Steve Bruce’s late, late show puts Norwich City into cup final - at Ipswich’s expense

Steve Bruce begins the celebrations after his late goal against Ipswich. Photo: Archant Library

Steve Bruce begins the celebrations after his late goal against Ipswich. Photo: Archant Library - Credit: Archant Library

Steve Bruce scored well over 100 goals over the course of his illustrious career, including a famous late winner for Manchester United towards the end of the 1992-93 season that set Alex Ferguson's side on the way to their first title for 25 years.

Steve Bruce begins the celebrations after his late goal against Ipswich. Photo: Archant Library

Steve Bruce begins the celebrations after his late goal against Ipswich. Photo: Archant Library - Credit: Archant Library

For late drama that one was hard to beat – but as far as Norwich City supporters are concerned the big centre-half will always be remembered for another bullet-like header which hit the back of the net with 90 minutes almost up.

The goal from Bruce against Sheffield Wednesday that had Ferguson and assistant Brian Kidd racing onto the pitch arrived deep into injury-time. A little over eight years earlier extra-time time had been beckoning as City and Ipswich met in the second leg of the Milk Cup semi-finals when the same player carved his name forever into Canary folklore.

With Ipswich having won the first leg at Portman Road 1-0, courtesy of a goal from Mitch D'Avray, and the tie delicately poised at 1-1 on aggregate, Mark Barham forced a corner on the left. The winger's delivery was spot on and as Ian Cranson missed the ball and youngster Jason Dozzell dithered, Bruce burst into a pocket of space just outside the six-yard box and thundered a header into the back of the net. Experienced Ipswich campaigners like Paul Cooper, Terry Butcher and George Burley all stood rooted to the spot as Bruce made a frantic dash towards the dug-outs to celebrate, while the home fans were getting their heads around an amazing double – a late winner against the old enemy and the prospect of a day out at Wembley!

The atmosphere inside Carrow Road that night was incredible when you consider only three sides of the ground were being used. The old Main Stand had been badly damaged by fire the previous year and was in the process of being rebuilt, but the 23,545 who were there that night made a tremendous din and the players from both sides seemed to feed off it.

Steve Bruce begins the celebrations after his late goal against Ipswich. Photo: Archant Library

Steve Bruce begins the celebrations after his late goal against Ipswich. Photo: Archant Library - Credit: Archant Library

City were excellent in the first half and fully deserved John Deehan's deflected opener. Ipswich improved after the break and might easily have pegged the hosts back; the tackles flew in from both sides. But in the end City deservedly prevailed and went on to complete the job by beating Sunderland at Wembley less than three weeks later.

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