Well, that’s that: 10 years unbeaten in the Old Farm derby, and a suitably dramatic one to fit the occasion. Given their situation, it’s fair to say Ipswich gave a good account of themselves and made for a difficult and feisty match, but better quality told in the end – and in the end, as they say, it’s all about the result.
We all know how it panned out and I’m sure we’re all reliving it plenty enough, so I won’t re-tread too much old ground in that regard. For my part, it was simply a relief to finally come out of a derby where virtually none of the pre-match narratives came to pass.
Paul Lambert didn’t return to haunt us on this most noteworthy of returns; form didn’t go out the window with any kind of bottom vs top upset to show for it, and Jonas Knudsen didn’t come in from the cold to add another Old Farm strike to add to his collection.
It was certainly a tactical decision by Lambert to pick him ahead of his positional competition (big burly full-back bringing physicality to a derby), but I couldn’t help worry about some sort of situation regarding stellar alignment and a Blue dawn – but there was no such luck (for them).
Admittedly, Jordan Rhodes also didn’t come on to score a last-minute winner against his boyhood club, but I don’t think any of us were particularly fussed – because by then there was a Pukki party in the Barclay.
Simply put, the head’s wisdom won out over the heart’s fears; we’re top at this point in the season because we find a way to win games whether we’re playing well or not – they’re bottom because they can’t buy a goal and they keep making costly mistakes, which mean they ship goals in abundance.
Having said all that, I couldn’t help there was one narrative undercurrent that did come to pass – and this is where I want to pay a small tribute to our home.
I’m not the most well-travelled when it comes to other grounds, but I’ve been to a few in my time – and nowhere feels quite like Carrow Road. It’s an idiosyncratic blend of old and new that just feels right for football, with the Fine City in view to the northeast.
Alas, I’m not based in Norfolk these days, but every time I do make it back home and find myself sat at the top of the South Stand, I’m always moved to remember how much I love the place.
To this end, it felt fitting that we made it 10 years unbeaten against our nearest and dearest on home soil rather than Portman Road – the run started with the 4-1 at home under Lambert, so to seal the deal by beating ‘that lot’ on home soil is, in my book, the right end to this latest chapter.
So, here’s to the Carra: home of so many wonderful memories over all these years, and hopefully for many more to come.