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Norwich City 3-1 Town (4-2 on Aggregate)
Saturday, 16th May 2015 14:31

Town will play Championship football once again in 2015/16 after they were defeated 3-1 by Norwich City in the second leg of their play-off semi-final second leg, having been reduced to 10 men when Christophe Berra was red-carded just after half-time. With first game having ended 1-1 at Portman Road, the tie was turned in the 48th minute when Berra handled Nathan Redmond’s goalbound shot and was dismissed. Hoolahan scored from the spot, Smith equalised for the Blues soon after but goals from Redmond and Cameron Jerome sealed the place at Wembley for the Canaries.

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. After 135 minutes of football the tie was still anybody’s.

Norwich threatened within seconds of the restart, Howson cut on from the right and played the ball into Jerome, who had his back to goal and went to ground under pressure from Tommy Smith. The loose ball was played out to Martin Olsson on the left but his shot was blocked and Bru cleared.

Town immediately broke through Sears but the former Colchester United man shot into the side-netting.

Four minutes into the second half, Town were struck by a huge double blow. Mings inadvertently fed Hoolahan down the centre, who found Redmond breaking into the area in space on the left. The former Birmingham man drew Bialkowski before hitting a goalbound effort which Berra, who had taken up a position on the line, stopped with his left arm.

Referee East pointed straight to the spot and showed Berra Town’s first red card of the season. The Scotland international had little complaint as he made his way to the tunnel.

Hoolahan took the spotkick and hit the ball to Bialkowski’s right with the keeper diving in the opposite direction to make it 1-0 on the day and 2-1 on aggregate.

Skipper Chambers moved to centre-half and Anderson to right-back as the 10-man Blues reorganised as they looked to get their Wembley dream back on track.

And on right on the hour, Town levelled. Bishop sent over a freekick from the left, Murphy headed down towards goal and Smith skipped in to take the ball past Ruddy before scuffing into the net right-footed from a matter of inches.

The former academy player was mobbed by his team-mates before running to celebrate with the ecstatic Blues support.

But parity was to last only four minutes. Bialkowski saved Olsson’s shot from the left, the loose ball eventually reaching Howson, who fed Redmond to his right and the England U21 international smashed a low shot under the Blues keeper and into the net to restore the Canaries’ lead.

Given their numerical advantage it was no surprise that the home side were by now dominating possession and on 70 they came close to increasing their lead when Howson crossed from the right and Jerome somehow managed to turn it across the face of goal when it seemed easier to score.

The Blues switched Bishop and Bru for Jay Tabb and David McGoldrick as they sought to get themselves on terms for a second time. Three minutes after coming on McGoldrick cleverly fed Mings on the left but the left-back overran the ball.

But the result was all but sealed in the 77th minute when Jerome was played in on goal by Redmond and touched the ball past the advancing Bialkowski and into the net to make it 3-1 on the day and 4-2 on aggregate. There would be no way back for the 10 men from here.

Redmond should have made it four on 80 when Howson him in on goal but he dallied and Mings got back to stab the ball away from him for a corner.

Anderson was replaced by Noel Hunt for the final seven minutes, while Gary Hooper took over from Jerome for the Canaries.

Town continued to look for a way back into the game, Chambers fed in Sears but Bassong stabbed the ball away from the Blues striker.

In injury time McGoldrick scuffed wide, then Skuse was booked for a foul before the game briefly threatened to boil over following a clash between Smith and Redmond but the referee restored order.

Soon after, referee east blew the final whistle to confirm Norwich’s place in the final against Middlesbrough and Town’s 14th successive Championship season.

The Blues can hold their heads high after a typically resilient performance in very touch circumstances.

Having shaded the first half, the match was turned by the penalty incident with Berra seemingly sticking out an instinctive arm to keep the shot out.

The Blues showed their usual resolve to get back into the match but in the end the additional player made the difference and the Canaries took two of their opportunities.

While the defeat to the Canaries is a hugely disappointing way to end the campaign, overall the season has matched the pre-season target of reaching the play-offs, however, that will come as little consolation so soon after the final whistle consigned the Blues to yet another play-off semi-final defeat.

Norwich: Ruddy, Whittaker, Martin (c), Bassong, Olsson, Redmond, Howson, Tettey, Johnson (E Bennett 87), Hoolahan (Dorrans 74), Jerome (Hooper 84). Unused: Rudd, Josh Murphy, R Bennett, O'Neil.

Ipswich: Bialkowski, Chambers, Mings, Berra, Smith, Skuse, Bru (Tabb 71), Bishop (McGoldrick 71), Anderson (N Hunt 84), Sears, Murphy. Unused: Gerken, Parr, S Hunt, Clarke. Referee: Roger East (Wiltshire). Att: 26,994.

Photo: Action Images

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Elizabeth added 14:53 - May 16
A tremendous performance in the first half but so difficult to maintain that level for ninety minutes! Just wish that we could have played Brentford instead ! They will have their work cut out against Middlesbrough and unfortunately or fortunately I won't be tuning in . Off to Las Vegas next week !!
Enjoy your summer all you true supporters and let's hope for better things next season!
Well done Mick and Terry and hopefully more funds will become available to strengthen the squad.
Automatic in 2016 !! 😊😊😊

warkthelint added 14:54 - May 16
Game turned on its head with the sending off of Berra and so happy for Tommy Smith when we equalised for all the brickbats he received lately. Proud of our team and in the first half, I thought we gave a stirring performance but not to be. Bartkowski over and under for the second and third goals and was not a guarantee considering his bulk and was slow to react but we can build on this for next season and hopefully with a more attack based soccer.

LordMamu added 14:54 - May 16
Very proud of the boys! Next season will be a corker and with a fit McGoldrick I can see us going up - he had touches today that made you realise how much we miss him! I will continue to do the 240 mile round trip with the boy next season and we march on! All I hope is that we don't sell anyone in the summer....

itfc1981 added 14:56 - May 16
Shame Berra has such good reactions on this occasion. Cant blame him though came at him so fast.

Superb performance Town.

Looking forward to the derby next season! Come on Boro!

PeekFreans added 14:57 - May 16
Steve ITFC Sweden.....couldn't have put it better myself

Jimmy86 added 14:58 - May 16
Well it took a red card and subsequent penalty for them to beat us today. Don't think they would have beaten us 11 v 11. 3-1 flattered them big style and I don't think they'll beat boro at Wembley. The fact we still managed to get ourselves back into the game with 10 men shows our spirit and fight. Been a great season overall, hopefully Evans backs mick in the summer.

RomfordBlue added 15:00 - May 16
I blame the owner. With what he had and who he had I think Mick worked wonders. I question the owner's support and I fear that we will have difficulty in keeping Mick and TC. Although they don't say much about it, you only have to look at what investment has been made in the Club. Recovering from the stupidity of appointing that Keane bloke, the Club is now a far happier place. However, as a season ends ultimately in failure again, any building Mick and TC have done with their squad, becomes vunerable. We need to strengthen - particularly in creative mid-field players, but come the new season, we may find ourselves again plugging holes as our better players, and possibly our great manager, move on to pastures new.

Kieron_FJ added 15:00 - May 16
For all the fans complaining about Berra, you need to remind yourself how great he's been this season, voted 2nd best player and has not had one sending off until today. He was simply focused on keeping the ball out of the net, was a rush of blood to the head, I'm sure a lot of people would of done the same in that situation. Probably the better result to happen from this game if we r completely honest, we are not ready for the prem and we saw that today. Spend a little bit of money next season to add a bit of creativity and we may have the squad to get us finally back in to the top flight. Anyway come on Middlesbrough, and stick with the blues, onwards and upwards!

battyblue added 15:05 - May 16
Some of the players are not good enough but its not their fault they are playing they are doing their best they don't select themselves this needs rectifying if we are to mount a serious assault to go up next season i hope this is Marcus and Micks first and foremost priority instead of waiting for the new season to start to see what loans are left in the basket,,good to see Mcgoldrick come on and play some nice touches.

planetblue_2011 added 15:05 - May 16
So sad from a great first half performance. The Norwich fans are crap all credit to the 2000 blue army fans u could only hear town fans in the first half.
This was really the only way they could beat us going down to 10 men changed the game. Smith done brilliantly with his finish great to see him run down to the town fans to celebrate. After that golden moment 10 men shown particularly on the 3rd goal that wouldn't of happened if Berra was on the pitch.
We gave our all and that is what counts, plus they get all the luck again it's never us is it!!!
Been a great season just hope we continue to progress next season and get promoted.
well done ITFC u still did me proud today.
Oh yeah come on boro!!!!! 👍👍👍👍👍👍

EssexTractor added 15:08 - May 16
Today is actually a day to be very proud of ITFC. Firstly well done to management and team for that first half which totally shocked our hosts. As good a display of pressing football as you are likely to see, but painfully without being able to nick a goal.
Then just a few seconds of lets just call it unfortunate play resulted in the turning point of the match.
Absolutely no blame attached to the fantastic Christophe Berra.
And then when it would have been easy to just melt we equalised
For a few moments the impossible seemed a possibility.
But not because we played badly but more because of the numerical differnce Norwich found what was needed to win the day.
In truth if we are " being fair" over 46 games they achieved more points as did Middlesbrough, so the final is how it should be.
But how many of us would have thought last August we would have come so achingly close on this sunny day in May.
Sometimes in defeat there is honour and today there was.


warktheline added 15:09 - May 16
FOXTROT OSCAR Norwich. Wish you all the worst against Boro.
McCarthy please find a couple of decent wingers.... How many have come and gone! If you can't on the cheap, then ask Evans for help.
Play a regular right back, not a make shift CB.
Expand on the entertainment, as you promised way back!
Let's continue this upward trend, be prepared, and get off to a flyer next season.
Acid test next season, let's hope all involved are fully aware!!!!!
Finally, the boys gave their all this season, and arguably McCarthy, with some mistakes made, utilised most of the resources available to him.

planetblue_2011 added 15:10 - May 16
Oh yeah naaaarwich u really do only sing when your winning.
One song and crap fans!!
For a big game u have very very very very very very poor fans!!

Minneapolis_ITFC added 15:11 - May 16
This is embarrassing but missed the game and having to do with match reports and post-game reaction from fans. First and foremost it's a feeling of disappointment and being beaten by this opposition after coming so far - and so near - just makes it harder to take in. Not allowed to swear on these pages I understand so just going to add, hope Middlesbrough do us the favor and beat that garbage at the national stadium in a week or two.

In spite of what occured today, it's been a great season here at Ipswich, we've seen some great scores and excitement and congratulate McCarthy and his team for making the club recognized once again and providing hope and expectation on so many times since August - something that Keane and Jewell were incapable during their respective tenure.

Despite what occured today we'll always be East Anglia's biggest and most recognized club side. Something that Norwich can never change. Not today, not ever. Yes it's disappointing right now but we'll be back again stronger than before so keep the faith and we will learn from today and hopefully get it right next time.

marco007 added 15:13 - May 16
Well to conclude:
1) We have over achieved this season with a small and limited squad
2) Norwich are not a good team and had to very little to do to win. In fact the sending off was the decisive factor.
3) Finishing 6th and 10 points behind The Scum we do not deserve to get promoted
4) Murphy's goals have made the difference all season
5) I have serious defensive doubts about Mings and Chambers
6) With a few tweaks we have to be optimistic about next season and can only improve
7) We have to retain the ball better and look into developing more creative players. To me there is a real disparity between the way our youths and seniors play and we need to develop a consistent footballing philosophy so that the step up is not too vast. I know we are not a Barcelona or a Bayern or even a Southampton but at these clubs consistent footballing ideas are promoted through all ages right up to the first team

All I can say is that I am proud to be a Town fan and bring on next season
Finally UP the Boro !!! :)

jong75 added 15:15 - May 16
Horrible result, but a great season that all itfc fans should be proud of. Very little money spent, team spirit, work ethic and togetherness got us into the play offs. If ME invests some money for that little bit of quality next season we will be fine.

Come on boro, COYB.

bluelady added 15:17 - May 16
I'm not going to reflect on today but I will say two things 1. If we don't back McCarthy with serious money he will go to Fulhum and secondly see you next year Budgies revenge will be sweet :-))

dagenhamtown added 15:18 - May 16
mings shocking tabb woeful sums it up other than that proud to be a ble.

tomitfc added 15:20 - May 16
So proud of each and every one of the players and staff. We go again next season.

jert16 added 15:22 - May 16
Very proud despite being absolutely distraught. Good season and I am so proud to be an ipswich town fan! Looking forward to next season already! COYB

Geoff added 15:30 - May 16
Lets now all get behind Boro now and hope the scum get thrashed at Wembley.They have spent all that money and could only beat us with ten men.

muccletonjoe added 15:38 - May 16
They gave their all and glad to see most fans recognise that. Bishop and minds will both be better players next year, with one or two good signings we should still be in the mix next year

blueboy1981 added 15:41 - May 16
......... Mings just has to improve on his CONCENTRATION - otherwise it will most definitely hold him back from achieving his potential.To win this today everyone needed to be 100% focused for the entire game - anything less would have been punished, and possibly was.

Overall - Norwich were the better team, and in fairness deserved to go thro' - certainly arguable that they should have been to.

No need for all the futile concern about 'Wembley' Ticket Allocation now - is there ?

Not good enough at the final hurdle - and are we ALL surprised ??

Well Done All - on a good season - we should all know now where the improvements need to be, to hit the ground running in August.

Otherwise we 'tread water'.

rinkydinkpanther added 15:43 - May 16
Tyrone Mings can sometimes really look the £10,000 we paid for him.

rinkydinkpanther added 15:45 - May 16
And other times he's even worse than that.

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