McCarthy leads from the front as Palace make it three in a row on the road

Ipswich Town 0 Crystal palace 1

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The Independent Football

Paddy McCarthy scored the only goal to secure Palace's third successive away win and hoist them into third place in the Championship table. His manager, Dougie Freedman, saw the Irish defender net for only the third time in two seasons and said: "He's an unlikely scorer but an inspirational captain. He's a natural leader who lifts everyone around them."

McCarthy may havedecided matters, but Palace's main danger emanated from the wing skills and pace of Wilfried Zaha and Sean Scannell. Paul Jewell, the Ipswich manager, saw his team suffer their first defeat in seven games and said: "We didn't perform, but give Palace credit. They played well and caused us problems, while we looked flat.

"When I came here in January we were three points off relegation, so we've still come a long way in a short space of time. You have to remember we're Ipswich, not Real Madrid. Unfortunately we are going to lose games."

"At no time did we ever think we were perfect, and I would still have been looking for us to improve today, win or lose."

Ipswich were reduced to 10 men in stoppage time when the defender Aaron Cresswell was booked for dissent, adding to the first-half caution he collected for a foul on Zaha.

The home side's lack ofpace, especially in a midfield containing several thirtysomethings, was exploited by an enterprising Palace side. Zaha was very nearly instrumental in the home side conceding a second-minute own goal when his low cross came off the thigh of defender Damien Delaney and squirmed wide of the far post.

Ipswich should definitely have been behind in the 14th minute when Zaha raced past Cresswell and cut the ball back for Kagisho Dikgacoi, only for the former Fulham man to fluff his effort hideously from 10 yards. David Stockdale in the Ipswich goal, on loan from Fulham, then made a superb reflex save with his legs to keep out Glenn Murray's shot on the turn, and his opposite number, Julian Speroni, was at full stretch to push a 20-yard drive from Emmanuel-Thomas over the top.

The breakthrough came after 55 minutes, when Scannell crossed low and invitingly for McCarthy, who stuck out his left foot to divert the ball into the roof of the net.

Ipswich Town (4-4-2): Stockdale; Edwards, Collins, Delaney (Ingimarsson, 48); Cresswell; Andrews, Bullard (Chopra 60), Leadbitter, Bowyer; Ellington (Scotland, 60), Emmanuel-Thomas.

Crystal Palace (4-5-1): Speroni; Clyne, McCarthy,Gardner, Parr; Zaha, Wright, Dikgacoi (Williams, 74), Jedinak, Scannell (Easter, 88); Murray.

Referee David Phillips.

Man of the match Jedinak (Crystal Palace).

Match rating 7/10.