Norwich City 1-0 Ipswich Town - Half-Time
Sunday, 10th Feb 2019 13:13
Onel Hernandez’s second-minute goal has given Norwich City a 1-0 half-time lead over the Blues at Carrow Road with Town manager Paul Lambert and Norwich’s head of performance Chris Domogalla both shown red cards after a massed confrontation just before the whistle.
Skipper Luke Chambers, outcast left-back Jonas Knudsen, Trevoh Chalobah, Jon Nolan and Will Keane all returned to the Blues side but centra-half James Collins remained unavailable due to his hamstring injury.
Chambers, who missed the Sheffield Wednesday match due to a foot problem, partnered Matthew Pennington at the heart of the defence with James Bree at right-back and returning-to-the-fold Knudsen, who last played at QPR on Boxing Day having indicated he'd like to move on in January and who netted home and away in East Anglian derbies in 2016/17, on the left. Toto Nsiala dropped to the bench, while Myles Kenlock was missing from the 18.
In midfield, Cole Skuse was joined by Chalobah and Nolan with Teddy Bishop and Flynn Downes on the bench.
Up front, Keane started in the centre with Freddie Sears playing a more than usually advanced role on his left and Alan Judge more central with Collin Quaner not among the subs.
Norwich, second in the Championship following yesterday's games, were unchanged from the team which beat new leaders Leeds United 3-1 last week with ex-Blues striker Jordan Rhodes on the bench.
Prior to kick-off, with rain falling heavily, the Town support unveiled banners bearing the slogans ‘Fans not criminals’ and ‘Farke the police’ in reference to the draconian security measures put in place for away supporters for the match.
Town got off to the worst possible start with the Canaries taking the lead in the second minute. The Blues failed to clear Max Aarons’s cross from the right, Hernandez’s shot was blocked but the ball was headed back across the box by Mario Vrancic and the German turned home from close range.
Having got their noses in front and their tails up, Norwich continued to take the game to the Blues. On six Emi Buendia crossed from the left and Vrancic nodded well wide.
Two minutes later, Aarons got round the back of Knudsen on the Norwich right but Teemu Pukki stabbed wide at the near post.
Town took a while to get into the game but in the 16th minute they won two corners on the right. From the first Judge played a low ball in to Skuse, whose effort was blocked. Then, from the subsequent flag-kick, Chambers headed over.
On 20, after a promising Blues attack down the left had ultimately comer to nothing, Vrancic curled over from the edge of the box following a Canaries break.
But Town were starting to dominate play. On 23 a long spell of possession led to Judge hitting a shot from 20 yards which was blocked.
Three minutes later, Christoph Stiepermann shot wide with a powerful effort from the edge of the box, before play moved back to the other end with Judge overhitting a pass in for Keane inside the area.
The Blues were well in the game, however, with Judge becoming increasingly influential and moments later Chalobah shot over from the 18-yard line. On 32 Skuse was shown the first yellow card of the game for a foul on Vrancic having been spoken to earlier by referee Peter Bankes about a previous transgression.
Keane made the most of some hesitant Norwich defending in the 39th minute to tee-up Judge but the former Brentford man’s shot was little trouble for Tim Krul in the home goal. Two minutes later, Pennington slid in to prevent a through ball from reaching Pukki.
In the 42nd minute the Blues were forced into a substitution with Sears, who had hurt his knee in a challenge a few minutes earlier, making way for Ellis Harrison.
Moments after being introduced, the ex-Bristol Rovers frontman was involved as the Blues battled their way to a chance in the box, Judge eventually hitting a low shot from a tight angle which deflected behind.
Norwich were forced into a change just before the break with Vrancic succumbing to a knee injury which had hampered him all half.
Moments before the whistle the game erupted after Norwich’s players reacted to a Nolan challenge on Aarons. Judge in particular was shoved by Canaries players, then as the melee was beginning to subside there was a clash between some of the Norwich staff and Town players including Harrison.
Seemingly as a result, Canaries performance and head of performance Domogalla and Blues boss Lambert were involved in an exchange which saw the two of them separated by stewards with a police officer subsequently moving the Town boss away from altercation.
Eventually, when order had been restored, referee Bankes showed a yellow card to Nolan for his challenge and reds to Domogalla and Lambert, much to the delight of his old supporters in the home stands.
There was no time for further action before the whistle ended a half which Town won’t have been too unhappy with, aside from the early goal and their manager having been sent to the stands.
Having given away the early goal, the Blues weathered the Norwich storm which followed and had been in control for spells, albeit without having been able to carve out anything more than a half-chance.
Norwich had also had periods on top and had had the more dangerous moments in and around the area, however, without Bartosz Bialkowski having been forced into a serious save. Despite being behind at half-time Town remain very much in the match.
Norwich: Krul, Aarons, Zimmermann (c), Godfrey, Lewis, Vrancic (Tettey 45), Trybull, Buendia, Stiepermann, Hernandez, Pukki. Subs: McGovern, Rhodes, McLean, Hanley, Srbeny, Cantwell.
Town: Bialkowski, Bree, Chambers (c), Pennington, Knudsen, Skuse, Chalobah, Nolan, Sears (Harrison 43), Judge, Keane. Subs: Gerken, Jackson, Bishop, Downes, Nsiala, Elder. Referee: Peter Bankes (Merseyside).
Photo: Action Images
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