City's derby hero Lee Croft was all smiles after yesterday's 2-0 win over the oldest of enemies.
As well he should be. He had, after all, just bagged one of the great derby goals in front of the Barclay Stand.
The 23-year-old's footballing career could end tomorrow, but his place in Canary folkore is now secure – from the moment he latched onto Matty Pattison's neat forward ball and thought: 'You know what, I'm going to have a pop here…' so the name L Croft can take its place alongside M O'Neill and S Bruce.
The best since joining the club?
“Yeh – definitely,” said Croft. He couldn't, in fairness, say anything else after conjuring up the sweetest of 61st minute strikes.
“I enjoyed the Sheffield United one in the last minute to win us the game there, but to score in a derby as big as this I'm sure that'll live long in my memories.”
It was a point that City boss Glenn Roeder touched upon afterwards; that these kind of games are the ones in which legends are made.
“I said to the players yesterday [Saturday],” said Roeder. “And I could go throught the whole team and they've all been involved in different derbies with different clubs – as well as the East Anglian derby.
“But [I said to them] how important and how special derby games are. Because let's be honest, throughout your career you play games – they come and they go and you forget them very quickly.
“But derby games you don't. Whether you win them or lose them – they stay in the memory. And they stay in the memory of the supporter. It's woven into the history; into the badge. And here it's how you got on against Ipswich…”
Which is why Croft's place in the derby 'Hall Of Fame' is now assured. Not that it was ever a game that revolved around any one individual. Sammy Clingan rightly took Man of the Match; David Marshall kept Town at bay with three big stops; Elliot Omosuzi delivered his best display yet in a Norwich shirt.
Everyone was at the races.
“All the lads were fired up,” revealed Croft, as the Canaries – to a man, in fairness – got at their visitors from the very start.
The likes of Town playmaker Owen Garvan was never given a moment to settle on the ball as City delivered when it mattered – and against who it mattered.
Of course, it all come to mean diddly-squat if Norwich can't prise something out of this week's two big away games – at Watford on Wednesday night and at Reading on Saturday.
“Although it was an extra special day today, we need to go in every game like that really – if we go into every game like that, I don't think that anyone will be a match for us,” said Croft.
“So it's the consistency now that we need to bring to our game for the rest of the season and, hopefully, we'll start looking up rather than over our shoulder. We need to start playing like this for every 90 minutes – every Saturday and every Tuesday night now.”
City could, of course, have been deep, deep in the mire had Marshall not stood up late to deny Jon Walters. Every season tends to have it's 'big' moments and that was certainly one of them. The Town striker clips that 50th minute chance over the Canary No1 and the world might have looked a completely different place this morning.
“Credit has got to go to Marsh,” said the City winger. “That's as good as a goal that save. At 0-0, they go down that end and score… 1-0 to Ipswich and it changes the complexion of the game. So credit to Marshy – he's won us the game just as much as me and Patty [Pattison] have through scoring our goals.”
There was, however, never any doubt as to what was about to follow once Croft took aim.
“As soon as you hit a ball sweetly, you know,” he said. “You know when you've hit it well and that Richard Wright's not going to get it.
“And when it hit the back of the net I think you could tell by my celebrations that it meant as much to me as it did to the 25,000 fans in here.”
The fact that Pattison's killer second came when Town were down to ten men after Leroy Lita had pointed to the blood on Gareth McAuley's face certainly cut no ice.
“We've had that done to us this year – we don't care,” said Croft. “Credit to Patty as well – he's got into the box and got himself another goal and he's on a good run of goal-scoring at the moment.
“But overall it was a great team performance – no individuals. Every single person put in a brilliant performance.”