Norwich dent Ipswich’s promotion push with Marcelino Núñez’s derby free-kick

Derby days do not get much sweeter for Norwich City. Their hex over Ipswich Town extended to 15 years and the consequences of this feisty, fully merited win may be greater still. For one thing, it puts a severe dent in their rivals’ hopes of automatic promotion, which had looked irresistible at the outset; for another, it tightens their own stranglehold on sixth place and infuses their playoff challenge with potentially decisive momentum. Whisper it quietly, but this may only have been an appetiser: with this result, the odds on a reunion in the playoffs next month have surely shortened dramatically.

Marcelino Núñez was the hero for David Wagner’s team, beating Vaclav Hladky with a 39th-minute free-kick during a spell of concerted Norwich pressure. It said everything for their display that they restricted the league leaders, usually so swashbuckling, to scraps and there was no scope on this occasion for Kieran McKenna to mastermind one of Ipswich’s trademark late comebacks.

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