The East Anglian Derby is the match both Norwich City and Ipswich Town fans will immediately look for and highlight on their calendars as soon as the fixture is announced at the start of the footballing season.
The tie has been coined “The Old Farm Derby” in recent years, an attempt at humour and reference to the furious rivalry between Celtic and Rangers. While the level of hatred might not run as deep as the Glaswegian derby, there is no doubting it’s importance to the supporters.
Accordingly, when Luke Chambers put Mick McCarthy’s side ahead with a minute of regular time to go, it looked as though Ipswich fans were certain to leave Carrow Road with not only three points, but also bragging rights over their East Anglian rivals. It seems Timm Klose had other ideas, the German defender’s header with almost the last touch of the game drew Norwich level.
The Canaries have scored more goals than anyone else in the final 30 minutes of games in the Championship this season. It was through a mixture of this resilience and Daniel Farke’s all-out attack tactics in the game’s dying moment which ensured Norwich’s impressive undefeated streak over The Tractor Boys remained in tack, with Ipswich now having not beaten Norwich since 2009.
Over the course of the 90 minutes a draw was a fair result, with Ipswich the better side in the first half, before Norwich finally came to life in the second. The result means that Ipswich and Norwich remain on 45 points each, with the former only ahead on goal difference.
Ultimately however a point a piece is not the best result for either side, with both teams still remaining eight points off the play-off positions. That being said, given the way the match ended, it’ll be Farke who goes home the happier manager and feel like two points dropped for Ipswich.
That much is evident by the manager’s statements after the final whistle. Ipswich boss, Mick McCarthy proclaimed, ‘“I would say we did our job well for 95 minutes,
but unfortunately we couldn’t see it out.” Meanwhile, Daniel Farke said “Sometimes a late equaliser like this feels better than an easy win, even though you are only getting one
point”.
Judging by some of the challenges which went in and the intensity of the match, it is clear that both sets of players were well aware of the significance within which the fans attribute to the rivalry. Five Ipswich players alone were shown yellow cards, with Farke commenting afterwards, “I thought it was a typical crazy derby game, with aggressive tackles, duels, and the two late goals.” Unfortunately, it seems the game’s hostilities did not remain on the pitch, as it has since been revealed that twelve people were arrested during Sunday’s game.
Of those twelve arrests, seven have been accused of criminal damages, after lighting in the away section of the stadium was pulled down.
It should be pointed out however that this was clearly a minority, with most of the two thousand Ipswich fans and 25,000 odd Norwich supports said to have behaved well. This is in accordance with a statement released by Norfolk Police after the game, in which the said there was a “good spirit between the fans”.
Despite the 40 mile gap between Norwich and Ipswich, the rivalry is a particularly fierce one. There are a number of theories as to why this is, one of which is the belief that the fact each club stands alone in representing their respective counties (Norwich being the only side in Norfolk and Ipswich in Suffolk) intensifies the animosity felt
by the fans. In terms of the derby’s history, as mentioned previously it is Norwich who have come out on top in recent years, having beaten Ipswich by a goal to nothing in the side’s first match up of the season at Portland Road. Having said, since the first game between the two sides in 1902, it is in fact Ipswich who have come out on top more times than Norwich, winning 60 out of their 143 meetings.
Looking ahead to the final few months of the season, neither team will be particularly pleased with how their campaigns have gone up to now. Such is the nature of the Championship and the age- old adage that anyone can beat anyone on their day in the league. It wouldn’t be surprising if either or indeed both East Anglian sides clawed back the gap to the play-offs and compete to play in the Premiership next year.