Norwich 0-0 Town - Half-Time
Saturday, 16th May 2015 13:15
Town and Norwich remain locked at 0-0 at half-time in their Championship play-off semi-final second leg at Carrow Road, the first game at Portman Road having ended 1-1. Daryl Murphy headed an early chance over for the Blues, while Paul Anderson cleared Canaries' s skipper Russell Martin's strike off the line.
Paul Anderson replaced the injured Luke Varney in an otherwise unchanged Town side, the on-loan Blackburn man having suffered a ruptured achilles in last week’s match. David McGoldrick is again a sub.
Norwich also made one expected change with Wes Hoolahan replacing Graham Dorrans, who drops to the bench.
While the home crowd did their best to emulate the Portman Road atmosphere from last week, the Blues started brightly and created the game’s first chance in the third minute, 27-goal Championship top scorer Daryl Murphy nodding Kevin Bru’s freekick from the right over when he will feel he might have done better.
Town continued to have most of the early possession and on six Anderson crossed from the left but too close to Canaries keeper John Ruddy.
The home side began to see more of the ball and on 11, after a controversially awarded corner on the right, Steven Whittaker curled a 25-yard strike well wide of Bartosz Bialkowski’s goal.
On 13 Murphy seized on a moment of hesitancy from Canaries centre-half Sebastien Bassong on the right and crossed from the byline but too near to Ruddy, who claimed. A minute later, Bru scraped well wide from 25 yards.
First leg goalscorer Anderson was a Town hero again in the 17th minute when, following a corner on the right, the winger blocked Norwich skipper Russell Martin’s low shot from the edge of the box on the line with Bialkowski beaten.
But the expected early Canary pressure had largely failed to materialise with the Blues continuing to have the better of it.
On 20 Teddy Bishop claimed a penalty when skipping past Nathan Redmond as he brought a half-cleared corner back into the box but referee Roger East wasn’t interested. Video replays suggested the Town midfielder may have had a case.
As the clock turned to 21 the Blues support burst into applause in tribute to fan Chris Reynolds, who died aged 21 last month.
On the half hour, with the Blues still on top, Canaries midfielder Bradley Johnson picked up the game’s first yellow card for clattering Bru from behind.
The now-recovered Bru struck another effort from distance on 37 but this time high and wide, Anderson’s harrying having won the ball back deep in the Norwich half.
As in the first leg Cameron Jerome was proving Norwich’s greatest threat and on 41 the former Cardiff man flicked a header which sent Hoolahan away on the left. The Irishman squared to Jonny Howson breaking on the right, but his shot struck Tyrone Mings. Moments later, Johnson wasted a freekick, shooting well over when trying to catch Bialkowski unawares.
Norwich had a brief spell of pressure as the game moved towards injury time but without creating anything significant and the half ended goalless.
Town boss Mick McCarthy will have been the happier manager at the break, the Blues having started strongly and quietened the home support fairly quickly. Despite having threatened once or twice, Norwich had never really got into their stride.
But, while Murphy might have done better with his early header and Bishop may believe he should have won a penalty, the best chance of the first half was Martin’s strike which Anderson cleared off the line. However, after 135 minutes of football the tie is still anybody’s.
Norwich: Ruddy, Whittaker, Martin (c), Bassong, Olsson; Redmond, Howson, Tettey, Johnson, Hoolahan; Jerome. Subs: Rudd, Hooper, E Bennett, Josh Murphy, R Bennett, O'Neil, Dorrans.
Ipswich: Bialkowski, Chambers, Mings, Berra, Smith, Skuse, Bru, Bishop, Anderson, Sears, Murphy. Subs: Gerken, Parr, McGoldrick, S Hunt, N Hunt, Tabb, Clarke. Referee: Roger East (Wiltshire).
Photo: Action Images
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