Saturday 16 February 2019

Norwich move back to top of Championship after comfortable win in feisty Old Farm derby

Norwich City 3 Ipswich Town 0

Onel Hernandez during a Championship match at Carrow Road, Norwich (Mark Pain/PA)
Onel Hernandez during a Championship match at Carrow Road, Norwich (Mark Pain/PA)
Independent.ie Newsdesk

Independent.ie Newsdesk

Norwich recorded a comfortable 3-0 win over struggling neighbours Ipswich to move back to the top of the Sky Bet Championship.

Teemu Pukki scored twice to take his tally for the season up to 21 after a goal after just 80 seconds from Onel Hernandez had put the Canaries in the driving seat at Carrow Road.

The win took Norwich two points above Leeds, who drew at Middlesbrough on Saturday, and left Town rooted to the foot of the table nine points from safeti.

To cap a miserable day for the visitors, manager Paul Lambert was sent off just before the interval after an angry altercation with one of the home coaches and had to watch the second period of what was a feisty encounter - seven yellow cards being shown in total - from the directors' box.

Norwich could not have wished for a better start as they took the lead from their very first attack.

Max Aarons set things up with a speedy dash down the right wing, sending in a cross that was fired towards goal by Hernandez. The effort was blocked but rebounded to Mario Vrancic who headed the ball back into the danger area and Hernandez was there to apply the finishing touch from close range.

The Canaries almost made it two after eight minutes when Aarons got to byline and cut the ball back to Pukki who fired into the side-netting when well placed.

Vrancic curled a shot just over as the high-flying hosts continued to press but their lowly neighbours were battling hard and gradually got a foothold in the game, with skipper Luke Chambers sending a free header wastefully over the bar and Trevor Chalobah missing the target from just outside the box.

Both sides lost players to injury in the latter stages of the first half - Freddie Sears for Ipswich and Vrancic for Norwich - before the emotions of the occasion boiled over in stoppage-time.

A poor tackle on Aarons by Jon Nolan right in front of the dug-outs prompted an ugly pushing and shoving match between both sets of the players - and then the staff got involved, with Norwich's head of performance Chris Domogalla and Town boss Lambert squaring up to each other.

It took a mixture of stewards and police to restore order, with referee Peter Bankes eventually showing a yellow card to Nolan - and reds to Domogalla and Lambert.

With assistant manager Stuart Taylor now leading operations on the bench, Town immediate found themselves on the back foot as the second half resumed and it took a fine tackle from Matt Pennington to deny Pukki as the Finn prepared to pull the trigger.

Ipswich substitute Ellis Harrison was also foiled by a good block as the visitors continued to make a game of it, with Alan Judge then firing just wide after a quick break.

But Norwich then restored order with a beautifully worked second goal from top scorer Pukki. He was picked out by a perfectly-weighted ball from Emi Buendia and produced an ice-cool finish into the far corner.

Marco Stiepermann should have completely wrapped it up four minutes later after a quick break left Town short at the break but, with just the keeper to beat, he chose to try and square the ball to Pukki and the danger was cleared.

Pukki had a close-range header ruled out for offside as the Canaries began to dominate for the first time since the opening stages.

And the Buendia-Pukki combination worked beautifully again with 80 minutes on the clock to put the hosts out of sight.

The Argentinian midfielder again had the vision to spot a run into the box by the City striker and once more the Finn produced a nerveless finish to slide the ball past Bartosz Bialkowski.

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