Jim inspires Town youngsters

Ipswich Town Res 1 Crystal Palace Res 1THE wise old head of Jim Magilton helped inspire a young Blues side to salvage a point against Crystal Palace at Portman Road last night.

By Derek Davis

Ipswich Town Res 1 Crystal Palace Res 1

THE wise old head of Jim Magilton helped inspire a young Blues side to salvage a point against Crystal Palace at Portman Road last night.

The Blues skipper had asked to play an hour for the reserves after 40 minutes at Crewe the night before in Town's 2-1 win and cajoled the youngsters around him while steadily dictating play from the middle of the park.

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The veteran showed all his experience with a clever free kick which set Daryl Knights free and his low cross was turned in by Liam Trotter, under pressure from the Palace full-back Arron Fray, who may even have got the vital touch, four minutes after the break.

Trotter almost added a second with a skilful back-heel from a low pull-back by Jaime Peters, but Palace cleared the danger.

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Palace went ahead on 31 minutes when Louis Grabban took advantage of some hesitant defending after an initial hint of offside, and slipped the ball past Lewis Price.

Price, whose international hopes were boosted by a Wales call-up for their friendly against England's World Cup opponents Paraguay, made a couple of good saves.

He prevented a certain Palace second when he stood saved with his knees from the impressive Grabban.

Billy Clarke, Knights and Peters combined well in attack and they might have secured Town a victory six minutes from time with great movement, passing and pace, but the final touch was lacking.

Cathal Lordan, who has been told he can find another club, went close to snatching a late win with the final kick off the game but his 25-yard drive drifted inches wide.

Clarke still does not have full movement in the elbow he dislocated against Portsmouth Reserves last year but otherwise is showing good fitness and sharpness.

He will be looking for a return to the first-team squad soon, although Saturday may be too early for him.

Norwegian midfielder Vemund Brekke-Skard, who was on the bench at Crewe, completed the 90 minutes with a workmanlike performance for the Blues.

Town found themselves making two first-half substitutions due to injury before making the planned replacement for Magilton.

Craig Short went on for Scott Mitchell, who was struggling with a groin injury, while Gerard Nash was forced off six minutes before the break, with a sore hip.

The Blues' reserves will next be in action next Tuesday at Portman Road when they entertain Coventry City, while the abandoned match against Leicester City will now be played in April.

Last night's line-ups

Ipswich Town: Price, Mitchell (Short, 18), Ainsley, Brekke-Skard, Casement, Nash (Trotter, 39), Magilton (Lordan, 59), Moore, Clarke, Peters and Knights. Unused subs: Upson and Rhodes.

Crystal Palace Res: Speroni, Fray, Wiggins, Starkey, Wilson, Swaibu, Kudodje (Fish, 74), Straker, Grabban (Watanabe, 67), Peltonen and Dayton. Unused subs: Wilkinson, Fish and Smith.

Referee: G Evetts. Attendance: 645.

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