NORWICH CITY 1-1 IPSWICH TOWN; THE ACN REVIEW

27/02/17

They celebrated like they'd won the league, bless their little cotton socks. Jon Punt and Andy Lawn take a look at a frustrating afternoon of opportunities wasted.

Random star performer

Nobody in a yellow shirt really shone, but Jonny Howson was once again quietly faultless. He may not play the final pass, or spank one in from 175 yards every week, but his drive and tempo provides much of our attacking purpose. Mentions too for Mitchell Dijks who had an excellent first half, but looked to be running on empty after an hour and required energy gels to be sent his way for the last quarter. Not surprising given his complete lack of first team football until he crossed the North Sea this season and we could have a proper player on our hands if we can get him fit and lock him away over the summer. Does anyone have a spare cupboard/pantry which can accommodate 6ft 4's worth of strapping Dutchman? We've checked Air BnB but drawn a blank so far.

Moment of the match

Jacob's goal came at a key time as you sensed the frustration was rising, but purely for its excellent unique mockery; the minutes applause. As the derby day back and forth descends into its usual "recently we're much better than you" v "we have a great history", the minutes applause was a genuinely unique bit of piss-taking that shined a light on their history for all to see (and hear). It may have the added benefit of shutting down a ridiculous growing trend for minutes applause for someone, however loosely connected to football, every week. Ok, it won't, but it's nice to dream.

Biggest positive

Still unbeaten against them this decade, despite not really getting out of 3rd gear and gifting them a goal. Mick and his cohorts may bleat about our parachute payments (as if they're more immoral than not paying creditors including the St Johns Ambulance) but we look much more like an actual football team and despite doing everything we can think of to throw points away, the season still isn't over. Theirs is.

Weekly whinge

Another week, another soft goal to concede costing valuable points. Jacob Murphy demonstrated he's far from the finished article by failing to take instruction and track his man, leaving Knudsen to ghost in for the easiest of headers.

Defensively we're still more porous than a Donald Trump "fact" about Sweden. A season of what ifs goes on.

Atmosphere

An average derby day atmosphere in many ways. When it was good it was great, helped by Town deciding to join in with some noise for the first time in a few meetings, but there were periods of near silence. Maybe it was the nerves, the significance of the occasion for Norwich's season wasn't lost on the crowd who after City were awarded a corner deep into stoppage time decided it was probably best not to chant at all and just see what happens.

The OTBC before kick off was spine tingling, if everyone sang the song all the time, Carrow Road would be bouncing. Today it bounced a bit, then rolled.

And then there was that chant from the Blues. You know the one, when they inventively decided they were "still famous" and we were "still shit". Now the latter statement could have some merit, but the delusional belief Ipswich maintain a level of fame is next level thinking from the away support.

They weren't done there though. "Champions of Europe, you'll never sing that" bellowed out with passion and pride. Bless them. So far in the past is their history, Ipswich have actually forgotten which trophies they've won. Last time I checked UEFA Cup victory didn't bestow upon you the title of "Champions of Europe". Try harder lads, its getting really boring now and you're just embarrassing yourselves.

Referee watch

TV replays seemed to suggest Oliver Langford denied Town a clear early penalty so kudos for that, but disallowing Dijks' goal for a fairly obvious handball even from the other end of the ground was a poor show. He could easily have carded Jacob for the most professional 'stop the counter' foul you'll see all season and generally tried to let the game flow, pausing it just long enough for the stewards to clear two chubby blues and a 'goal' too early smoke bomb. Not bad, and certainly better than the last time out when he harshly red carded Robbie Brady (who?) at Griffin Park.

Summary

Meh. It was alright, but it wasn't a play-off semi final winning 3-1 romp in the sunshine. We played ok and could (should) have won. But. We didn't lose and too often this season we have.

The reintroduction of Steven Naismith made sense pre-match. His experience, work rate and ability to get in the referee's ear every 2 minutes should have proved invaluable in such an encounter. However, the front 3 never really clicked, failing to create the kind of spark needed to put Town out of their misery. Pritchard was purposeful after coming on, and it was pleasing that Alex Neil's substitutions positively impacted proceedings, there was only one possible winner going into the final stages of the game. You get the sense had Nelson Oliveira been available off the bench he may just have made the difference.

Next week is more important long term than today, win and the season remains alive. Lose and we'll have at least 2 more derbies to look forward to next year.

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