Ipswich Town 1 Norwich City 1: Leitner strike ensures unbeaten derby run continues for Canaries
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
Moritz Leitner's first goal for Norwich City rescued a Championship point and stretched the Canaries' unbeaten run against bitter rivals Ipswich Town to 11 games at Portman Road this afternoon.
Gwion Edwards fired Ipswich ahead early in the second half, with a deflected effort, but German midfielder Leitner found the equaliser in the 71st minute through a shot from the edge of the penalty area.
Salvaging the draw ensured the Blues' search for a first derby day win since April 2009 would continue, with Leitner relishing his moment in front of the 2,000 travelling fans.
Both teams made changes for the game, with City boss Daniel Farke making two big calls, throwing in youngsters Max Aarons and Emi Buendia from the start.
Alex Tettey also returned to the league starting line-up as part of three changes to the team which lost 3-0 to Leeds, with the effect of the 3-1 midweek win at Cardiff in the Carabao Cup being felt.
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Town manager Paul Hurst made six changes, starting loan signings Jonathan Walters and Matthew Pennington, and dropping goalkeeper Bartosz Bialkowski.
It was City who looked the more dangerous in the first half, with Tettey and Timm Klose narrowly missing with headers from Leitner free-kicks in the opening 30 minutes.
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Tettey also pulled a shot beyond the far post in the 32nd minute and Teemu Pukki clipped the outside of Town's right-hand upright after being freed by Leitner soon after.
Ipswich grew into the game though and also hit the post in the 40th minute when Walters seized on a Klose header on the edge of the box and his powerful shot squeezed through Tim Krul's gloves and against the woodwork.
There was also a penalty claim for the Blues before the break but instead Jordan Graham was booked for diving, going over Jordan Rhodes' outstretched leg in the City box.
There was then a lengthy 13 minutes of added time after Town midfielder Cole Skuse was hurt when defending a Norwich corner, with six minutes having already been added on after treatment for Rhodes, Klose and Grant Hanley during the first half.
Klose's knee knock saw him come off at the break, with Ben Godfrey coming on ahead of Christoph Zimmermann, bringing the average age of the visiting back-line even more.
Trevor Chalobah twice fired wide as the hosts fired out of the traps for the second half, with Krul forced to hold a looping Kayden Jackson header after a Walters cross from the right.
Town then claimed the lead, with Walters beating Jamal Lewis in the air easily to allow Edwards to strike an effort goalwards, which deflected off Godfrey and looped past the wrong-footed Krul – sparking wild celebrations at Portman Road.
The summer signing from Peterborough fired wide and bent a free-kick over soon after as the smell of a first victory over the Canaries since 2009 grew stronger.
Norwich rallied though, with Louis Thompson coming on for the tiring Buendia and Tettey twice denied, with keeper Dean Gerken strangely scooping one shot wide and Jonas Knudsen deflecting a header behind soon after.
From the resulting Leitner corner, Tettey's bicycle-kick back into the danger zone saw Hanley poke over from close range as the Tractor Boys started to look nervous.
An equaliser swiftly followed, with Onel Hernandez skinning Jon Nolan and finding Leitner on the edge of the box, who fired home his first ever Norwich goal with his left foot, finding the bottom-right corner beyond the gloves of Gerken.
There was a bizarre chance for Ipswich in the 77th minute, as Chambers lofted a header back into the box and Walters collected the ball on the edge of the six-yard box and no offside flag went up, leaving Krul and his defence to surround the dawdling forward desperately and somehow scramble the danger away, with Hanley braving throwing himself in the way.
Grant Ward's cross from the left tested Krul's handling at his near post in the 83rd minute, beating the tiring Aarons, who had gone down for treatment moments before, with City having already made their three substitutions.
There was another late scare for the Canaries, as Dennis Srbeny smashed a clearance against Ward which had Krul scrambling, but both teams had to settle for a share of the spoils and a league point.
The Canaries return to action after the international break when they host high-flying Middlesbrough on Saturday, September 15.
Norwich: Krul; Aarons, Hanley (C), Klose (Godfrey 46), Lewis; Tettey; Buendia (Thompson 63), Pukki, Leitner, Hernandez; Rhodes (Srbeny 79). Unused subs: McGovern (GK), Zimmermann, Stiepermann, Trybull
Booked: Godfrey (foul on Graham, 49), Hanley (foul on Harrison, 90+4)
Goals: Leitner (71)
Ipswich: Gerken; Spence, Pennington, Chambers (C), Knudsen; Nolan, Skuse (Chalobah 45+7); Edwards, Walters, Graham (Ward 81); Jackson (Harrison 84). Unused subs: Bialkowski (GK), Downes, Edun, Kenlock
Booked: Chambers (foul on, Rhodes, 26), Graham (diving, 42)
Goals: Edwards (57)
Referee: Robert Jones (Merseyside)
Attendance: 25,690 (2,0222 away)