Norwich storm up to second by crushing East Anglian rivals

Ipswich Town 1 Norwich City 5

Having beaten Ipswich Town 4-1 at home earlier in the season, Norwich City went one better at the home of their local rivals with a performance that suggests a Premier League return could be imminent.

The three points bumped Cardiff City back into third place, although the Welshmen have the chance to restore the advantage tomorrow lunchtime when they host Championship leaders Queen's Park Rangers.

Should the Canaries complete their journey from League One to the top flight in the space of 12 months then the whole of Norfolk will be partying come next month. But then again, Norwich fans are already in celebration mode.

"There are about 500 DVDs getting made right now," mused manager Paul Lambert, the man behind the club's rapid change of fortune. "I've seen it all before. I'm delighted for the fans, I really am. It means a lot to people, especially after what has happened to this club in the last few years.

"You have to earn the right to win football matches and my team, right from the off, the football they played was extraordinary. It was incredible."

Norwich were ahead in the 13th minute when a shot from an angle on the left from Wes Hoolahan was too hot for goalkeeper Arran Lee-Barrett to handle and Andrew Surman was perfectly placed to despatch the rebound. Norwich's second was even more preventable as the Ipswich defender Gareth McAuley diverted David Fox's corner into the roof of his own net.

Ipswich looked an improved side following a half-time reshuffle but then reverted to previous poor practice. Simeon Jackson bagged Norwich's third when he slid in ahead of the hapless McAuley to poke Grant Holt's cross from the right wing past the exposed Lee-Barrett.

Jimmy Bullard pulled one back with a fine effort from outside the box that gave the Norwich goalkeeper John Ruddy no chance.

Yet the Canaries had not finished and right-back Russell Martin came charging on to Hoolahan's long ball and rammed a shot under the diving Lee-Barrett. The substitute Dani Pacheco, on loan from Liverpool, made it 5-1 in stoppage time.

The Ipswich manager Paul Jewell said it had been a night to forget. "It's an embarrassing scoreline," he said. "We probably had more possession than them and more attempts on goal than them but they were clinical in the box. It's so obvious that in both boxes tonight they were exceptional and we were average to say the least."

Ipswich Town (4-4-2): Lee-Barrett; C Edwards, McAuley, Delaney, O'Dea; Carson, Leadbitter, Bullard, Norris; Scotland (Drury, h-t), Wickham. Substitutes not used Fulop (gk), Healy, Peters, Brown, Civelli, Whight.

Norwich City (4-4-2): Ruddy; R Martin, Whitbread, Ward, Tierney; Crofts, Hoolahan (Pacheco, 84), Fox (Lansbury, 76), Surman; Jackson, Holt (Vokes, 82). Substitutes not used Rudd (gk), Lappin, McNamee, R Edwards.

Referee J Moss (W Yorkshire)

What can be decided in the next 48 hours

Championship

If Queen's Park Rangers beat Cardiff tomorrow lunchtime, Neil Warnock's men will be promoted to the Premier League. At the bottom, if Crystal Palace take three points at Doncaster today and Sheffield United lose to Bristol City tomorrow, the Blades will be relegated to League One.

League One

Brighton have been promoted to the Championship as division winners.

League Two

If Chesterfield get at least a point at Oxford tomorrow then the Spireites will go up to League One. If Stockport lose at Port Vale and Northampton beat Rotherham, the Hatters will be relegated. Even if the Cobblers draw it is likely Stockport will be relegated, due to their inferior goal difference.

Conference

Crawley Town have been promoted as champions to League Two.

Michael Lynch

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