Town defeated by soaring Eagles

CRYSTAL Palace won the battle of the in-form teams thanks to Patrick McCarthy’s solitary goal.

The skipper rifled in Sean Scannell’s low cross in the 54th minute after Town made a hash of clearing the left-winger’s original free kick.

Palace were well worth the three points which condemned the Blues to their first defeat in seven matches.

And their misery was complete when left-back Aaron Cresswell was sent-off in injury time for a second yellow card.

The home side played some attractive attacking football at times in the first half and almost took the lead just before the interval when Jay Emmanuel-Thomas burst clear but his left-footed piledriver was tipped over by Julian Speroni.

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But on the balance of play, it was the Eagles who edged the half as their pacey frontline caused Town continued problems.

Damien Delaney, replacing the injured Ibrahima Sonko, almost put through his own goal in the first minute before Kagisho Dikgacoi scuffed a great chance to break the deadlock on 15 minutes.

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Grant Leadbitter’s shot hit Nathan Ellington while Lee Bowyer just failed to make a clean contact with his head after a free-flowing move from the home side.

Town survived a massive scare on 23 minutes when Jimmy Bullard’s misplaced pass almost played in Palace striker Glenn Murray who went down under Delaney’s challenge.

But the referee waved play on rather than give the Eagles the free kick and possibly show the centre-back a red card.

A minute before Emmanuel-Thomas’ chance, Murray almost gave Palace the lead when he was given too much time in the area but his shot was saved by the legs of David Stockdale.

Paul Jewell opted for JET and Ellington upfront in place of Michael Chopra and Jason Scotland who started the match on the bench.

And it wasn’t long into the second half that Delaney was forced off with Ivar Ingimarsson replacing him.

Glenn Murray looped a header just over before Palace took the lead through their big centre-back McCarthy.

And it was Crystal Palace who looked more likely to increase their lead as Town struggled to break down the away defence.

Mile Jedinak and the impressive Scannell were both denied by Stockdale.

Not even the introduction of Chopra and Scotland could make a difference as the home side pushed late on, without creating any clear-cut chances in front of the biggest home crowd of the season.

Cresswell’s sending off, deserved after making his feeling known to the referee following a half-hearted late shout for a penalty, just capped a disappointing afternoon.

Starting line-ups:

Ipswich: Stockdale; Edwards, Collins, Delaney, Cresswell; Andrews, Bullard, Leadbitter, Bowyer, Ellington, JET. Subs - Lee-Barrett, Ingimarsson, Chopra, Scotland, Wabara.

Crystal Palace: Speroni, Clyne, McCarthy, Gardner, Parr, Wright, Jedinak, Scannell, Dikgacoi, Zaha, Murray. Subs - Price, Easter, Williams, O’Keefe, Ramage.

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