Norwich City 3 Ipswich 1: 25 years later does it still feel good?
- Credit: Archant Library
Revenge can be sweet – especially when it comes against the old enemy.
Twenty five years ago today, Norwich City went back to the top of the old First Division, now the Championship, after a 3-1 home win over Ipswich Town.
Time hasn’t mellowed the relationship over the Norfolk-Suffolk divide, and on that night in 1996, there was plenty of background noise.
City were still smarting after Bryan Gunn’s air kick at Portman Road six months earlier – Town fans were still crowing about it.
In between there had been the saga of Ian Crook’s ‘almost’ transfer from Norwich to Ipswich: it never happened, but no one from the other end of the A140 was going to allow that to stand in the way of their fury.
But there’s one way to silence supporters – and that’s to give their team a right old shellacking... which is what City did.
A crowd of 20,256 – City's best at home since relegation in 1995 – saw an Andy Johnson double put the Canaries in control by half-time. A spectacular 20-yard volley from Danny Sonner gave Town hope at the start of the second half, but a glancing header from John Polston – his first goal in almost two years - restored the two-goal advantage.
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City were good value for the win, even if Johnson had to provide evidence that the second goal was actually his.
“It was definitely my header,” he said. “It hit me smack on the nose and I’ve got the blood on my shirt to prove it.
“It’s dream stuff. My first start in an East Anglian derby with the Sky cameras here and I score two goals – it’s brilliant. And what a great result.”
Manager Mike Walker remained calm.
“It’s nice to go top even though we could be overtaken tomorrow,” said Walker, with Bolton facing Oldham the following day. “But there’s still a long way to go and no one’s getting carried away.
“Having said that I have got to be pleased with the way things are shaping up and I was delighted with the performance tonight right through the team. We were excellent in the first half.”
Norwich: Gunn, Newman, Mills, Eadie, Polston, Sutch, Adams, Fleck (Akinbiyi 72), Milligan, Johnson (Crook 80), O'Neill. Sub not used: Scott.
Goals: Johnson 19, 34, Polston 67
Ipswich: Wright, Taricco, Vaughan, Mowbray, Sedgley, Williams, Stockwell, Sonner, Mathie, Scowcroft, Milton (Naylor 68). Subs not used: Uhlenbeek, Davison.
Goal: Sonner 46