Flaps but no flak from Andy

A TREMENDOUS Ipswich Town display earned them their first victory at Carrow Road for more than 10 years. The success was thoroughly deserved to help soothe the pain of the club dropping into administration.

A TREMENDOUS Ipswich Town display earned them their first victory at Carrow Road for more than 10 years. The success was thoroughly deserved to help soothe the pain of the club dropping into administration.

There is nothing Town fans enjoy more than seeing Norwich City beaten on their own patch. This was one of the most dramatic East Anglian derby clashes for many a year.

It was an afternoon that 16-year-old Dean Bowditch will never forget. Introduced as the substitute for a battered and bruised Darren Ambrose, the youngster played his part in both Ipswich goals. It was his first touch after being on the field for only 30 seconds of his debut when he rolled the ball across the Norwich penalty area from the left. Tommy Miller mis-cued his shot but the ball rebounded off a defender for Fabian Wilnis to control and drive into the net from just inside the penalty area.

Norwich will feel aggrieved that their tough tackling skipper Craig Fleming fell to the ground with a damaged foot leaving him in no position to challenge Bowditch.


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Midway through the four minutes added on at the end Ipswich added a second. Bowditch picked up a clearance from Wilnis and slipped a glorious pass through for the speedy Darren Bent to chase. Gary Holt was left helpless on the ground before Bent drew Robert Green and slipped a shot to the keeper's left that flew just inside the post.

Ipswich had dominated a goalless first half without any reward for their territorial supremacy with Jim Magilton ruling the midfield.

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There had been 269 minutes of East Anglian derby football played at Carrow Road without a goal before Ipswich broke the ice. No one could deny that Town were by far the superior side on the day and now they are back in contention to challenge for one of the four play-off places. There were three controversial decisions by referee Graham Laws. The first came in the 27th minute when he booked Iwan Roberts for elbowing Thomas Gaardsoe in the head. As Town boss Joe Royle pointed out at the end, elbowing is a red card offence, on the other hand it looked clumsy rather than malicious and no one wanted to see the match spoilt by one side being reduced to 10 men.

After the interval there could have been two penalty awards. In the 53rd minute Mark Rivers flew past Matt Richards down the right and went over in the penalty area when challenged by Gaardsoe.

Norwich were denied a spot kick much to the amazement of players and spectators alike.

Four minutes later Richards, so effective going forward, found his way past Rivers only to be upended by goalkeeper Green in the box. That also looked a clear-cut case for a spot kick that was ignored by Mr Laws. At least the first decision was balanced out by the second.

There were plenty of notable individual performances by Ipswich, Andy Marshall being exceptional bearing in mind the circumstances surrounding his selection. He expected to receive a hostile reception from Canary fans and was not disappointed. In the pre-match warm up he was beaten time and again by coach Malcolm Webster and then by the mascot in front of the jeering Barclay Stand.

When it really mattered Marshall came good and ended with a clean sheet which will have boosted his confidence no end. He made good saves from Roberts and Paul McVeigh and looked composed throughout.

Ipswich opted for a back three with skipper Matt Holland, a veteran of three previous Carrow Road derby games, hardly putting a foot wrong.

Gaardsoe bottled up Roberts most of the time while Chris Makin was alert to the fact that Rivers was always going to be a serious threat with his pace down the flank.

The substitution of Rivers in the 76th minute was extraordinary because he was the one Norwich player who looked more than capable of causing real damage. The Ipswich midfield held sway for 45 minutes but had to battle for their share of the ball in the second half when the Canaries raised their pace.

Tommy Miller was a real grafter but it was Magilton's vision that enabled Ipswich to keep Norwich on the back foot for so long.

The skilful Ipswich front pairing of the teenage Darrens – Ambrose and Bent – may have appeared lightweight but it was soon clear just how effective they would be.

Ambrose took a nasty knock after only five minutes from a horrendously high challenge by Fleming. It took him some time to recover and he missed a couple of reasonable chances by failing to hit the target but he was certainly creative with his approach work.

Bent was exciting to watch and fully deserved his goal at the end which was just reward for his non-stop effort.

Town fans had a right to feel apprehensive after seeing their side held to a home draw by Grimsby, but Royle's men rose to the big occasion and answered plenty of questions about their character.

Norwich, so close to playing in the Premiership this season, looked short of what is needed to win promotion this time around. Dangerman McVeigh had little opportunity to shine while Northern Ireland international Healy was less of a threat than had been anticipated. Leigh Bromby's long throws were a danger on occasions if Roberts could get his head on them but Ipswich concentrated well at the back. The main scares came early in the second half when Town survived a couple of scrambles that left supporters in a flutter.

McVeigh hoped to unsettle Marshall by chasing a back pass from Miller waving his arms like a windmill but it needed more than that to unsettle a player who may well have come through his period of collywobbles.

Marshall has always been a talented goalkeeper and it was great for Ipswich that he came through an acid test yesterday.

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