Ipswich Town 3 Norwich City 1
Blinkin’ blimey flip, people, we’ve been waiting a long time for this.
Thoroughly deserved, especially if you were there – the TV coverage seemed
to portray Norwich’s performance in a strangely more favourable light, but
their manager’s comments afterwards confirmed how much we really dominated.
It was a terrific performance all round, which will remain long in the
memory whatever else happens this season.
No surprises in the lineup: this really is Magilton’s team now, with only
three players today (De Vos, Richards and Lee) having played under Royle, if
you don’t count Billy Clarke’s single appearance before this season. Jim has
barely put a foot wrong in the transfer and loan market (remember, he’s
still a million quid in credit too), and where a signing has been
disappointing (Macken?), he’s not doggedly continued to play the guy and
pretend things were OK. Now all he needs is for the squad to get settled and
show some commitment, and today he discovered the latter is there, no
Norwich let us play, it has to be said, and only got themselves more sorted
in midfield after the break. I don’t know much about them, but I suspect
they rely a lot on Huckerby and now Chadwick, and both were very quiet. But
we were just relentless, and I didn’t think we would lose for a moment, not
even when we gifted them the goal.
Respect to both teams (except the irritating Huckerby) for playing a derby
in such a committed way without it getting dirty, and with no more bad
temper than any other game. Danny Haynes is becoming a derby-day legend. And
the scenes at the end were priceless, especially the expressions on the
faces of the Norwich supporters, stuck in their seats for twenty minutes.
Overall Town Performance: 9 (5 for effort/4 for achievement)
POLLITT 6 (3/3): A very sound loan signing by Jim. Showed plenty of
experience throughout, although the defence probably needed to realise he
maybe doesn’t have quite the same sprightliness off his line as the two
BATES 7 (3/4), BRUCE 7 (4/3), DE VOS 9 (5/4), HARDING 8 (4/4): Magnificent
across the line, but none more so than Jason, who led by example and made
three Nayloresque goal-saving interruptions in the second half. Matthew
Bates looks absolute class, and whilst he understandably didn’t have the
confidence of Dan Harding, both got forward to great effect while rarely
leaving themselves exposed.
ROBERTS 8 (4/4), LEGWINSKI 8 (4/4), WALTON 6 (3/3), RICHARDS 6 (4/2):
The pond life really needs to get off Matt Richards’ back. Sure, the guy
missed a decent chance, his corners were disappointing and he made a mistake
for their goal. But he never let it get him down, he worked tirelessly
throughout, and he was always there or thereabouts. I doubt any other player
hassled Norwich as much all game. Monica really showed Premiership presence
at times; the goal was magnificent. And Gary Roberts was a constant threat.
CLARKE 7 (4/3), LEE 7 (4/3): Neither got the breaks, but they must have been
a right handful to defend against. Billy was unlucky that it all happened
after he went off, but he’d played his part in wearing the Norwich defence
down. Alan missed a sitter, but was hard done by all match from an
unsympathetic ref who didn’t mind defenders hugging him, jumping on him and
tugging every exposed part.
Subs: HAYNES: Best. Substitute. Ever.
The CROWD were well up for it, as you’d expect. A few empty seats at the
back of the Britannia tell a tale though. The REFEREE wasn’t bad; derby
games which result in only one or two cards are normally as much a credit to
the officials as to the players.
Oh, and did I forget to mention? We beat the scum three-one.