Stu says: Five observations following Ipswich Town’s 3-0 defeat at Norwich City
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Ipswich Town lost 3-0 at Norwich City in the East Anglian derby this lunchtime. STUART WATSON gives his thoughts.
HEADS HELD HIGH
Town may be going down but, on this performance, they are going down with a fight.
Onel Hernandez rammed home the opener with just one minute and 21 seconds on the clock. Jonas Knudsen was caught upfield, Jon Nolan was outpaced and Cole Skuse’s defensive header was soft.
Carrow Road was rocking in the rain. The high-flying Canaries had Town chasing shadows. This had the potential to get very messy.
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Instead, the Blues showed guts to get a foothold back in the game.
Then, after Paul Lambert’s red mist moment just before the break, they started to really take the game to their hosts.
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The ultra-clinical Teemu Pukki added two late goals though – his 20th and 21st of the season in all competitions – to give the scoreline a slightly unreflective feel.
NOT CLINICAL ENOUGH
The Blues finished the game leading the possession and shots on goal stats. There were some really encouraging spells.
They don’t test the keeper enough though. And they always find a way to concede. Ipswich are where they are for a reason.
The killer second goal was, in many ways, a perfect snapshot of Town’s campaign.
At one end, Alan Judge dragged a golden chance wide as the Blues threatened to build some pressure. Seconds later, Matthew Pennington gave the ball away high up the field and Emi Buendia slid in Pukki to make it 2-0 with a cool finish across Bartosz Bialkowski on the run.
Pennington was also involved for the third, missing a tackle, as Buendia again provided the assist for Pukki – this time a poked finish on the stretch.
PAUL LAMBERT IS A BLUE…
Paul Lambert prophetically said in the build-up that ‘the emotion of the derby can sometimes get the better of you’.
Moments before half-time he was shown a red card after needing stewards, a television reporter and, finally, a policeman to calm him down.
It was a lunging Jon Nolan foul right in front of the dugouts which lit the blue touch paper.
The initial player melee had just started to peter out when there was an angry exchange of words between members of coaching staff.
Lambert ended up racing across to give assistant boss Stuart Taylor back-up. He squared up aggressively to City’s goalkeeper coach Ed Wootten and then delivered a push to the chest.
The Blues boss was eventually dismissed and, potentially through a case of mistaken identity, so was Norwich’s head of performance Chris Domogalla.
Lambert took his place in the directors’ box at the start of the second half. His players came out breathing fire.
There were several second half flashpoints. Referee Peter Bankes allowed a lot to go and still managed to hand out seven bookings.
Town fans have been chanting for weeks now that their former Canaries manager ‘is a blue and hates Norwich’. Turns out they were right.
How ironic that this moment came almost a year to the day that Mick McCarthy told his own fans to ‘f*** off’ at Carrow Road.
WE’LL MEET AGAIN…
Norwich can now talk about a ‘decade of derby dominance’ (W7 D5).
This victory actually sees them edge ahead in the historical head-to-head stats (41-10-40).
City move five points clear of third-place Sheffield United. Defeat leaves Town nine points adrift of safety at the bottom.
There are 42 points between the sides.
The chirpy Canaries fans chanted ‘we’ll never play you again’ towards the end.
We’ve heard that from both sides of the border following relegations before though. Within a year it can come back and bite you on the backside.
Things can change very quickly in football.
POSITIVES AND NEGATIVES
A concern – Freddie Sears limping off. He looked in some discomfort after a hyper extension of the knee.
A positive – the display of Teddy Bishop off the bench. The midfielder’s dancing feet drew several fouls and had Norwich backpedaling in the week he signed a new deal.
A concern – Cole Skuse looking very much off the pace. He looked a player reborn early in the Lambert reign but has been a shadow of himself since rushing back from knee surgery.
A positive – Alan Judge’s energy and movement. He could be one hell of a player for League One if the Blues get back to anywhere near his pre broken leg levels.
It’s all about building for the future now. Town now have home games against Derby (Weds) and Stoke (Sat).