If City chief Glenn Roeder was bemoaning the two points that got away, so Town boss Jim Magilton clearly felt he had seen three ripped from his grasp.
Ipswich's first away win of the season – and with it the chance to bolt themselves securely amid that autumn play-off pack – was sat there, there in the palm of his hand at the break. Some 45 action-packed minutes later and Magilton was left with just a point for his troubles. And that niggled.
“If we had defended properly then we win the game so we're disappointed with that,” said Magilton, as Canary new-boy Martin Taylor and Jamie Cureton potentially pulled City's season out of the fire with that stirring second-half comeback.
“I was disappointed with our second-half performance,” admitted Magilton, as the opportunities came all-too thick and fast. “It could have been anything ? there were plenty of chances. We knew in the second-half that they had to come out and press the ball and they put a lot of pressure on us.”
The thought of a Norwich side coming back from two goals down under Peter Grant would have been unthinkable, but the Blues fell victim to the new manager syndrome – and all when it finally appeared as if they would end their away-day hoo-doo.
It would pain any Ipswich fan to say it, but you have to give the Norwich side credit for showing the character they did – despite it all looking lost when Pablo Counago prodded home Billy Clarke's pull-back, which looked like it may have gone out of play. There was nothing remotely wrong with Alan Lee's opener – not, at least, from the Suffolk side of the fence.
North of the border and Lee, in particular, was given far too much time and space as he collected Counago's return ball.
But Roeder had not waved a magic wand. Apart from one player in on-loan Birmingham defender Martin Taylor, Grant had the exact same side to choose from during his tenure – so why didn't the squad perform like that during his Carrow Road reign?
It was a question that also vexed Magilton, although the Town boss praised Norwich for the spirit they displayed in their come-back.
“It's amazing what a new manager seems to do to players. I'm sure Peter Grant will be sitting at home absolutely chuffed with that performance,” Magilton said, with a wry smile. “I think you've got to give the opposition a bit of credit ? they played very well in the second-half after they threw caution to the wind.”
As well as throwing caution to the wind, Roeder threw on John Hartson for the second-half in place of Dion Dublin and the big Welshman caused havoc in the Ipswich defence.
While the on-loan West Brom star did not look like he was at his ideal “fight weight”, his presence caused panic in the Ipswich back-line and Hartson played a key-role with a flick-on for Cureton's equaliser.
“He played very well for them and bullied our back four,” admitted the Town chief. “He was very good in possession and didn't really give the ball away. He was a threat to us, there's no doubt about it, and he's a top player isn't he?”
When Norwich got back on level terms there was certainly a feeling amongst the City supporters that there was only one team going to go on and take the three points ? and they weren't wearing blue.
The fact that City didn't was thanks in no small part to Town keeper Neil Alexander, who has been in inspired form for Ipswich in recent weeks. While he may not have had to save another penalty as he has in his two previous games, he kept the Canaries at bay with three saves out of the very top drawer.
Magilton was quick to recognise Alexander's performance and admitted if it were not for the former Cardiff man, his side would have been heading back down the A140 without a share of the points.
“He kept us in the game with some fantastic saves and he's got better and better as the weeks have gone on,” said Magilton. “He had to be at his very best today – and he was.”
Ipswich did manage to weather the Norwich storm in the last 15 minutes and had at least two chances to bag all three points. First Jon Walters had a deflected header cleared off the line and then substitute Danny Haynes had a golden opportunity from a late break-away.
Lee's inch-perfect cross was asking to be finished off by the youngster and, given Haynes' record against the Canaries, there were few who were not expecting the net to ripple and give Town a 3-2 lead.
But somehow David Marshall kept Haynes at bay. Quizzed as to whether he had expected his striker to score, Magilton said: “I did. You probably don't want it to land to anybody else on those sort of occasions, but the 'keeper made a great save. That was probably one of our brighter moments.
“But we kept going and we were resilient again,” added Magilton, who now heads off to Sheffield United on Tuesday night with that quest for a first away win still outstanding.
“We were very good in the first half ? but not so good in the second-half. We have another point, which we can build on and we've got a tough game on Tuesday night. Then we have another home match next Saturday, so it's all building blocks.”
After just watching his side throw away a 2-0 lead, Magilton admitted it was difficult to put aside his own disappointment, but you could not escape the fact that this was a match that had a bit of everything.
“You must have all enjoyed it ? it had everything didn't it?” he said. “It seemed to be end-to-end stuff and it was pretty entertaining. I'm not so sure the quality was that good at times, but there was a lot of passion ? it's a local derby in our part of the world and we're very proud of it.”
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