Norwich City 3 Ipswich 1: 25 years later does it still feel good?

NCFC v Ipswich Town (3-1) on 11th October 1996. Photo: Archant Library

Delight for Norwich City at Carrow Road in October 1996 as they see off old rivals Ipswich Town - 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.  

NCFC v Ipswich Town (3-1) on 11th October 1996. Photo: Archant Library

Andy Johnson was the star of the show with two goals - Credit: Archant Library

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. 

NCFC v Ipswich Town (3-1) on 11th October 1996. Photo: Archant Library

Goalmouth action from City's win over Ipswich at Carrow Road 25 years ago - Credit: Archant Library

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. 

NCFC v Ipswich Town (3-1) on 11th October 1996. Photo: Archant Library

He went that way ... action from the Carrow Road clash - Credit: Archant Library

“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.” 

NCFC v Ipswich Town (3-1) on 11th October 1996. Photo: Archant Library

Heads you lose... - Credit: Archant Library

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. 

NCFC v Ipswich Town (3-1) on 11th October 1996. Photo: Archant Library

John Polston gets in a challenge - Credit: Archant Library

“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.” 

NCFC v Ipswich Town (3-1) on 11th October 1996. Photo: Archant Library

City striker Robert Fleck under pressure - Credit: Archant Library

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

Att: 20,256

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