Report: Town’s wait for a Norwich win goes on after Leitner cancels out Edwards opener in derby draw
PUBLISHED: 14:08 02 September 2018 | UPDATED: 15:32 02 September 2018
© Copyright Stephen Waller
Ipswich Town’s wait for an East Anglian derby win goes on.
It felt as if Gwion Edwards’ deflected strike before the hour mark was destined to end a 10-game winless run stretching back to April 2009, but it wasn’t to be.
Moritz Leitner’s equaliser on 71 minutes saw to that in a game which ended in a 1-1 draw, with neither side able to find a winner in a game often short on quality but full of heart.
The point lifts the Blues off the bottom of the Championship, but Paul Hurst’s Blues remain winless heading into the international break.
The team sheet was full of surprises as Paul Hurst named his first East Anglian Derby starting XI, with star goalkeeper Bartosz Bialkowski only among the substitutes. Jon Walters and Jordan Graham made second debuts on their returns to Portman Road while Matthew Pennington came straight into the side despite only joining from Everton on Friday afternoon.
And it was one of those new signings, Graham, who was presented with an opportunity to put his side ahead inside two minutes as he stood over a free-kick on the edge of the box after Skuse was battered by Emiliano Buendia. The Wolves loanee’s effort sailed over the top, with the Blues having few opening sin the rest of the first half.
It was the usual, spikey fare, with Kayden Jackson and Grant Hanley tangling on the byline with the former Accrington striker not giving the Norwich backline a moment’s rest for little reward.
Alex Tettey put a header over the top of the bar and Onel Hernandez dragged a shot wide as he escaped Pennington, but that’s as close as the visitors came to breaking the deadlock.
The Blues had a penalty appeal turned down after he tumbled in the box under the challenge of Jordan Rhodes, who saw little sight of goal in the opening period, but rather than pointing to the spot, referee Robert Jones booked the Town man for diving.
The once vibrant atmosphere fell to a murmur as Cole Skuse was treated for a nasty-looking injury after a clash of heads while defending a corner, with the midfielder put in a neck brace before leaving the field on a stretcher to a rousing ovation from the home support.
The atmosphere was ramped back up for the start of the second period, with the Blues quickly on the attack, with a hooked Walters cross header goalwards by Jackson and saved by Krul.
And they made the pressure tell.
Nolan started it with a clipped ball to the back post, Walters made it as he knocked the ball down superbly and Edwards finished it as his deflected effort hit the back of the net. Portman Road erupted.
It almost did so again minutes later as Edwards’ shot just crept wide of the post, before the Blues were forced to survive a succession of corners as first Gerken and then Knudsen turned headed efforts behind before Grant Hanley could only poke over the top from another set-piece.
But the visitors were soon level as the Canaries probed down the Ipswich right, eventually finding space to shoot, with Leitner picking his spot and finding the bottom corner.
Neither side was able to find a winner, as the spoils were shared.
Ipswich Town: Gerken; Spence, Pennington, Chambers, Knudsen; Edwards, Skuse (Chalobah 45), Nolan, Graham (Ward 82); Walters, Jackson (Harrison 84)
Subs: Bialkowski, Kenlock, Edun, Downes
Norwich City: Krul, Aarons, Hanley, Klose (Godfrey 46), Tettey, Buendia (Thompson 64), Leitner, Pukki, Hernandez, Rhodes (Srbeny 79)
Subs: McGovern, Godfrey, Zimmermann, Stiepermann, Trybull, Srbeny, Thompson
Att: 25,690 (2,022 Norwich fans)