Alex Neil rues sucker punch in Norwich City’s derby stalemate against Ipswich Town
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
Alex Neil admitted Norwich City let Ipswich Town off the hook in Sunday's 1-1 Championship draw at Carrow Road.
City stretched their unbeaten run in the East Anglian derby to eight games, when Jacob Murphy cancelled out Jonas Knudsen's second-half header, but the Canaries were frustrated by inspired Town keeper Bartosz Bialkowski and their own wayward finishing.
'With the way the game was played. We put in a good performance over the 90 minutes, created a lot of chances, and I thought we were wasteful at times,' said Neil. 'The ones we did make good contact with I thought their keeper pulled off three really good saves in the match. I can't be critical of my team. I think they went out and worked ever so hard. Ipswich had one shot on target and they scored the goal. When you don't take your opportunities that sort of sucker punch can come your way.
'A lot of the time you then see teams who buckle because they have played so well upto that point and should be leading and they can't accept they are not. Our response was different. I thought we did rally and we got the goal. The only frustration from our point of view is we didn't win because we have certainly played worse than that and won here.'
Neil admitted Murphy had an afternoon to remember after letting Knudsen escape to head Town in front.
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'Yeah, he has just switched off,' said Neil. 'The lad managed to get himself inside him. To be fair to Jacob, he had managed to gamble and get the wrong side of the boy going the other way for large parts of the game and be effective going the other way. On that occasion when he doesn't match his man Knudsen gets the goal. For a young lad his response to go up the other end, shift his feet and get the goal is something I don't think you could ask any more of.
'He showed character and he is a young man learning his trade who has been excellent for us this season. I don't know how many goals that is but he can be pleased with his afternoon.'
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Town chief Mick McCarthy was proud of his men's efforts but the Blues have still not won this fixture since April 2009.
'I think we have had to be tough, resolute, organised and hard-working because they are a good side,' he said. 'We scored a really good goal from our best bit of play. Bartosz has won the ironic man-of-the-match award. He was absolutely magnificent but he is not happy he let the shot in. He was terrific. They had the better chances. I haven't seen it but apparently we should have had a penalty.
'It makes no odds whingeing about it. We had a goal disallowed at home but perhaps we carried a bit of luck at times here with a bit of magnificent keeping. I am delighted to get a point. It keeps our run going and puts the brakes on any run they might be having, which doesn't upset me greatly if I am honest.'