Charlton Athletic 2 Ipswich Town 1
Charlton Athletic striker Jim Melrose scored with headers in the 17th and 19th minutes at Selhurst Park yesterday to kill off Ipswich Town's hopes of a return to the First Division.
This double blow stunned the 5,000 Town fans who had made the trip to London with high hopes of seeing success in the play-offs. It also seemed to knock the stuffing out of the Ipswich players who never really worried home goalkeeper Bolder until the final stages.
The Town fans, frustrated and disappointed, had precious little to shout about although they found their voices again in the 85th minute when Yallop crossed, D'Avray headed against the post and McCall followed up to net his first goal of the season also via the post.
Once again there was hope against an anxious Charlton, but it was too late. The damage had already been done.
It's hardly the time to make excuses but the fact that Ipswich were without such an influential defender as Cranson (out with hamstring trouble) made all the difference.
Ipswich had their backs to the wall and fell behind in the 17th minute when Humphrey, so dangerous on the overlap, crossed from the right and Melrose found the space to head home.
While Ipswich were still in disarray Charlton struck again 90 seconds later. A free kick from Walsh was headed back at the far post by Miller. Melrose nipped in to head his 16th goal of the season, not a bad record for a player who cost just £30,000 from Manchester City.
Some pretty fierce exchanges followed with both teams losing a key player as a result. In the 24th minute Walsh fouled Wilson, the Town striker having to call it a day at the interval with a thigh injury.
From the free kick Gleghorn crossed, Humes nodded the ball back and Brennan fired just over the bar which was just about Town's only scoring effort before half time.
It was not long before first Atkins, who was lectured, and them Humes lunged into Walsh who was carried off with a bruised ankle. At first it was feared that he might have broken a bone.
Charlton introduced a gangling target man, Leaburn, whose power in the air had to be respected but they missed Walsh's control and as a result lost much of their rhythm.
Ipswich called on D'Avray for the second half. He would have come on to add variety to the attack even if Wilson had not been injured and he certainly made a difference.
Ipswich has fleeting moments during a ragged second half when there was promise of pulling the game back. In the 61st minute Humes crossed, D'Avray nodded the ball down but Gleghorn shot high over the bar.
Six minutes later a back pass from Miller, under pressure from Zondervan, flew just wide of Bolder's post while in the 74th minute D'Avray again won the ball in the air from Yallop's cross and gave Dozzell a glorious opening.
This talented midfield man can produce wonderful skill in his build up work but his confidence is at a low ebb when it comes to finishing and this time he curled his shot wide of the post.
Ipswich had pushed McCall into midfield and left three at the back. Had Dozzell scored Charlton might just have crumbled but when he missed it looked all over for the Town.
Charlton produced little of note up front in the second half but with a two goal buffer they did not need to take any risks. They went close when Cooper dribbled out of his area to cope with a crisis, nutmeged a man, and then passed to McCall.
As Cooper ran back, apparently pleased with himself, McCall lost possession and with Cooper still way off his line Charlton almost scored.
It was a poor all round display by Ipswich for whom Zondervan was named man of the match by the sponsors. Perhaps O'Donnell would have got my vote but no one really impressed.
McCall was the only player booked for something he said to a linesman just before the interval. Referee Shapter was in a particularly lenient frame of mind.
East Anglian Daily Times