Report: Norwich City Under-23s 2-1 Blues Under-23s


Todd Cantwell’s 36th minute penalty had put the hosts in front only for Keke Simmonds to fire Blues level after the break.

Oli Basey dramatically saved a late Abu Kamara spot kick but Jon Rowe followed-up to smash in the rebound and earn his side all three points.

This after Tommy Fogarty was sent off for a second bookable offence and despite a spirited second-half display, Blues came away from King’s Lynn with nothing to show for their efforts.

In a game of numerous chances, Steve Spooner’s side hit the woodwork through Oriol Soldevila’s thunderous volley and went close through a Kieran Wakefield header whilst the Canaries also spurned a glut of further openings in a closely contested PL2 clash.

It was a lively opening in Norfolk with both sides fashioning chances inside the opening minutes.

Matchwinner Rowe escaped the clutches of Callum Sullivan and found Tom Dickson-Peters with his cut back. Unmarked 12 yards-out, the Norwich number nine scuffed his effort goalward with Basey parrying away from danger.

Unmoved by the Canaries flying start, Spooner’s side hit back with an opportunity of their own. Fogarty won possession inside Blues territory and led the charge up field. With three Blue shirts poised to run in behind a high Norwich backline, Wakefield intelligently let the ball run through his legs to release Soldevila. The Spaniard checked onto his favoured left foot but could only blaze over from inside the box.

Blues continued to win the ball in promising areas and a switch of play helped create an overload down the right. Sullivan’s ball into the box fell to Simmonds who watched his snapshot deflect up into the air. Soldevila ran at the descending ball and connected flush with his volley which crashed off the base of the post.

Cantwell, skipper for the evening despite his surprise inclusion, began to show touches of quality to find a way through a stubborn Blues backline. The flamboyant 23-year-old cut inside on the half-hour mark and unleashed a rasping left-footed drive straight at Basey.

Moments later, as the game began to opened up, Rowe stooped low to connect with a cross from the right but could only direct his header down into the ground.

Whilst Norwich were the beneficiaries of the additional space, Blues were architects of their own downfall and could have fallen behind before Cantwell’s converted penalty. Adu Kamara should have hit the target when he side-footed an effort wide whilst Dickson-Peters, on the angle, also failed to test Basey in the Blues goal.

Spooner’s men ignored the quick-fire warnings and hit the self-destruct button before the break. A pass back to Basey fell short and the Blues ‘keeper, having already committed to coming for the ball, collided with Kamara.

Cantwell, whose influence had increased as the half progressed, whipped the resulting spot kick into the bottom corner to give his side a slender lead at the midway point.

Blues upped the tempo after the interval. Dickson-Peters was wasteful with a lofted effort which landed on the roof of the net but the visitors began to take charge.

Soldevila forced Joe Rose into smart stop at his near post at the end of an incisive counter-attack. Blues, eager to maintain some urgency, quickly recycled the ball out wide where Sullivan centred for Wakefield to glance his header narrowly wide.

Simmonds ventured into pockets of space and Kyle Hurst found even more of it down the Blues left so it was no surprise when the two combined for the Blues equaliser.

Sullivan sent a ball down the channel for Hurst to chase and keep in play. Inside the box, the nimble winger elegantly danced past two Norwich defenders before cutting the ball back to the penalty spot. In came Simmonds and unmarked, slammed the ball past Rose to restore parity.

Both sides went in search of a winning goal and continued to commit players forward. Boyd-Munce sent a firm free-kick just wide whist Cantwell followed suit down the other end.

With the game blown wide open, Fogarty was handed a second yellow card for a wreckless challenge on the edge of the Blues box.

Two minutes later and the numerical advantage told. Substitute Cianole Nguepissi clipped the heels of Kamara as he raced clear of the Blues' backline. Controversially, referee Tom Bishop signalled for a penalty when it appeared the contact was outside the box.

Kamara dusted himself down to take the penalty which was superbly saved by Basey, only for Rowe to smash home the rebound and decide the game.

Norwich City: Joe Rose, Josh Giurgi, Jonathan Tomkinson, Jaden Warner, Saxon Earley, Liam Gibbs (Shipley 45), Todd Cantwell, Flynn Clarke (Khumbeni 45), Abu Kamara, Tom Dickson-Peters, Jonathan Rowe,

Substitutes not used: Berry, Hutchinson, Stewart,

Booking: Clarke

Blues: Oli Basey, Callum Sullivan (Nguepissi 73), Renedi Masampu, Caolan Boyd-Munce, Tommy Fogarty, Mitchell Roberts (Captain), Oriel Soldevila, Remi Walker, Kieran Wakefield, Keke Simmonds, Kyle Hurst.

Substitutes not used: Josh Home, Alfie Brooks, Cianole Nguepissi.

Booking: Fogarty (Red card)