Joe's rollercoaster ride to victory

CRYSTAL PALACE 3 IPSWICH TOWN 4 JOE Royle and his coaching staff won't know where to start when they run through the coaching tape of this seven-goal thriller.

By Derek Davis


JOE Royle and his coaching staff won't know where to start when they run through the coaching tape of this seven-goal thriller.

By the time Shefki Kuqi had given Ipswich the winner, a minute from time, the Blues boss had been through virtually every emotion and won't know whether to start with praise or grumbles.

But he settled for a mixture last night straight after the game with his obvious pride and relief coming to the fore.

Andy Johnson and Dougie Freedman had Palace two up in 11 minutes in a blistering display by the south London side.

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Royle said: "They ran us ragged for 20 minutes and we just could not cope with their three front men. They almost blew us away but we managed to get it back and controlled most of the second half.

"We showed a terrific amount of spirit and despite what has been said about our start this side has always had plenty of that."

Richard Naylor snatched two goals before the break to level things and Royle said: "Richard has been excellent for us and did it again tonight. He couldn't score those when he was a striker but now he is putting them away."

Royle was less than happy with some aspects of Town's game until the second half. He said: "It was not so much our passing that let us down, we could not get near the ball to start passing it."

While the whole team struggled to start with, Royle was pleased with the way Ian Westlake and Matt Richards finally won through and he was particularly impressed with midfielder Jermaine Wright.

He said: "When everyone else was struggling Jamma kept us in the game and was superb throughout. We missed Alan Mahon and what he gives us but Jim Magilton was still terrific and is a big influence.

"Chris Bart-Williams didn't have one of his better games but has been important to us. The two young lads were given a roasting for 20 minutes but they stuck at it and in they end got on top."

Ipswich thought they had the game won when Pablo Counago finished but Tommy Miller conceded a penalty which Dougie Freedman converted.

Finland international Kuqi then provided the thrilling finale.

Royle said: "We were cursing Tommy as he did not need to give the penalty away but then the big man came up and did the business for us. Shefki worked his socks off all game as usual then took his goal well."

Palace boss Steve Kember could not hide his disappointment after throwing the game away.

He said: "We were suicidal at times. We gave the ball away on the halfway line for their fourth goal and that is criminal. We shot ourselves in the foot and that last goal was a real body blow.

"We were fantastic for 30 minutes but that is the story of our season."

Kember admitted he had not left out Hayden Mullins for injury reasons prompting speculation that he will join West Ham in the next 48 hours.

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