Canaries are top dogs for the night

Norwich City 3 Ipswich Town 1
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Norwich, riding high again under the managership of Mike Walker, proved themselves top dogs in East Anglia last night as they won a characteristically frantic derby in front of 20,256 spectators and live TV cameras.

More to the point, they ended the night as top dogs, if only temporarily, in the Nationwide First Division.

The intensity of the occasion found expression even before the kick-off when the announcement of Ian Crook as one of the Norwich substitutes provoked a barrage of boos from the visiting supporters, a legacy of the player's controversial withdrawal from a proposed move to Portman Road in June.

On a night for the strong of heart, not to say body, Ipswich recalled their captain Tony Mowbray for his first match since sustaining a serious groin injury in February.

He and his central defensive partner Steve Sedgley made a series of shuddering challenges in the early stages. Robert Fleck was one of those to have his card, and his leg, marked by his marker.

If Ipswich had hoped to shake Norwich out of their rhythm, they were very soon disillusioned, and Fleck was the man who did the damage after 19 minutes.

Picking up the ball on the edge of the centre circle, he exchanged passes with Andy Johnson to his right, freeing himself for a run into the box. As Richard Wright came out to block the expected shot, Fleck switched the ball inside once again for Johnson, who found the empty net.

Eadie, who required a couple of minutes' treatment after being caught by Mauricio Taricco on the half hour, was not to be denied. After 35 minutes, his free kick from deep on the Norwich right was headed home by Johnson at the far post despite being closely marked by two defenders.

Two minutes later, Johnson was left holding his head after missing another chance created by Eadie. A hat-trick within the space of 18 minutes would have been no more than either he or his side deserved.

Ipswich, unbeaten in their previous seven matches, were in disarray by the break. But they came out in a different mood, and reduced their deficit immediately. Taricco's free-kick from the right was headed back across the box by James Scowcroft, and Danny Sommer scored with a nonchalant right-footed volley.

The game became frenetic once again, with Sommer booked for a dive, and Mike Milligan, for a foul. Norwich, suddenly edgy, nearly provided Ipswich with an equaliser when Milligan cleared narrowly over the bar from Mowbray's header.

But the home side restored their confidence in the 67th minute when their centre-back John Polston flicked home a header from Neil Adams' cross following a short corner.

Norwich City (4-4-2): Gunn; Sutch, Newman, Polston, Mills; Adams, Johnson (Crook, 80), Milligan, Eadie; O'Neill, Fleck (Akinbiyi, 72). Substitute not used: Scott.

Ipswich Town (4-4-2): Wright; Taricco, Sedgley, Mowbray, Vaughan; Stockwell, Williams, Sonner, Milton (Milton, 68); Scowcroft, Mathie. Substitutes not used: Davison, Uhlenbeek.

Referee: C R Wilkes (Gloucester).

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