Fitting Wright should be the derby hero
Norwich City 1 Ipswich Town 1DAVID Wright emerged as the newest derby day hero and it could not have been more fitting.Grief-stricken Wright, who had a five-game loan spell at Carrow Road, equalised for the Blues after Norwich had gone ahead through Dickson Etuhu, to the delight of everyone who knows the despair he has been through recently after losing his father Geoff after a long illness.
By Derek Davis
Norwich City 1 Ipswich Town 1
DAVID Wright emerged as the newest derby day hero and it could not have been more fitting.
Grief-stricken Wright, who had a five-game loan spell at Carrow Road, equalised for the Blues after Norwich had gone ahead through Dickson Etuhu, to the delight of everyone who knows the despair he has been through recently after losing his father Geoff after a long illness.
The goal blew a pressure valve of relief in the player, and among the Town support, in a cracking end-to- end encounter that City looked, for a while, like edging.
It was especially pleasing that Wright snatched the equaliser, not least because he had earlier been a villain at the back for the Blues as Darren Huckerby gave him a torrid time.
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Wright had already been served warning by Huckerby, and earned a rollicking from manager Jim Magilton, before he was caught out by the Norwich star for their goal on five minutes.
Gavin Williams, another who had a woeful first half, conceded a free-kick just inside the City half. Lee Croft played it forward and Dickson Etuhu won the flick-on and an unmarked Huckerby crossed for the midfielder, who carried on his run and beat Williams to the ball and headed in from six yards.
But, at the other end, Wright played a clever ball with Gary Roberts and surged into the area past Adam Drury. His attempted pull-back for Francis Jeffers was blocked by Jason Shackell but the determined defender forced the ball in off the despairing hand of keeper Tony Warner.
The Blues were second best for much of the first half and might have been further behind before going in to face the wrath of their manager.
Huckerby, showing no signs of a back injury that kept him out of their midweek drubbing at Burnley, was at his sparkling best.
Although playing ostensibly as a strike partner with Robert Earnshaw, he operated in an advanced left-sided position and pulled the right side of Town's defence all over the place, exploiting space between Wright, Alex Bruce and behind the attack-minded Jaime Peters.
Huckerby got away from Peters to hit a screamer just over the bar and Shane Supple was well placed to deal with another first-half effort.
Roberts swapped wings for a while to help out but went back to the left flank where he was looking to inspire Ipswich's attack.
It took 41 minutes before Jeffers had Town's first meaningful chance on goal, a wicked 25-yard shot that Warner could only palm away before Shackell cleared for a corner.
The Norwich speaker system blared out Two Tribes Go To War before the game but it was only in the second half that Ipswich showed any real fight.
Williams woke up and hit a couple of vicious drives, one of which Warner turned around a post.
The Welshman delivered a good corner for Owen Garvan. whose volley was blocked at the base of a post by Drury.
Roberts produced a lovely piece of skill to get past Andy Hughes and cross for Jeffers but the chance went begging.
The Blues looked for the winner, with Alan Lee heading wide and even Danny Haynes could not inspire a fairytale winner.
Haynes, so often the hero, had to congratulate Etuhu, whose brother Kelvin, now at Manchester City, went to the same school at the same time as the Town supersub.
Etuhu hooked another Huckerby cross but it was deflected by the outstanding Wilnis, who also put in a great block.
The Dutchman and fellow centre- back Bruce also thwarted Huckerby as Supple made a vital saves with his legs.
City pinned their late hopes on teenager Chris Martin, who hit a terrific volley over the bar after being picked out by Croft.
The game was played in an excellent spirit, with only one worrying flashpoint when Dion Dublin, on his 700th career appearances, clashed with Roberts.
But Somerset referee Steve Tanner handled that as superbly as he did the game in general and commonsense reigned supreme.
Tanner also refused a penalty appeal from Huckerby, who tumbled under a Wright challenge and replays suggested it was another correct decision.
Tanner is a rising star in the refereeing ranks and has recently taken charge of his first Premiership game, but many more are bound to follow if this performance is anything to go by.
For the Blues it was yet another encouraging display, although Jim Magilton and his coaching staff will know there is still much work to be done.