James Maddison’s brilliant second-half strike saw Norwich City take the spoils in the first East Anglian derby of the season with a 1-0 victory over Ipswich Town as Portman Road.
Maddison’s curler on the hour mark set alight a very open match in Suffolk to extend City’s unbeaten run in the league and move them into the Sky Bet Championship play-off positions.
Daniel Farke made just two alterations to his starting eleven with Marco Stiepermann and Wes Hoolahan coming into the side in place of James Husband and Mario Vrancic.
The match started at a frenetic pace and it was the hosts who went closest to breaking the deadlock inside five minutes. Ivo Pinto appeared to have been fouled by Jonas Knudsen by the referee waved play on and the Ipswich defender then rattled the post with a powerful strike.
City did enjoy periods of possession in the early stages and on 12 minutes, after patient build-up play, the ball was moved to Stiepermann on the left hand side but his right-footed shot went wide.
The Canaries were superior for the next 20 minutes with Yanic Wildschut twice forcing Bartosz Bialkowski into action and James Maddison, with a right-footed curler, and Cameron Jerome, with a point-blank header, both missing the target from good positions.
Ipswich finished the half strongly though and their best chance fell to David McGoldrick who headed an in-swinging corner over the bar, much to the dismay of the home support.
The second half continuted on the game’s topsy-turvy nature but it was City who seized the intiative on the hour mark. Wildschut and Stiepermann combined on the left-hand side and the latter fed Maddison just inside the box who picked out the far corner of Bialkowski’s goal with a precise finish.
There were worrying signs for City moments later when Christoph Zimmermann was forced to withdraw from the game through injury. However, his replacement Grant Hanley played a key role in a defensive unit which shut Ipswich out completely for the remainder of the game. The best chance they could muster was a Martyn Waghorn effort with seven minutes to play but he dragged his strike straight into the arms of Angus Gunn.
The fourth official held up four minutes on his board but City saw out the final stages to make it eight games unbeaten in the Sky Bet Championship. The victory also extended their unbeaten run in East Anglian derbies to nine fixtures.