Nouble double and screamer from Cresswell sees Blues comfortably ahead at the break after crazy seven minute spell here at Portman Road
A brace from Frank Nouble either side of an Aaron Cresswell screamer was enough to see Town ease past Crystal Palace at Portman Road.
Blues ran out comfortable 3-0 winners after a crazy seven minute spell at the end of the first-half saw Town go in at the break three goals to the good.
Mick McCarthy made two changes to his side, with Jay Emmanuel-Thomas and Nouble both starting ahead of Jay Tabb and Michael Chopra who both dropped to the bench.
The opening exchanges were all very scrappy although Jonathan Williams was showing some neat touches in the Palace midfield.
It was Blues who fashioned the first real opening of the game though, with Kagisho Dikgacoi losing possession in midfield and allowing Nouble space to run at the Eagles defence but the striker could only drag his shot wide of the target after a quarter of an hour.
Three minutes later and Glenn Murray came close to breaking the deadlock after meeting a Yannick Bolasie corner at the back-post but Tommy Smith did just enough to deflect the striker’s header into the side-netting and behind for a corner.
Emmanuel-Thomas then tried his luck from 25 yards, after receiving a pass from Cresswell, but the former Arsenal man couldn’t keep his effort down.
However it was Town who were to break the deadlock after 38 minutes, in bizarre fashion.
The ball was pumped long up the field by Guirane N’daw and ran through to Palace ‘keeper Speroni, but the Argentine dawdled on the ball before slipping over which allowed Nouble the chance to stroke the ball into the empty net to notch his first goal in a Blue shirt.
However things were to get even better for Blues as the game entered first-half injury time. Cresswell doubled the advantage with what will surely be Town’s goal of the season after nodding the ball into his path before unleashing a left-foot volley that flew into the top corner.
And the Blue Army had barely time to catch their breath before Nouble was scoring his second and Town’s third seconds later.
Ramage was robbed in possession by the striker, who kept his composure to coolly slot the ball past Speroni and into the corner to see Blues comfortably ahead at half-time.
Blues started the second-half just as brightly as they ended the first and a powerful run from Nouble saw him beat a couple of challenges before laying the ball off to N’Daw, but the midfielder’s effort was deflected behind for a corner.
Scott Loach had to be alert shortly afterwards to push away a well struck free-kick from Andre Moritz, getting down low to his right after 55 minutes.
The Town stopper was called into action again after 70 minutes but again he was equal to the threat, keeping out a Murray half-volley after the striker had been teed up by substitute Kevin Phillips.
Town were hungry for more goals though and more good work from Nouble saw him hold off a couple of challenges before crossing to Murphy, who nodded into the path of Hyam but the midfielder couldn’t quite beat Speroni at the back-post with 11 minutes remaining.
Palace did almost grab a consolation in injury time, but Phillips saw his effort rocket back off the post before Hyam cleared the danger.
That was the way it finished, with Town comfortably seeing out the game to claim all three points and moving a step closer to ensuring Championship football at Portman Road again next season.
Town: Loach, Stearman, Chambers, Smith, Cresswell, Edwards (Kisnorbo 80), Hyam, N’Daw, Emmanuel-Thomas (Wordsworth 70), Murphy, Nouble (Hewitt 90). Subs not used: Lee-Barrett, Drury, Tabb, Chopra.
Booked: N’Daw, Hyam, Emmanuel-Thomas, Stearman
Palace: Speroni, Ward (Wilbraham 70), Ramage, Delaney, Parr (Richards 28), Dikgacoi, Williams (Phillips 46), Zaha, Bolasie, Moritz, Murray. Subs not used: Price, Gabbidon, Marrow, Dobbie.
Booked: Ward, Zaha, Delaney