Norwich dominate East Anglian derby to knock Leeds off top
Paul Lambert endured a miserable return to Carrow Road as he was sent off in fiery affair
Norwich City’s Teemu Pukk celebrates scoring his side’s third goal of the game during the Champioship match at Carrow Road, Norwich. Photo: Nigel French/PA Wire
Norwich City 3 Ipswich Town 0
The most galling aspect of an excruciating afternoon for Paul Lambert might be that, by the end, it was the Norwich supporters singing his name from the rafters. It was not supposed to be that way on his return to Carrow Road, where he won back-to-back promotions at the start of the decade, with Ipswich but the kind of assignment he outwardly relishes turned into a nightmare.
Lambert was shown a red card by the referee, Peter Bankes, in first-half added time afte r a confrontation between the benches that required police intervention to assuage. At that point his side were a goal down to Onel Hernández’s second-minute strike. Teemu Pukki would add two doses of further punishment and the old rivals’ wildly differing directions of travel – Norwich’s towards the Premier League while Ipswich sink into the third tier – were underlined emphatically.
In the buildup Lambert had stated that he would cope with any abuse Norwich’s fans threw at him. In the event his emergence from the tunnel drew a few boos but little to hint at the tumult that would erupt later on.
His afternoon already seemed complicated enough when, within 82 seconds, an already boisterous home support erupted. Ipswich had begun as if inclined to put themselves about but left their entire left flank clear for Max Aarons, the 19-year-old Norwich right-back, to attack at speed. Hernández’s first attempt, a volley after controlling Aarons’ low delivery, was blocked. The ball eventually spun to the far post for Mario Vrancic, taking a whack for his troubles, to bravely head across goal and this time the Cuban winger swept in from close range.
In those early moments Ipswich could hardly get near their hosts. Out of possession they were outmanoeuvred at will; when they did get on the ball, Norwich’s pressing quickly flustered them into errors. It was a tornado of a start from Daniel Farke’s team and when Aarons, scooting to the byline, cut back for Pukki to clip wide the prospect of inflicting overwhelming embarrassment on their rivals seemed real.
By the end of the first half, though, Lambert’s side had gained a foothold and threatened intermittently, usually via the deft promptings of Alan Judge. They could go in at the break with some hope but not before, in a turn of events no scriptwriter would have dared consider, Lambert had been banished to the stands in added time. When players from both sides piled in after Jon Nolan’s poor challenge on Aarons in front of the dugouts, it initially seemed a standard case of derby tensions running high.
But Lambert appeared to take exception to a verbal contribution from the Norwich bench, sparking a ruck that led to the seething Ipswich manager being ushered away by police. The situation had barely calmed before Lambert and the Norwich head of performance, Chris Domogalla, were sent off, although it was unclear that Domogalla was actually the correct recipient.
Farke, who winked at another of his colleagues in the aftermath, must have hoped his team would regain their earlier control upon re-emerging. But Ipswich, presumably given the full benefit of Lambert’s rhetorical skills in the dressing room, came out a yard quicker and twice drew important blocks from the Norwich skipper Christoph Zimmermann.
In the 65th minute Judge shot narrowly wide and it was clear enough, from the hum of anxiety in the stands, that Norwich needed to sharpen up. As tends to be the case for the division’s better sides, they found a way to clear their heads immediately. Pukki, slotting coolly past Bartosz Bialkowski after Emi Buendia had picked up a loose Matthew Pennington pass, doubled their lead with his 19th goal of the season and, in those two opportunities, the story of both teams’ seasons could be accurately told.
Pukki saw a header ruled out for offside but was legally positioned, 10 minutes from time, to prod in another Buendia pass as Norwich exploited space with ease. A green smoke bomb erupted behind the goal; celebrations of greater volume seem likely in May but for Ipswich, and perhaps Lambert, too, there has rarely been desolation like this. – Guardian service