It was honours even in the latest East Anglian derby as Norwich and Ipswich played out a 1-1 draw at Carrow Road on Sunday.
The return of Ivo Pinto and Steven Naismith were welcome as the sides were announced at 11am. We’ve definitely missed the pace of Pinto, although to be fair to him, Steven Whittaker hadn’t done anything wrong as he deputised for the Portuguese fan favourite.
The first half was controlled by Norwich, although City struggled to make any real clear cut chances, with efforts from Howson and Jerome going just wide. At the other end, David McGoldrick was pulled to the ground at a corner (their only one) by Mitchell Dijks, with the Dutchman lucky not to concede a penalty.
The Ipswich keeper, Bartosz Bialkowski then had to make a superb reaction save from one of his own players to keep the scores level.
A great run by Mitchell Dijks saw him skin the full back and send a ball into the corridor of uncertainty. The ball fell to Knudsen and he inadvertently sent the ball goalwards with Bialkowski somehow palming the ball over from close range.
The funniest moment of the afternoon came on 15 minutes when the City faithful stood and started a minute’s applause in honour of Ipswich Town’s 15th consecutive season in the Championship – some of the Ipswich fans and even some of their bench joined in before realising. Priceless.
John Ruddy didn’t have a save to make in that first half but despite all their endeavour, City didn’t test Bialkowski anywhere near enough.
The second half was only three minutes old when City had a goal disallowed.
Mitchell Dijks bundled home from a corner but he used his forearm and couldn’t complain when the referee, the rather pedantic Oliver Langford, ruled it out.
Of course, when you have all that possession and create chances without taking them, you’re always open to a sucker punch and that is exactly what happened on 63 minutes when the ball was pushed out to Spence on the right.
His cross to the far post was met by Knudsen, who had run past Murphy and his downward header gave Ruddy no chance.
The Ipswich fans (and their bench) went absolutely mental with a couple of tools jumping over the advertising hoardings before being bundled to the ground by the Police and stewards.
There was a bit of a delay as the referee waited for the tools to be dragged away in handcuffs, which of course, they were.
The visitors’ lead only lasted six minutes though as a neat ball from Wes Hoolahan played Jacob Murphy in on the right of the Ipswich area. Murphy fired a powerful low shot past Bialkowski at his near post and the scores were level.
The Ipswich keeper redeemed himself later though when he got a hand to a thunderbolt from Alex Tettey (although it was straight at him) and also, twice he got down low to his right to keep out goalbound efforts from Naismith and Pritchard.
Norwich finished the game having had 23 shots to the visitors’ 4 and 14 corners to Ipswich’s 1. The big moments in the match were all Canary yellow but that matters not a joint because the points were shared.
City found Bialkowski in (almost) imperious form and I suppose that this match could be used as an example of how our whole season has gone.
Lots of possession and then concede a goal at the far post.
This match meant more to Ipswich than it did to Norwich, to the fans anyway, I’d say.
They don’t have a lot of success these days at Portman Road, despite bringing along a small poster that asked ‘Is it cold in our shadow?’
Nottingham Forest used to have a lot of successs and be a big team but that was a long time ago. My experience of Forest fans is that they are exactly the same as Ipswich fans, always banging on about the past. That’s all well and good but it’s what happens when you haven’t got anything in the present to cling onto.
I wonder what happens when Forest play Ipswich? Do the Forest fans taunt the Ipswich fans about their solitary, paltry UEFA cup win? ‘Champions of Europe, you’ll never sing that.’
Those Tractor Boys must hate playing Forest.
Today we saw a poor game of football that Norwich didn’t win, despite creating more than enough opportunities to do so. We needed the points and didn’t get them, we move on and go again at Hillsborough next Saturday.