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Ipswich and Norwich share the spoils in tense play-off clash

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Ipswich Town manager Mick McCarthy has said Norwich are now slight favourites to win their play-off semi-final tie after the first-leg at Portman Road ended 1-1.

The match ended 1-1

The match ended 1-1

Howson gave Norwich the lead with a neat finish five minutes before half-time after good work from Cameron Jerome down the left.

Ipswich hit back immediately as John Ruddy spilt a shot from Freddie Sears, allowing substitute Anderson to fire the rebound home.

A cagey and goalless second-half left the tie level ahead of the second leg at Carrow Road next Saturday.

Norwich finished eight points and three places above Ipswich this season, whilst the Canaries won both League clashes between the East Anglian rivals this season.

Speaking to FLW reporter Michael McCann, McCarthy said: “They’ve got to be slight favourites, they’re at home, they finished third and they’re a good side but it doesn’t always work like that.

“To come back against them shows everything that my teams about – if we play as well as we did today we’ll be alright.”

“It (today) was terrific game, a real hard fought game, for a big prize so you’re not going to see a hugely expansive match.”

“We’ve got to win at Norwich. It could be a very nervy affair and we know both teams can defend well so one goal could well decide it.

Meanwhile Norwich manager Alex Neil was left disappointed both by his teams defending for the Ipswich goal, and their inability to convert superior possession into more chances.

Speaking to FLW reporter Michael McCann, Neil said: “Very disappointed with the goal very sloppy from us it’s a great ball up the park and we knew that it was coming – ultimately that cost us.”

“It wasn’t too dissimilar as a game to what I was expecting to be honest – what I was expecting in the first-half was exactly what happened and you need strong men to physically compete.”

“We had more of the ball in the second-half but we struggled to create very much with it – there was much more opportunities in the first-half.”

“We haven’t lost an away game since I’ve been at the club and we have been to some really tough places in that time.”

“It was probably a pretty even game over the ninety minutes – there were two dedicated teams doing their very best for their clubs.
Within the opening ten minutes the home forced a superb double save by John Ruddy after Daryl Murphy got in behind too easily through beating Russell Martin. Murphy crossed for Freddie Sears, whose slot was saved by Ruddy low to his left, before a header from Luke Varney on the rebound was also pushed away.

Ipswich had the stronger opening, with the visitors first chance coming midway through the half as an Alex Tettey shot from outside the box curled just round the right post

Luke Varney was then stretchered off due to an ankle injury, with Paul Anderson coming on to replace the winger, who fell awkwardly.

Norwich led five minutes before the interval as Jerome Cameron broke down the left past Luke Chambers before chipping the ball into the box. It fell kindly for the onrushing Howson, whose right-foot guided the ball neatly into the far corner to open the scoring.

Ipswich then equalised in first-half stoppage time as Sears cut inside and shot, Ruddy could only spill the effort, allowing substitute Anderson to fire in the rebound for his first goal this year.

Nathan Redmond forced a good save from Bialkowski to his right just before the interval to complete a frantic first half of the match and first quarter of this two-legged play-off semi-final.

The second half started as a tight and cagey affair, with both teams struggling for creativity – Norwich had more possession whilst the home side adopted a direct approach through Daryl Murphy that became predictable.

The first notable chance since the interval came in the 66th minute Sears did head over after good work from Chambers.

Both teams made changes to try and influence the game – Norwich brought on playmaker Wes Hoolahan for Graham Dorrans. Meanwhile Kevin Bru replaced Jay Tabb for Ipswich, who made their final substitution soon afterwards as Jonathan Parr came on for Teddy Bishop.

With ten minutes left Bradley Johnson headed over from a Nathan Redmond cross as both teams lacked the incision to create a clear cut chance.

Both teams pushed to claim a winner but both defences appeared relatively solid, with the 1-1 result leaving the tie nicely poised ahead of the 2nd leg at Carrow Road next Saturday.


ScoopDragon Football News Network

Article title: Ipswich and Norwich share the spoils in tense play-off clash

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