Norwich City 2 Ipswich 0
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
Norwich City inflicted a fourth straight derby defeat on bitter rivals Ipswich Town and powered upto third in the Championship on a memorable Sunday afternoon at Carrow Road.
Bradley Johnson's latest hammer strike fired Alex Neil's men in front before the break and Lewis Grabban bundled home Cameron Jerome's low shot to spark jubilation among the home fans.
City moved upto third in the Championship after a sixth straight league win under Neil and stumbles for most of their other promotion rivals over the weekend.
Neil made one change to the starting line up that beat Blackburn 2-1 in the Championship on Tuesday. Alex Tettey came back into a holding midfield berth alongside Johnson with Graham Dorrans making way.
Gary Hooper was included on the substitutes' bench after missing the trip to Ewood Park with a viral infection.
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Ipswich's new loan signing Chris Wood began on the bench as well following his Friday move from Leicester City. Freddie Sears was preferred alongside Daryl Murphy after his two-goal burst helped sink Birmingham in midweek.
Grabban tried to escape inside the opening three minutes after bursting onto Johnson's pass but Tyrone Mings was back on the cover.
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Mings then arrowed a deep free kick only partially cleared by Tettey for Jay Tabb, but his bouncing strike rolled through to John Ruddy.
Grabban went down under Tommy Smith's desperate challenge inside the Town penalty area, but television replays showed the merest hint of a touch from the centre-back on the ball.
Ipswich's strength and power was edging the opening skirmishes, with City struggling in the frenetic exchanges to get the ball down. Jonny Howson retrieved Wes Hoolahan's deep corner with Johnson also alive to get a glancing flick, but a combination of Bartosz Bialkowski and his centre backs subdued Grabban from close range.
Col Skuse earned the first caution in the 16th minute with a high boot halting the marauding Johnson, and Town boss Mick McCarthy wanted to even up the crime count shortly after when the City midfielder caught Luke Chambers waist high but escaped punishment.
Johnson predictably was at the heart of Norwich's vital breakthrough in the 24th minute with another fearsome hit on his left foot from 16 yards that arrowed into Bialkowski's top corner following clever intricate play from Grabban and Hoolahan down the right.
Murphy's tame reply from 20 yards at the other end rolled through to Ruddy with the home fans still in full celebration mode.
City, however, were indebted to the England keeper in the 31st minute with a stunning smothering stop to deny Sears a certain equaliser when Town raided on a swift counter, before the former Colchester man cut inside Martin Olsson to leave just Ruddy to beat 12 yards out.
Johnson was urged to unleash another from his armoury by the home fans a minute later but dragged well wide from long range.
Sears was again denied by Ruddy in the 35th minute with a swinging low strike securely gathered by the home keeper but Ipswich's direct threat was clear.
Hoolahan's ambitious half-volley failed to catch out Bialkowski at the opposite end with Johnson again an intrinsic part of the action with a flick as Norwich navigated a safe passage to the interval.
Ipswich made a change for the start of the second half with Luke Varney replacing midfielder Richard Chaplow.
Norwich survived a major scare in the 47th minute when Johnson sliced Tabb's free kick inches over Ruddy's bar at his near post.
Mings was lectured by the official for a crude challenge to upend Nathan Redmond, which dumped the England Under-21 international on the touchline, but Norwich's set piece was cleared with relative ease.
Hoolahan's gorgeously weighted pass set Grabban free but with the angle narrowing Christophe Berra came across at the expense of a corner – Johnson heading over after a powerful near post dart.
Town continued to try and bombard the City penalty area in search of a leveller and Seb Bassong's miscued header sparked a momentary alarm when Sears smashed his shot at Tettey.
Norwich's top scorer Cameron Jerome replaced Redmond in the 61st minute and the striker had an immediate impact when his low angled shot struck Mings and Grabban before dribbling over the line.
Sears carried the fight again for the visitors in the aftermath but Ruddy was vigilant to drop on his 20-yard shot.
Bialkowski then denied Jerome in the 73rd minute after Howson had slipped in the frontman to power away from the Town backline, with the visitors now committing men forward.
Tettey then bravely through himself in the way of Jonathan Parr's goalbound dig with the action lurching from one end to the other.
McCarthy made his final change in the 79th minute with Wood replacing the Championship's top scorer Murphy.
Bassong headed over his bar from a yard out after City had knocked off at a quickly-taken free kick that allowed Sears to ease past Ruddy and lift a ball back into the area.
Tettey picked up a booking for kicking the ball away three minutes from the end that rules him out of Wigan's midweek Championship visit before Jerome limped away in stoppage time with a foot injury to be replaced by Hooper as the home fans turned up the volume at their neighbours' expense.
• Norwich City: Ruddy, Whittaker, Martin, Bassong, Olsson, Tettey, Johnson, Redmond (Jerome 61, Hooper 90), Howson, Hoolahan (Dorrans 83), Grabban. Subs (not used): Rudd, Turner, Andreu, Garrido.
• Bookings: Olsson (time wasting, 76); Tettey (time wasting, 86)
• Goals: Johnson (24), Grabban (62)
• Ipswich: Bialkowski, Chambers, Berra, Smith, Mings, Chaplow (Varney 45), Bru (Parr 69), Skuse, Tabb, Murphy (Wood 79). Sears. Subs (not used): Gerken, Anderson, Clarke, Benyu.
• Bookings: Skuse (foul on Johnson, 16); Mings (foul on Howson, 84)
• Added on time: 2 minutes / 4 minutes
• Referee: Paul Tierney (Lancashire)
• Attendance: 27,005