Monday verdict: Ipswich Town can take heart from first leg draw – there’s not a lot between them and Norwich City

Celebrations after Paul Anderson's equaliser in Saturday's 1-1 draw with Norwich City at Portman Roa

Celebrations after Paul Anderson's equaliser in Saturday's 1-1 draw with Norwich City at Portman Road. Photo: Sarah Lucy Brown - Credit: Archant

Ipswich Town fans have plenty of reasons to feel positive heading into this Saturday’s Championship play-off semi-final second leg match at Norwich City.

The Norfolk hosts will be favourites to go on and win the tie following their 1-1 draw at Portman Road on Saturday.

But the performance of Mick McCarthy’s boys in blue may just have put a few doubts in the previously chirpy Canaries supporters’ minds.

Ipswich, as everyone expected, more then matched their cross-border rivals when it came to yards covered and the physical battle. Just as importantly, they more than matched them in terms of footballing ability too.

Yes, Paul Anderson’s leveller followed a long kick out of keeper Bartosz Bialkowski’s hands. Norwich are in no position to make derogatory comments about style of play though. Their opener, Jonny Howson side-footing home in the 41st minute, also arrived after a long keeper’s kick and an aerial duel.

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Tommy Smith was out-muscled for that goal, but City skipper Russell Martin and keeper John Ruddy also made errors ahead of the equaliser.

It was a fiercely but fairly contested East Anglian derby in which both teams gave everything. It was by no means a classic, but few could argue that a draw wasn’t a fair result.

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The atmosphere inside a packed Portman Road was electric and there is no doubting it will be equally as partisan at Carrow Road on Saturday.

Away goals do not count though and Town can certainly take heart from the fact that they won at Watford and Brentford and drew at the likes of Bournemouth, Wolves and Derby this season.

Earlier in this campaign, Norwich looked to be a slightly classier outfit. Town’s improvements means there now appears to be little between them ahead of a one-game shoot-out for Wembley.

– See today’s EADT and Ipswich Star for match analysis and reaction.

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