Match report: Norwich City 1 Ipswich Town 1 – Honours even again in East Anglian derby
Jonas Knudsen scored in the East Anglian derby once again, but Ipswich Town were pegged back by Jacob Murphy’s strike as their eight-year wait for a win against Norwich City goes on.
The Blues will be pleased with a point undefeated given keeper Bartosz Bialkowski made several breathtaking stops and Knudsen’s goal was their only shot on target. It was another gutsy display as Mick McCarthy’s much-improved side finished ‘Fearsome February’ undefeated.
The Canaries, who look a shadow of the team they were when beating Town in the play-offs 18 months ago, now face a huge task if they are to finish in the top-six.
McCarthy admitted this week that he had been surprised by the levels of hatred surrounding the East Anglian derby and both sets of supporters exchanged derogatory chants early on in a typically tense atmosphere.
Norwich started the better as Jonny Howson’s shot into a crowded area was scrambled away and Cameron Jerome fired wide from a golden position following a storming run and cross from left-back Mitchell Dijks.
Ipswich’s big first half moment arrived in the ninth minute when David McGoldrick was crudely rugby-tackled to the floor by Dijks when contesting a corner. It looked a nailed on penalty, but referee Oliver Langford bizarrely awarded a home free-kick.
The Canaries got back on the front foot and Town were clinging on for a while as Bartosz Bialkowski showed superb reflexes to prevent an own goal, the Polish keeper tipping the ball over the bar after Dijks’ fizzed low cross pinged off Jonas Knudsen in the six-yard box.
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With Cole Skuse disrupting play and David McGoldrick finding pockets of space, Ipswich finally found a foothold.
Norwich continued to pose the bigger attacking threat though and Ipswich just about got away with a moment of miscommunication between Bialkowski and Christophe Berra.
It had hardly been an advert for Championship football though with the ball spending a lot of time in the air, both defences looking shaky and forwards lacking quality at the vital moments.
Just three minutes into the second half, Norwich had a goal disallowed when Dijks climbed above Spence in the box to convert at a corner. Players and fans celebrated wildly only to realise that the referee had ruled out the goal for Dijks using his arm to put the ball in the net. Moments later, Bialkowski got down smartly to keep out Steven Naimsith’s glancing header.
It was Ipswich who took the lead, however, with their first shot on target. The impressive McGoldrick held the ball up, fed Spence on the right and his deep cross was expertly headed down and back across keeper John Ruddy by Knudsen. The Danish defender – who score the equaliser in the reverse fixture – jumped in amongst the away fans to celebrate.
The home crowd quickly grew restless, but Ipswich were not able to take the sting out of the game. Their lead lasted little more than five minutes as Murphy worked half a yard of room down the side of the box before beating Bialkowski at his near post with a well-struck low shot.
Subs Alex Pritchard and Josh Murphy livened Norwich up and they looked the fresher side in the closing stages. Bialkowski twice had to come to Town’s rescue, producing another breathtaking stop to tip Alex Tettey’s bludgeoned effort over the bar in the 75th minute and diving full-stretch to keep Pritchard’s shot out of the bottom corner.
NORWICH CITY (4-2-3-1): Ruddy; Pinto, Martin (cpt), Klose, Dijks; Tettey, Howson; Ja Murphy, Hoolahan (Pritchard 79), Naismith (Jo Murphy 76); Jerome.
Unused subs: McGovern, Whittaker, Bennett, Wildschut, Lafferty.
IPSWICH TOWN (3-5-2): Bialkowski; Chambers (cpt), Berra, Knudsen; Spence, Ward, Skuse, Huws (Diagouraga 81), Kenlock (Smith 56); McGoldrick, Sears (Moore 74).
Unused subs: Gerken, Emmanuel, Bru, Pitman.
Booked: Smith (59)
Referee: Oliver Langford