Ipswich Town 1, Norwich City 5

Maybe some things are just meant to be – there will be a few more Norwich City fans believing that as they wake up on what will be a very, very Good Friday.

We all know East Anglian derbies are always special. Heroes are made in games like these; we can all rattle off the players whose league double over Ipswich Town seven seasons ago helped City rocket to the Premier League. Top of the league, at Portman Road.

And what just happened in a particularly blue part of the Suffolk market town on a rare Thursday evening of action may well be etched into the memory of every City fan for all time.

Be it at Portman Road, or in the no doubt bouncing surroundings of the beam-back at Carrow Road, it will be an 'I was there' moment.

And maybe the most damning indictment of how these two arch rivals currently fare was that City could have won by even more.

The result was City's biggest in derby history, only their fifth league double over their rivals.

And all this before anyone starts to consider what it means for a Championship automatic promotion race that is as fascinating as they come.

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Imagine, a 9-2 aggregate win over your derby rivals AND promotion to the Premier League? It has got a nice ring to it – although Reading and Cardiff get their chance to return fire, the Royals at Leeds on Friday and Cardiff at home to leaders QPR Saturday lunchtime.

But like City boss Paul Lambert and every player at the club would say, don't worry about what you can't control. So instead, let's revel in one of the most thrilling nights for a City fan.

Despite the odd empty blue seat, 29,258 packed into Portman Road – with an official figure of 2,125 making the trip south – for a first evening kick-off in the fixture for years. And the atmosphere lived up to the hype.

A sea of blue cards welcomed both sides out: City unchanged from their 2-1 win over Nottingham Forest six days earlier, while Town had Grant Leadbitter fit after a bout of concussion suffered in their 1-0 win at Bristol City last weekend threatened to rule him out.

But the walk out from the tunnel was as even as the evening got. Once City kicked off, there only ever looked like one side who would win it.

Within 18 seconds they had their first corner, where Grant Holt – unsurprisingly fit enough from his hamstring injury to start – saw an early header blocked, before City's number nine and hat-trick hero from the Canaries' 4-1 win at Carrow Road earlier in the season miscued a volley. And we were still only in the second minute.

Next it was Wes Hoolahan's turn, as he appealed for a spot kick following Gareth McAuley's heavy challenge. Referee Jon Moss was having none of it.

Finally Ipswich finally found their feet, as Jason Scotland got the ball under control before cutting inside and drilling an effort low into City keeper John Ruddy's hands.

The pace was fairly relentless, while David Fox's late slide on David Norris warranted the evening's first booking nine minutes in.

Town striker Connor Wickham – an 18-year-old much in demand – was stuck out on the left from kick-off, but got a sniff as he edged Russell Martin for pace, only to slice into the stand.

But the early skirmishes would count for little once Andrew Surman made it two goals in successive games after his winner over Forest, in a slick Norwich move he started and finished on 13 minutes.

The midfielder did well to put in Hoolahan, whose cross was too hot for Town keeper Arran Lee-Barrett – a former Norwich stopper – to handle, and Surman continued his run to side-foot home.

It was the ninth season in a row City had scored first at Portman Road – but this time, they never looked back.

Only McAuley's well timed challenge stopped Simeon Jackson in his tracks as the striker continued to hurt the hosts – but from David Fox's resulting 24th minute corner, the hosts' defence was a picture of statues as the ball drifted across the six yard box, off McAuley and in off the far post.

The Town defender must be sick of the sight of City, given it was his third own goal against them – the previous two coming during his Leicester days in the 2006-07. And not to mention him being off the pitch when Matty Pattison scored City's second against Town under Glenn Roeder back in 2008.

As for Portman Road, it was almost silent – but for a bouncing, bubbling corner flushed with yellow and green.

Boos rang out at half-time – and after the ineffectual Jason Scotland didn't reappear for the second half, Town upped their tempo.

But this City side does not just have the quality. It oozes fight and character – it is on show every week. Holt and Darren O'Dea's ongoing battle was proving it as things got niggly.

Ipswich were having more of the ball, but City kept them at arm's length – and then they destroyed them.

Jackson was first up on 73 minutes after brilliant work from Holt, who held off Delaney before crossing for his striker partner to prod home ahead of McAuley – his ninth of the campaign, and fifth in five games.

Jimmy Bullard let fly with a pearler from 25 yards that picked out John Ruddy's top right corner – but it was a goal that flattered Town's performance, which two minutes later was handed a healthy dose of context.

Hoolahan bombed down the left and found right-back Russell Martin, who drilled through Lee-Barrett as if he was not there.

There was still time for substitute Dani Pacheco to score his first goal since joining on loan from Liverpool in the fourth and final minute of injury time, after Jackson's rising effort hit the bar and Town's defence had clearly given up all hope.

'Are you watching Carrow Road' sung the City fans in Suffolk. You did not need to hear the response to know what it was from up the A140 on a night City outfought, outclassed and embarrassed their arch rivals.

Play-off place secure – and unbelievably for a side that was playing League One football last season, that had just thrashed their arch enemy 9-2 this season, there could yet be an even bigger prize in three games' time.

• Ipswich Town: Lee-Barrett, Edwards, McAuley, Delaney, O'Dea, Bullard, Norris, Leadbitter, Wickham, Scotland (Drury 46), Carson. Subs (not used): Fulop, Peters, Brown, Healy, Civelli, Whight.

• Norwich City: Ruddy, Russell Martin, Ward, Whitbread, Tierney, Crofts, Fox (Lansbury 76), Surman, Hoolahan (Pacheco 84), Holt (Vokes 83), Jackson. Subs (not used): Rudd, Edwards, Lappin, McNamee.

• Attendance: 29,258 (2,125 City fans)

• Referee: Jon Moss (West Yorkshire)