On This Day: City earn place at Wembley with dramatic derby triumph
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‘For one team, the season ends today. For the other the dream lives on’ – so said the front page of the Pink Un.
The day was May 16, 2015, the occasion the second leg of the Championship play-off final. The opposition: Ipswich Town. The scoreline at ‘half-time’: 1-1.
This was anyone’s game, play-offs re like cup finals - unpredictable. But the odds were stacked in City’s favour. City were the top home scorers in the division with 50 in 23 games. Ipswich had failed to win any of their last three Championship away games
Ipswich conceded more (36) than they scored (32) on the road in the Championship. City were unbeaten in the previous five Carrow Road derbies against Town. And then Town had a Devon Loch moment when it all went pear-shaped and the race suddenly got an awful lot more difficult. Christophe Berra acted on instinct when he stuck out his left arm to prevent Nathan Redmond’s shot from going in, Berra saw red, Wes Hoolahan calmly rolled the ball home, and Norwich were on the way to Wembley and, ultimately, the Premier League.
180 minutes of football and handle Nathan Redmond’s
Tommy Smith levelled on the hour, but City’s quality shone through as Redmond quickly put them back in front again before Cameron Jerome sealed the deal on 76 minutes.
“I am really proud of the players, after last season’s relegation, to build up a head of steam to give us that momentum to finish the season strongly,” said City boss Alex Neil. “To beat your local rivals is the cherry on top of the cake but we want to top that next week.”
Which they did, with a comfortable 2-0 win over Middlesbrough...
City: Ruddy, Olsson, Whittaker, Bassong, Martin, Redmond, Tettey, Johnson (Bennett 87), Howson, Jerome (Hooper 83), Hoolahan (Dorrans 74). Subs not used: Murphy, Bennett, O’Neil, Rudd.
Goals: Hoolahan 50 pen, Redmond 64, Jerome 76
Ipswich: Bialkowski, Mings, Berra, Chambers, Smith, Sears, Skuse, Bru (Tabb 71), Anderson (Hunt 83), Bishop (McGoldrick 71), Murphy. Subs not used: Gerken, Clarke, Parr, Hunt.
Goal: Smith 60
Referee: Roger East
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