EDS & Academy

Norwich 2 City EDS 1

Norwich 2 City EDS 1
Barclays U21 Premier League
Barclays U21 Premier League
Wed 18 Feb
City EDS were downed by a late Norwich strike on a disappointing night in East Anglia.

Patrick Vieira’s men responded well to going behind in the first minute and levelled through Jose Pozo, but were left to rue a penalty save and several missed opportunities as the Canaries snatched all three points with just minutes left on the clock.

Playing in front of a vocal crowd in Norwich’s first team stadium, City acquitted themselves well and will be richer for the experience but were left frustrated after failing to take advantage of possession and pressure.

City were aiming to arrest a run of two consecutive defeats in the league after a late penalty denied the EDS a deserved point against Liverpool last time out.

However, strong form in the competition previously meant that victory at Carrow Road would catapult City into within two points of the league leaders, so motivation was not in short supply as the two teams emerged under the floodlights.

For this encounter in East Anglia, Vieira made just two changes from the side that was so unlucky to lose to the Reds at the Academy Stadium ten days’ ago. Tosin Adarabioyo in the centre of defence.

Pozo led the line supported by the pacey talents of Brandon Barker on either wing.  

Meanwhile, the hosts were keen to preserve their unbeaten home record so far this term and included three first teamers in the shape of Declan Rudd, Ignasi Miquel and Vadis Odjidja-Ofoe as part of a strong XI.

Unfortunately for City the start was the stuff of nightmares as they conceded within 60 seconds, while many of the bumper crowd of over 7,000 were still locating their seats. Josh Murphy stretched his legs down the left hand side and slotted the ball low down past the despairing Angus Gunn.

Despite the early setback, Vieira will have been pleased with the response his charges showed almost immediately. Barker and Pozo both had shots blocked while Jack Byrne’s teasing free kick was floated perfectly to the back stick but evaded the touch of all those wearing blue.

The EDS had seized control of possession and were rewarded for their efforts after 22 minutes, when Pozo found the equaliser their overall play deserved, stroking the ball beyond Declan Rudd in the Norwich goal after being played in by a flawlessly-weighted ball from Barker.

City had all the momentum and ruffled Norwich’s feathers with steady pressure on Rudd’s goal and a succession of corners, but were nearly undone at the other end as the Canaries went close twice in rapid succession. First, Odjidja had an effort cleared off the line before Gunn reacted superbly to keep out a headed effort from Miquel.

In an exciting opening 45 minutes packed with intrigue, City raced up the other end and the referee had no hesitation in pointing to the spot after Barker was bundled to the ground by Hall-Johnson. However, Pozo was denied his and City’s second by the strong hands of Declan Rudd.

Olivier Ntcham tried his luck from range only to find Rudd in the way once more, while Pozo misdirected a header from Byrne’s cross but City failed to slice open the defence a second time and it was all square at the interval.

After the break it was those in yellow that started the brighter, and Josh Murphy nearly had a second within seconds of the restart only to see his effort fly the wrong side of the post, while his brother Jacob was inches away from putting Norwich back into the lead just minutes later.

Ntcham was next to try his luck but found the gloves of Rudd protecting the goal once more, while at the other end City limbs were required on two occasions to get in the way of goal-bound shots.

City grew into the half, and last-ditch action was required by the Norwich defender to prevent Barker from connecting with Celina’s cross before Ntcham was desperately unlucky to see his sensational drive cannon back off the post with Rudd looking on helpless.

Vieira’s men were piling forward in search of the winner, but instead were hit by a late sucker punch at the other end as Norwich fashioned a late opportunity and took it, Loza converted at close range from a Jacob Murphy cross.

It was the second game in a row that the EDS will have felt aggrieved at being robbed of a point their display thoroughly merited, but it was a good test for a young side in a passionate atmosphere, and City will hope to harness their own home advantage when they meet Schalke in the UEFA Youth League on Tuesday.

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