JOHNSON SEALS IPSWICH WIN
By Ciaran Baynes. Last Updated: January 1, 1970 1:00am
DAVID JOHNSON`S solitary first half strike was enough to seal a victory for Ipswich against Crystal Palace that keeps the East Anglian outfit in the hunt for an automatic promotion to the Premiership.
The former Bury striker notched his 20th of the season and the game`s only goal after 25 minutes, which left a very nervous last hour for the home crowd as Town held on despite some good pressure from Crystal Palace`s quicksilver strikeforce of Clinton Morrison and Ashley Cole.
Johnson took a long ball from Wayne Brown on his chest and turned Eagles defender Jamie Smith inside the penalty area before rifling a low left-footed drive past Matthew Gregg`s near post.
Town were made to battle by Steve Coppell`s side, who still need a win to make totally sure of safety, and had to thank their highly-rated keeper Richard Wright who made fine point blank saves from Morrison in the first half and from on-loan Cole with ten minutes remaining.
The Ipswich goalscorer had the chance to rubber-stamp victory when he headed over Martin Reuser`s cross from six yards with five minutes remaining, but George Burley will just be relieved to have secured what could prove to be a crucial three points.
The result moves the East Anglian outfit to within two points of second place Manchester City who face play-off chasing Birmingham at Maine Road on Friday night, while Ipswich travel to champions Charlton on Saturday and then host relegation-threatened Walsall a week later.