If you can’t win, then don’t lose, as the old rhetoric goes.
Social media is an echo chamber at the best of times, but the constant name-calling in Derby week becomes tiring. Supporters build up Derby Day’s beyond belief, so much so that not losing becomes the prime ambition.
Emotion, passion and resilience are often the ingredients required to win a Derby as a team, although moments of individual quality and luck are also needed.
Supporters return to work, school and social media with bragging rights or they face the brunt of gloating and constant insufferable reminders.
This is a game bigger than three points.
If you are of a Norfolk persuasion, then you’ve been brought up to resent anything blue and white. Travelling to Portman Road isn’t a day to be enjoyed but rather endured. Derby Day is a chore rather than a joy, particularly in the current climate.
Bottom of the league without a win under Paul Hurst, for Ipswich, there was nothing to be feared. Without a win over their arch nemesis in ten fixtures prior to this meeting, Portman Road was a cauldron of desperation and belief.
This was packaged as their new era.
I’m not massively pro or against Farke but fans screaming for subs today when we literally only had defensive options on the bench need to lay off the beers. #ncfc
— Matt Johnson (@mattjohnson333) September 2, 2018
An era whereby identity and expression would be evident within their football philosophy under Hurst.
However, based upon the empirical evidence on Sunday, the style of play wasn’t too dissimilar to that played under Hurst’s predecessor.
It was a scattergun approach from Hurst, the man Ipswich supporters believe is the figurehead of their new project.
The Blues operated in a different mask, but wearing the same colours and with no difference in the result. They were direct in approach and looked to play off Jon Walters. Mick McCarthy was lambasted for his style of play last season, but his sides have displayed better football in periods than Ipswich did today.
Hurst has seemingly opted to scrap the positive football his side has played in the opening exchanges of the season in search for points. A short term solution perhaps, but Town need to get some points on the board, and desperately.
Even the signing of Walters appears to be the direct antithesis of what Hurst was attempting to develop. He’s an aging striker on the down as oppose to the signings from the lower leagues on the up he has favoured previously.
Make no mistake, when Gwion Edwards deflected strike kissed the back of the net, Norwich found themselves up in deep, muddy waters.
With an inexperienced back four, a midfield getting overrun and a failure to connect the play with Jordan Rhodes, Norwich were drowning among the Ipswich onslaught. They had to ride their luck and scrape through a period of intense pressure from the hosts and with a plethora of youngsters on the pitch, it appeared an uphill battle.
Crucially, Norwich negotiated through that period in a manner of which they failed to do so for the bulk of last season. They had to dig in and ride the wave but they did so unscathed.
At 1-0, keeping themselves in the fixture was of paramount importance.
With Timm Klose being forced to leave proceedings with injury, Farke turned to Ben Godfrey to fill his boots. Godfrey was favoured over Christoph Zimmermann. That decision meant Norwich’s backline was stuffed with youth and inexperience.
Max Aarons and to a lesser extent Jamal Lewis were also acclimatising to the rigours of an East Anglian Derby. As a young player, equipping yourself in one game can largely be down to adrenalin, but consistent quality and adaptation is something that now needs to be seen.
One win from six and is worrying and I'm not sure it's even mid-table. We are severely lacking a creative player in the middle who can help us overturn poor sides like Birmingham and Ipswich. We're happy we didn't get beaten? They were bottom #ncfc
— Richard Balls (@RichardBalls) September 2, 2018
Farke deserves credit for his selection. It was bold and positive. At 18, Aarons exudes composure and ability, if can maintain this level of performance then the world is his oyster.
Marshalling the young guns through that game was captain, Grant Hanley.
His performances have been indifferent to date, but the Scot displayed why he is becoming a figure worshipped by the Canary nation. He is Norwich’s Braveheart figure. Hanley epitomises everything a local derby is about, commitment, passion and physicality.
Injury has hindered his start to the campaign, but he is slowly rediscovering top gear. He acted as a one-man barricade who stifled all Ipswich threw at him. In the week Russell Martin departed, this performance acted as a passing of the mantle. Hanley’s name could be mentioned in the same manner as Martin’s should he continue to perform in the manner which has seen him lauded by Norwich fans.
Extract the emotion and this was a point against a side who sit bottom of the table without a victory.
Being constantly pessimistic about the current situation won’t aid resolving it. However, being an eternal optimist in Farke’s capabilities is a blind observation of the current performances on the pitch.
Improvement is required.
Naturally, the nature of this fixture makes form irrelevant and history forgotten. Derbies are games played with the heart and the gut.
For large spells, Norwich were underwhelming. This game provided supporters with a graphic illustration of where they currently are. Since those unforgettable Play-Off Semi Finals, the different levels in which the sides used to operate on are now a lot closer.
Quality, largely, wasn’t evident. This was a game whereby flashes of quality where few and far between, but Mo Leitner ensured Norwich left Portman Road with a point and a record still intact. Leitner is a player who has been criticised by supporters this season. He is a frustrating player because of his talent. A lack of consistency is Leitner’s biggest flaw, and it’s ultimately why he finds himself operating for Norwich City.
This will probably get me some stick, but I can see some positives from today and can honestly see what Farke is trying to do. Not saying it will happen definitely, but there were glimpses in that 1st half and in the lead up to Mo's goal. #ncfc
— Andrew Kent (@Kenty1985) September 2, 2018
More of that is needed from Leitner, he will be a prized asset if that’s the case. Both personally and for the club, that goal could prove to be the confidence boast both parties desperately require.
Ultimately, there can no qualms regarding the score line from either side, but the only statistic that supporters will care about is the fact Norwich’s unbeaten run continues.
Although the decade of dominance is becoming a decade of diminishing ability, Norwich still possess the bragging rights.
Expectations of prosperity for either team is looking thin however, and February will be enthralling to consume where the two sides are situated in the table.