Town blow Canaries away
THIS was a good win against the old rivals, but no one should get carried away because after all it is still just three points.Blow that.It is unlikely there are going to be many better days this season than this sparkling display and win over the not-so-chirpy Canaries.
By Derek Davis
THIS was a good win against the old rivals, but no one should get carried away because after all it is still just three points.
It is unlikely there are going to be many better days this season than this sparkling display and win over the not-so-chirpy Canaries.
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Let the manager and coaches say 'don't go overboard' and just move on to another important game next week. For the fans of Ipswich Town this is one to savour, mull over and then enjoy all over again.
Okay Norwich were dreadful and even second-from-bottom Barnsley on Saturday should put up stiffer opposition but as was said against Luton, you can only beat what is put in front of you.
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Gary Roberts twisted the City defenders' blood, Billy Clarke baffled them with his movement and when Danny Haynes came on he destroyed them as does whenever he plays against them at whatever level.
Town manager Jim Magilton has been calling for a high-tempo game from his side with good movement and incisive football and for the most part he got just that.
And apart from a couple of slight scares and one piece of sloppiness at the back, the defence made a mockery of Rob Earnshaw's prolific goalscoring and Norwich's recent record, which has seen them claim the scalps of West Brom and Birmingham.
In truth Ipswich should have been out of sight before City stunned the Blues with a breakaway goal through Luke Chadwick after Matt Richards made a mess of trying to clear a Darren Huckerby cross.
Gifting the goal simply made the match a tad more interesting in what was pretty much one-way traffic.
Norwich looked as if they had arrived at Portman Road looking to shut up shop and hope for a breakaway goal in order to maintain their eight-year and five-game unbeaten run in Suffolk.
Town accepted the challenge and attacked City from the off, with Alan Lee firing over the bar. The Irish international was even allowed the indulgence of missing a gilt-edged chance from six yards when he headed a Matt Bates cross over the bar.
To make him feel better Richards also spurned a golden opportunity from 10 yards, just as the duo had done the week before against Sheffield Wednesday.
Roberts was once again impressive, this time on the right flank, as he took advantage of the space behind Huckerby and tormented full-back Adam Drury.
He and Billy Clarke were linking well together and it was from a neat piece of interplay between the pair that set up the Blues' deserved equaliser.
Roberts fed Clarke and the Irishman played the ball in for Sylvain Legwinski, who finished from six yards to snatch his fourth goal in half a dozen games.
Although the crowd was a disappointing 2,600 short of capacity, with Norwich selling all their 3,000 allocation, they responded to Town's positive approach and were rewarded with a second half show that surpassed the first.
Although Clarke had been excellent before succumbing to a knee injury, his replacement Danny Haynes upstaged everyone.
The Norwich reject had only been on the pitch less than a minute and had touched the ball just once, when he worked the ball wide with Richards to Roberts.
Haynes found space and when the cross came in he headed decisively past the stricken Paul Gallacher.
The 18-year-old's uncontained joy was shared by the Blues crowd, who sensed more to come. How right they were, although they had to wait until time added on for the third and final goal.
Again it was Haynes after terrific work by Richards, who found the striker unmarked on the 18-yard line.
Showing outstanding quality, Haynes sweetly curled the ball around Gallacher at full stretch and it went in off the inside of a post.
The scoreline could have been much heavier with Jason Shackell heading the ball off his own line after Gallacher had been beaten by Roberts, who finished a jinking run with a delicious chip.
And Jurgen Colin also cleared off his line with the keeper beaten when Lee powered in a header - it just wasn't his day.
The Blues might also have had a penalty when Simon Walton was fouled on the 18-yard line but the referee judged it was outside the area.
Even when Jason De Vos went off for five minutes to have stitches inserted into a head wound, City failed to frighten Town, and the skipper along with Bruce was in fine form in the heart of the defence.
City were restricted to few chances, and Mike Pollitt smothered Earnshaw's close-range effort. The Wales striker also missed with a good header from close range but on the whole the on-loan Wigan keeper had a comfortable debut - as did Matt Bates, who put in a great tackle on Chadwick. The former Manchester United player later needed hospital treatment for a thigh injury as his debut after joining from Stoke soured.
The Blues started the day sixth from bottom but jumped six places with this win and now nestle between Norwich and Colchester in mid-table.
A win at struggling Barnsley will put them within striking distance of the play-offs, but first of all this victory will be savoured all week.