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Match Reports

Norwich City v Ipswich Town

16 May 2015


NORWICH City will contest a Wembley final for the first time in 30 years after a 3-1 win over rivals Ipswich Town secured a 4-2 aggregate victory in their Sky Bet Championship play-off semi-final.

The Canaries will face Middlesbrough at English football's showpiece stadium on May 25 for a place in next season's Premier League after a triumphant afternoon at Carrow Road.

A dour first half gave way to a thrilling second, with Wes Hoolahan opening the scoring on 50 minutes from the penalty spot after Christophe Berra handled on the line and was subsequently sent off.

Tommy Smith levelled against the run of play but City pressed home their man advantage as Nathan Redmond and Cameron Jerome wrote themselves into derby history with the vital second and third goals.

The ultimate prize is still to be fought for, but this was an afternoon that will never be forgotten by those in yellow and green as supporters spilled onto the pitch at the end in scenes of celebration.

Without any injury concerns and only Lewis Grabban missing through suspension, Alex Neil made one tactical switch from the last weekend's first leg at Portman Road.

Hoolahan returned to the starting eleven to add another dimension to the Canaries' attack, with Graham Dorrans having to settle for a place among the substitutes.

Also making it onto the bench was Josh Murphy, fresh from his hat-trick for the Under-21s against Liverpool at Anfield on Monday.

Ipswich also made just the single alteration, with Paul Anderson replacing the injured Luke Varney, and it was them who started on the front foot.

City failed to retain possession effectively in the early stages, and it was Town's leading scorer Daryl Murphy who nodded over the game's first opportunity after just three minutes.

Steven Whittaker skewed a left-footed shot well wide as City made an impression on their visitors' half for the first time, but then on 16 minutes they went close to taking the lead.

From Redmond's corner, captain Russell Martin fired at goal on the turn, and the ball would have nestled in the corner had Anderson not been stationed on the line to hook it away.

Neil's men slowly started to play their football, but it was a first half lacking any true rhythm - which was probably how most expected it to be play out given the extraordinary context of the game.

Towards the end of the half, first leg scorer Jonny Howson was twice presented with the opportunity to fire at goal, but he didn't connect properly with either and the half-time score of 0-0 reflected the quality of the play.

HALF-TIME: Norwich City 0-0 Ipswich Town(1-1)

City attacked in the first minute of the second half, and after Howson's pull-back Jerome fell under the challenge of Tommy Smith but no penalty was given.

Up the other end, Freddie Sears sliced an effort wide but the momentum was suddenly with the Canaries and on 49 minutes, they took a hold on the game in dramatic fashion.

Redmond cut inside and got a shot away, and Berra, on the line, kept the ball from goal with his hand, with referee Roger East having no hesitation in pointing to the spot - and dismissing the defender for deliberate handball.

Hoolahan, who scored at the same end from 12 yards against Nottingham Forest earlier in the season, sent Bartosz Bialkowski the wrong way and sent the home supporters into ecstasy.

The semi-final was now firmly in Norwich's control - but they dealt a suckerpunch ten minutes later when static defending cost the Canaries dear from the set-piece.

Teddy Bishop's high ball was won by Murphy, and Smith nipped in front of Ruddy, rounding the City goalkeeper and drawing the ten-men level.

But just four minutes on, Neil's men were back in front after a clinical finish from Redmond.

Martin Olsson's original drive was saved, with the ball dropping to Howson, who showed the composure to lay the ball off to Redmond, who drilled it beyond Bialkowski and in.

Jerome should have given City some more breathing space on 71 but somehow guided Howson's cross the wrong side of the post, but six minutes later he atoned for the miss.

Redmond was at the centre of things again, sliding a perfectly weighted through ball that Jerome latched onto, poking it first time around the 'keeper.

The two-goal cushion allowed City to see out the rest of the game with ease, and supporters rushed onto the pitch at the final whistle to join in the party.

FULL-TIME: Norwich City 3-1 Ipswich Town (4-2)

GOALS: Canaries: Wes Hoolahan (pen 50), Nathan Redmond (64), Cameron Jerome (77) - Tractor Boys: Tommy Smith (60)

NORWICH CITY: Ruddy; Whittaker, Martin (c), Bassong, Olsson; Redmond, Howson, Tettey, Johnson (E Bennett 87); Hoolahan (Dorrans 74); Jerome (Hooper 83). Subs not used: Rudd (GK), Josh Murphy, R Bennett, O'Neil.

IPSWICH TOWN: Bialkowski; Mings, Chambers (c), Smith, Berra, Skuse, Murphy, Anderson (N Hunt 83), Bru (Tabb 71), Sears, Bishop (McGoldrick 71). Subs not used: Gerken (GK), Parr, Clarke, S Hunt.

REFEREE: Roger East


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