, Walsh; Adams, Jones, Bulman, Torres; Clarke, Proctor.