They say Mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the midday, whoever decided to satge a noon kick-off in Ipswich on the first day of the school getaway, with a rail replacement service in operation and killer roadworks on the A12 is probably both.
Thanks to that ludicrous decision your correspondent missed half of the first half, so is unable to comment on Ipswich’s opener after five minutes. Apparently “Speroni had no chance after an unmarked Diallo drilled in a header from a Magilton corner” (description courtesy of Radio Suffolk). When we finally got there, Palace were under a fair amount of pressure and only poor finishing by the Tractor boys preserved the scoreline.
After a 5 minute water break on the half hour, Palace came out refreshed and immediately AJ and Dougie Freedman had decent chances and Hughes had a spectacularly bad miss from just 2 yards out. The ball has taken up orbit beside Beckham’s recent penalty. Speaking of Penno’s, Palace had a clearcut one denied as Freedman was tugged off the ball, but the referee’s gaze was elsewhere.
Palace got back into the match on 40 minutes when they were awarded a free kick out on the left edge of the box about 5 yards from the touchtine. With the Ipswich keeper, dippy Kelvin Davis advancing to claim the high cross he presumed was coming, Shaun Derry very cleverly toe-poked the ball along the floor into the net, leaving Davis stranded.
Palace’s lead didn’t last long, however, right on half time another Ipswich corner caused panic in the Palace defence. Popovic had the ball at his feet but somehow it squirmed away to Bowditch who clipped the ball beyond Speroni’s rather limited reach.
Despite several substitutions (and another water break), Palace had the better of the second half, with some great deliveries in from the right by Wayne Routledge. The finishing, however, was woeful.
Several really decent chances went begging, Freedman especially, will be hanging his head this evening. AJ almost caught the keeper with an audacious overhead kick from a quite ridiculous angle on the byline, but found the side netting. Dolan shot just over late on and Palace finished strongly with a series of corners which Ipswich somehow kept out with deflection here and elbow there.
At the other end, Speroni gave some cause for concern with his insistence on trying to dribble past attackers, once losing the ball, but the resulting shot found the side-netting. Ipswich’s best chances came when De Vos headed just over the bar and then after a breakaway presented an open goal to Ipswich’s number 12 who inexplicably missed the target.
A low-paced game that no-one, apart from one apopletic bald bloke behind me (“Calm down dear, its only a friendly”), seemed that bothered about, hence the result didn’t come as that much of a disappointment.
Palace (4-4-2): Speroni, Boyce (Butterfield 45), Powell (Hudson 45), Popovic capt (Togwell 75), Leigertwood (Borrowdale 45), Routledge, Riihilahti (Soares 75), Hughes (Dolan 80), Derry (Black 45), Johnson, Freedman.