London - Norwich will face Middlesbrough for a place in the Premier League
after reaching the Championship playoff final with a 3-1 win over
bitter rivals Ipswich on Saturday.
Alex Neil's side took the
bragging rights in the most important East Anglian derby for decades
thanks to goals from Wes Hoolahan, Nathan Redmond and Cameron Jerome as
Ipswich paid the price for Christophe Berra's dismissal for deliberate
Hoolahan gave Norwich the lead in the semi-final second
leg with the second half penalty that followed Berra's red card and,
although Tommy Smith equalised for 10-man Ipswich, the hosts hit back
through Redmond and Jerome to secure a victory that will long be
remembered at Carrow Road.
Norwich's 4-2 aggregate success sets up
a Wembley showdown with Middlesbrough on May 25 as they attempt to
return to the English top-flight just 12 months after being relegated.
99th East Anglian derby got off to a slow start before Norwich
gradually took control, with Russell Martin's low drive cleared off the
line by Paul Anderson, who had scored Ipswich's equaliser in the first
leg last weekend.
After a tense first half, the turning point
arrived in the 49th minute when Hoolahan played in Redmond and the
winger cut back inside before shooting towards the bottom corner.
was on the line to deflect the ball past the post with his hand and
referee Roger East immediately pointed to the spot, before reaching for
the red card.
Hoolahan added to Ipswich's punishment as he sent Bartosz Bialkowski the wrong way from the penalty spot.
McCarthy's men snatched an equaliser on the hour when a free-kick was
nodded down by Daryl Murphy and New Zealand defender Smith got to the
loose ball ahead of Norwich goalkeeper John Ruddy to poke it into the
net from close-range.
But Norwich restored their lead within four
minutes. Martin Olsson's angled drive was blocked by Bialkowski, Jonny
Howson touched the loose ball out to Redmond and he drilled a low shot
under the Ipswich goalkeeper.
Former Stoke striker Jerome got the
Norwich celebrations in full swing when he slotted under Bialkowski
after a defence-splitting pass from Redmond in the 76th minute.