Paddy's Pointers: Five observations from Norwich City's 3-0 Championship derby win against Ipswich Town
Our Norwich City correspondent Paddy Davitt delivers his verdict from Carrow Road
1. ‘City going up, Town going down’
Time will tell but that was the chant echoing around Carrow Road when Teemu Pukki released a worrying spell of Ipswich pressure to double Norwich’s lead in the second half.
That one venomous counter from Emi Buendia spoke volumes. Town had huffed and puffed, the energy and intensity was classic Paul Lambert but the gulf in class in the key moments was every bit as wide as the yawning chasm in the Championship table.
Town’s wait for a derby win will now stretch beyond a decade.
That is a remarkable spell in East Anglian football rivalry. But whether they get a chance next season in the league looks highly unlikely.
Town are hurtling to League One at a rate of knots. Norwich may well be in the big time come May. The sense of two clubs spinning in opposite directions was never more apparent.
2. Red mist
Lambert’s return as boss of Ipswich Town offered a predictable sub-plot in the build up.
To boo or not too boo appeared to have tilted in favour of ignoring the City Hall of Famer, rather than making him the focus of a game that was as much about points for a promotion push than bragging rights or getting one over the Scot.
That appeared to be holding when Lambert’s arrival prior to the kick off was met with indifference as the revved up Canaries’ fans yelled support for Farke’s men. But the uneasy peace erupted in first half stoppage time when Lambert reacted furiously after what television pictures appeared to show as a verbal altercation with City’s Head of Performance. Chris Domogalla.
Lambert reacted angrily to the steward’s attempts to move him away from a touchline melee before a policeman had to intervene.
Once the referee had consulted his fourth official both were shown red cards. Lambert was sent on his way with a cacophony of jeers from home sections. The Scot had predicted as much in his pre-match press briefing. There was more taunts to follow in the second half, when Pukki doubled the lead.
Perhaps he should have gone out of his way not to light the touchpaper.
3. Pukki power
What more is there to say about the man from Finland who arrived on a FREE TRANSFER.
A 19th and a 20th league goals of the season eased Norwich to another sweet derby success and carved out Pukki’s own special place in derby folklore.
Fitting perhaps that Grant Holt led the rendition of ‘On The Ball, City’ prior to kick off. Pukki is now rapidly closing in on Holt’s best ever league tally in a single campaign. Who would bet against the Finn surpassing Holt if he stays fit? He will certainly get plenty of chances in this Norwich side.
Both his goals owed plenty to Buendia’s counter-attacking darts and perfectly weighted passes. There was not a trace of doubt, for anyone standing behind the green and yellow flag, when Pukki went through that he would have the composure to beat Bartosz Bialkowski.
There may be more personal accolades coming his way but the bigger prize is the Premier League.
4. One Daniel Farke
The City punters broke out into a spontaneous rendition to hail the new King of Carrow Road as the clock ticked down in stoppage time. With a nod to Delia of course seconds earlier. Farke is now unbeaten in four East Anglian tussles.
He has also turned Norwich into genuine Championship title challengers. As the bedlam erupted between Lambert and numerous support staff from both sides prior to the interval, the cool as you like City head coach just stood; almost detached from the verbals.
Farke has remained a composed figure throughout this rise to top spot.
Nothing seems to faze him. Even in the white hot atmosphere of a game which in truth probably felt a lot closer than the final scoreline suggested.
Farke is getting more right than wrong by some distance. But the defining battles still lie ahead.
5. Main man Mario
Perhaps it got sidelined in the toxic aftermath of Lambert’s dismissal but Vrancic was replaced by Alex Tettey in the midst of the bedlam.
An awkward landing on his right ankle minutes earlier, attempting to defend an Ipswich corner, led to a prolonged period of hobbling before Vrancic had to admit defeat.
In the wider picture, that could have bigger ramifications that what happens to Lambert or for that matter Domogalla.
Vrancic was awarded the club’s player-of-the-month for January prior to the game, to follow on from his PFA fans’ award. The Bosnian had started this derby in the same dominant fashion with his superb range of passing and vision.
We await the outcome of medical scans but Vrancic in this form would be a big loss if he is out for any length of time.