MATCH REPORT: CITY 2-0 IPSWICHNORWICH City earned a 2-0 victory over local rivals Ipswich Town to climb to within just a point of the automatic promotion places in the Sky Bet Championship.
Billed as the biggest derby for years with both teams striving for promotion, the Canaries were solid and combative throughout and goals from Bradley Johnson and Lewis Grabban secured a sixth victory in succession.
The visitors had their moments but City claimed to another cleansheet to continue their remarkable turnaround under the stewardship of Alex Neil in front of a record all-seater crowd of 27,005 at Carrow Road.
Heading into Wednesday's home match again Wigan, Neil's team have all the mometum after earning the East Anglia bragging rights for the fourth time in a row.
Before kick-off, City made just one change from the midweek victory at Blackburn, with Alex Tettey taking the place of Graham Dorrans in midfield.
Dorrans was named among the substitutes alongside among others Gary Hooper, who had fully recovered from the illness that forced his absence at Ewood Park.
Ipswich completed the loan signing of Chris Wood for the game, but he was named on the bench with Freddie Sears partnering top scorer Daryl Murphy in attack.
The atmosphere was raucous at Carrow Road on kick-off, but the first exchanges were untidy and left both 'keepers unoccupied in the early stages.
City steadily built pressure against direct opposition, and with their first real chance of the match they took the lead on 24 minutes through the imperious Johnson.
Wes Hoolahan started the move, playing a one-two with Jonny Howson before picking out Lewis Grabban on the right flank.
Johnson was making his run on the other side, and Grabban's cross found him, and as on Tuesday night, the midfielder unleased a screamer into the top corner, leaving Bartosz Bialkowski with no chance.
The goal came at just the right time for Neil's men, but Ipswich responded strongly, with John Ruddy on hand to make smart saves from both Murphy and Sears.
City were more often the side looking threatening in their own attacking third though, and Hoolahan was largely at the centre of progress, seeing his own looping effort saved by Bialkowski on 38 minutes.
The defensive resolution so evident under Neil's stewardship was clear again too, and the Canaries saw out of the rest of the half to take the advantage into the break.
HALF-TIME: Norwich City 1-0 Ipswich Town
Luke Varney come on for Ipswich at half-time in place of Richard Chaplow, but Norwich were on the front foot straight away.
Johnson powered a difficult header over from Nathan Redmond's corner, before Bialkowski watched Grabban's left-footed strike from 25 yards into his grasp.
Ipswich's edged back into the game but Cameron Jerome's introduction swiftly saw Norwich double their lead.
Just moments after being introduced for Redmond, Hoolahan played him through one-on-one, and although Bialkowski made the save the ball rebounded off Grabban and trickled into the corner.
The goal gave City complete control of the contest, despite Ruddy having to be on hand to keep out Sears' strike from range.
Jerome then should have made it three on 73 minutes after Howson's superb through ball, but Bialkowski this time was equal to it.
With ten minutes left on the clock, City were caught out by a quick free-kick that saw Sears played in on the left side of box, but Russell Martin there to clear off the line and Bassong to head over.
Graham Dorrans came on to shore things up for the home team, and Hooper was introduced in the final minute after Jerome pulled up with an injury.
The Canaries saw the game out in the final few moments to notch their four derby victory in a row, and more importantly, to close the gap to the top two in the table.
FULL-TIME: Norwich City 2-0 Ipswich Town
GOALS: Canaries: Bradley Johnson (24), Lewis Grabban (62)
NORWICH CITY: Ruddy; Whittaker, Martin (c), Bassong, Olsson; Tettey, Johnson; Redmond (Jerome 61 (Hooper 90)), Howson, Hoolahan (Dorrans 83); Grabban. Subs not used: Rudd (GK), Turner, Andreu, Garrido.
IPSWICH TOWN: Bialkowski; Smith, Chambers (c), Berra, Mings; Skuse, Tabb, Chaplow (Varney 45), Bru (Parr 69); Murphy (Wood 79), Sears. Subs not used: Gerken (GK), Clarke, Anderson, Benyu.
REFEREE: Paul Tierney
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