Ipswich 3-0 Palace
Nouble (37, 45) Cresswell (45)
Tue 16th April 2013
Two catastrophic errors and a wonder strike condemned the Eagles to yet another defeat on the road. After dominating for the opening 38 minutes a harmless long ball over the top was uncharacteristically hopelessly 'dealt with' by Julian Speroni in the Palace goal, allowing Nouble to brush him aside and slot home in to an unguarded net for his first goal for the Tractor Boys.
Seven minutes later Cresswell unleashed an unstoppable shot into the top corner from 25 yards. Ward can easily be blamed for hesitant defending but there is not taking anything away from the strike.
Palace have turned around two goal deficits this season and the way Ipswich were playing there may have been a shot to repeat this feat. What happened less than sixty seconds later put paid to any slim hopes of a comeback.
Centre was taken, the ball was knocked back to Ramage and Nouble closed him down. Ramage decided to try and dribble around the onrushing only to lose the ball and allow him to kill the game off with still half of it to play.
39 days, 456 minutes or 7 hours and 36 minutes.
39 days, 456 minutes or 7 hours and 36 minutes. That was the last time that I was able to let loose in the stands and celebrate a goal. As Murray volleyed home the equaliser against Leeds at Selhurst I would have laughed long into the night at anyone who suggested that this barren run was about to start. Now, suddenly, we have forgotten where the goal is and our promotion charge looks to be collapsing around our ears.
There has been much debate around how many points we need to stay in the Play Offs across the next four games. Just a few short weeks ago we were debating how many we would need for automatic promotion! Whether or not you believe that we got carried away with our expectations the fact is we were there and, post smashing Hull at home, ready to strike at the top two places. Now we are looking over our shoulders and nervously at that. Five points should be enough to secure our place in the post season lottery that is the Play Offs. I sit here and type this wondering where one point is coming from, let alone five.
Is all lost? Will a season that has promised so much end in a mere whimper and a place just outside the Play Off places? I think this all depends on one thing. Our next goal and what it does for our confidence. "One goal changes everything in this division" said Holloway in his post match press conference was he sipped tea and did well to mask what must be an extremely stressful time for him.
A goal can change everything.
He is right. A goal can change everything. As Phillips cocked his leg in stoppage time at Portman Road last night I was preparing to celebrate like we had just won the FA Cup. The monkey would have been removed from our collective backs and perhaps we could have built on that solitary strike. Instead his shot cannons back off the post and the drought continues.
There is no denying that in the last two games the football has been much better. Ball retention has been superb and we have enjoyed superior possession to the opposition. I don't care what the BBC website says, if Ipswich had 55% possession then I am Mick McCarthy's jock strap. However, we are struggling to create clear cut chances.
Of the 23 attempts against Barnsley only two looked remotely dangerous and of the 14 attempts that we had last night only once did we look like scoring and that was with practically the last kick of a game that was already dead and buried.
The ball is bouncing off of Murray when previously it was sticking to him like glue, every rebound falls in the oppositions favour and every time we make a mistake we are punished to the fullest. We are in a rut and running out of games in which we can deal with it.
Holloway is really starting to lose a big section of the fans.
To make things worse, Holloway is really starting to lose a big section of the fans. Some he will probably never recover after the Brighton loss and if results continue to be dire, more and more turn against him. "Holloway has to walk!!" exclaimed one enraged tweet. This, in my mind, is senseless. Air your disappointment at the end of the season if/when things have not gone our way. In the meantime stand strong behind the team and do all that we can to drag them out of the hole they have found themselves in.
Every single fan who stayed behind last night and screamed "We Love You" at the players, as they sheepishly came over and applauded us, is a hero in my eyes. The players faces were a picture. To get such support after such a demoralising defeat clearly lifted many of them and baffled them in equal measure. This kind of support is exactly what they need.
It was a little heartbreaking watching Rambo apologise for his error and the teams performance in front of us. He has performed way above his station this season and is a big reason as to why we are where we are. I only hope he can take that song on board and start again.
"Confidence is the hardest thing to gain and the easiest thing to lose" said Holloway. Again he is right. Lets make sure that our efforts are focused at building this confidence, not shattering it further.
Man of the Match: Jonathan Parr
Arguably the game swung in the favour of the home team with the removal of the marauding full back who has suddenly discovered some form in the last few games. His runs down the flank looked our most likely route to a goal and as soon as he was removed from proceedings we lacked a cutting edge going forward.
It's not as if his injury gave them a way into the game, it didn't. They never looked dangerous and only three freak goals cost us the game. They were never going to score unless we gifted it to them. Something we did three times. I appreciate how desperate that sounds, no matter how true it is, so I will just leave it there.
If we have been believing that the last few games have been little cup finals, then Saturday is a massive one A loss to Leicester and I will fear the worse... The only good thing is that this season the worse is merely missing out on the Play Offs. That's somewhat better than what the worst could have bought two seasons ago. Try and remember that before you boo and then remember that we are building for a great future here. If it starts with promotion this season then great. If not, it is not as if we will not be in the position again.
Keep the faith!
Come on you Palace!