CITY proved emphatic East Anglian derby day winners again as they thrashed Ipswich Town 5-1 at Portman Road to push themselves back into second place for the race for automatic promotion, as well as guaranteeing a place in the play-offs.
A great first half performance saw City take a 2-0 lead into the half-time break - a 13th minute opener from Andrew Surman, his second in consecutive games came after former Canary youngster Arran Lee-Barrett paried a Wes Hoolahan shot into the midfielder's path to put City ahead.
A bizarre own-goal by Ipswich defender Gareth McAuley followed, his third scored for the Canaries in defence for other clubs, to put City into a two-goal lead - a David Fox corner was missed by everyone in a packed penalty area before McAuley inadvertently flicked the ball into the back of his own net.
After the break Ipswich tried to pull themselves back into the game with Jimmy Bullard heavily involved in midfield, but the Canaries put themselves three goals ahead catching Town on the break - Simeon Jackson latching onto a Grant Holt cross to score his fifth goal in five games.
Bullard scored a great individual effort from 25 yards on 78 minutes but the Canaries proved so dangerous on the break and further goals by Russell Martin and Dani Pacheco - his first for in Canary colours - ended a great night for Norwich City.
On City's performance, Paul Lambert said: "They were absolutely outstanding, from start to finish it was just a magnificent effort. The way we played was extraordinary at times."
"What the lads have done for me has been incredible, I can't praise them enough for their commitment and what they've done.
"I've been involved in some huge, huge games since I arrived at this Club, but that was right up with them. The fans and the players as I've always said are vital and they were both magnificent tonight.
"Forget everything else, if you've got those two things going for you at a Football Club then that's a great thing."
City were unchanged from the side that beat play-off chasing Nottingham Forest 2-1 at Carrow Road the week before - skipper Grant Holt fit enough to play partnering Simeon Jackson up front. For Town midfielder Grant Leadbitter overcame the head injury which had seen him stretchered off against Bristol Rovers last weekend.
And the Canaries were straight out of the blocks. Wes Hoolahan got early control of the ball in the first minute before feeding Andrew Crofts just outside Town's box who put a cross into Grant Holt to rise high but his header was deflected out for a corner.
Minutes later City were at it again as Zak Whitbread knocked on for Hoolahan to nip into the box before the Irishman went down under the challenge of Gareth McAuley. Referee Jon Moss waved play on and Lee-Barrett gratefully took control of the ball.
Town's first chance came on nine minutes, Jason Scotland cutting inside from the right and putting a low shot at goal only to be denied by a comfortable save from John Ruddy.
City's David Fox picked up an early booking for a late challenge on David Norris, before Ipswich youngster Connor Wickham looked to claim an unlikely lead through a strong run just a minute later, showing good pace down the left but his shot was high and wide of the angle.
But in the 13th minute the Canaries did take the lead their play deserved - good link-up play from the left by Hoolahan and Surman saw the Irishman put a low cross into the Town box which Lee-Barrett paried only for Surman, who had continued his run, comfortably slotted home.
Ipswich looked to produce an immediate response two minutes later as Jimmy Bullard, on loan to Ipswich from Hull, had an attempt from just outside the box, but Ruddy got behind the ball and collected comfortably.
Bullard was at it again as his free-kick caused trouble in the City area before Josh Carson flashed the rebound just wide from a crowded penalty area. Play quickly switched to the other end through Simeon Jackson earning a corner from Delaney.
From that Fox swung a delivery in and through a crowd of players the ball spun up into the back of the net possibly coming off Town defender Gareth McAuley.
In the 28th minute Zak Whitbread was the second Canary player to enter referee Jon Moss' notebook, catching Carson about 22-yards out. Bullard stepped up and with Ruddy stranded the ball dropped agonisingly wide.
City were finding some good space in the Town half and Simeon Jackson just narrowly missed wriggling through again on 32 minutes but the home defence just managed to clear their lines.
Six minutes later and the Canaries had another great move - Holt coming deep to collect before releasing Russell Martin down the right, but the defender's cross was just a little too strong for Surman who tried to reach it and it drifted out for a Town goal-kick.
As the first half came to a close, a mix up in the Ipswich box caused by pressure from Simeon Jackson saw Delaney put a dangerous back header towards his 'keeper but only put Holt in on goal. However, it bounced too high for the Canary skipper and Lee-Barrett managed to block his hooked effort and it rebounded off Holt for a goal-kick.
Half-time: Ipswich Town 0, Norwich City 2
Two goals down, Town made one substitute at half-time Andy Drury replacing striker Jason Scotland. No changes for City.
And looking for a route back into the match, the first chance of the second half fell Ipswich and to Bullard. David Norris put in a good ball into the box which Whitbread headed out to the midfielder who hit his shot well and it narrowly flew wide.
Ipswich threatened to pull one back just a few minutes later as Ipswich broke from a City corner. Town cleared Fox's delivery and broke in numbers but the move ended in substitute Drury's high and wide shot.
On 55 minutes Ipswich were awarded a free-kick on the right-edge of City's box - Tierney booked for a foul on Carson. Lining up the effort, Bullard slipped when hitting the delivery but Ruddy conceded a corner.
Elliott Ward made a timely interception on the hour mark just getting a toe on the ball as Wickham tried to jink his way into City's area, before Andrew Crofts had an effort to put the game beyond doubt only for his shot to just clip the roof of the net.
With less than twenty minutes remaining, Simeon Jackson's hard work throughout the match paid off. A long ball to Holt on the right saw the Canary skipper shrug off the challenge of Delaney and put in a cross for Jackson to get ahead of his marker and place the ball into the net.
City boss Paul Lambert then made his first change of the evening replacing Fox with Henri Lansbury.
Three minutes later Town gave themselves hope with a great individual effort by Jimmy Bullard. The midfielder making space for himself and then curling an effort high into the top left-hand corner of the goal from about 25 yards giving Ruddy no chance.
But with Town pushing for a second the Canaries caught the home side on the break, Hoolahan winning possession and running at the Town defence and with Jackson and Russell Martin supporting the Irishman his ball was met by the Canary right-back at the far post to make it 4-1.
It immediately ended any slight hope Ipswich had and with seven minutes to go skipper Grant Holt was brought off to warm applause from the visiting supporters - City's talisman putting in a Captain's performance following his recent hamstring injury.
On 84 minutes City's final substitution was made Dani Pacheco coming on for play-maker Hoolahan. Two minutes later Pacheco was straight into the action after Surman played him in but under pressure from McAuley the ball was cleared.
Chances then fell at both ends Carlos Edwards' dangerous ball from the right just manged to evade everyone and thankfully Wickham and Drury who had pushed int the box. And then straight up the other end Jackson hit the ball into the side netting after winning the ball in the box.
With a minute left on the clock Surman let fly with a great effort on the volley after Lansbury had found him in space on the edge of the box.
And then in stoppage time it was 5-1 Sam Vokes, Dani Pacheco and Jackson all combining after breaking and with the Town defence left in shatters, Jackson initially hit the bar but the Liverpool loanee was on hand to control and follow in the rebound scoring his first for City and the Canaries fifth.
Final score: Ipswich Town 1, Norwich City 5
CITY: Ruddy, R. Martin, Whitbread, Crofts, Holt (c) (Vokes), Jackson, Surman, Hoolahan (Pacheco), Fox (Lansbury), Ward, Tierney. Subs not used: Rudd, Edwards, Lappin, McNamee.
TOWN: Lee-Barrett, McAuley, Delaney, Leadbitter, Edwards, Norris (c), Wickham, Scotland (Drury 46), Bullard, Carson, O'Dea. Subs not used: Fulop, Peters, Brown, Healy, Civelli, Whight.