Norwich City 3 Crawley Town 1
21:37 26 August 2014
©Focus Images Limited www.focus-images.co.uk +447814 482222
Josh Murphy’s second half brace eased Norwich City through to the Capital One Cup third round on Tuesday night after overcoming dogged resistance from League One Crawley Town at Carrow Road.
City looked to be cruising when Murphy doubled the hosts’ lead in the 50th minute after Cameron Jerome’s first half debut strike, but Carlos Cuellar’s sliced own goal set up a tense finish before Murphy slammed home deep in stoppage time for Neil Adams’ youthful side.
Adams retained only two of the starters from Saturday’s Championship derby win over Ipswich Town, captain Russell Martin and Steven Whittaker bolstering a backline which featured debutants Cuellar and Kyle McFadden.
Cuellar’s inclusion came as no surprise following his recent free transfer switch but Republic of Ireland youth international McFadden was also elevated from the club’s development squad in a defence that featured back-up keeper Declan Rudd.
Adams’ experimentation continued in midfield with Elliott Bennett partnering Andrew Surman in the centre of the park, flanked by twins Josh and Jacob Murphy.
Another new boy, Jerome, was paired in tandem with Jamar Loza and Adams also recalled Luciano Becchio for his maiden first team involvement of the new campaign. The Argentine frontman scored in Sunday’s 3-1 development league defeat against Chelsea’s Under-21s at Aldershot in a squad that also featured Cameron McGeehan and Reiss Awuah, who joined him on the substitutes’ roster.
Crawley chief John Gregory named an unchanged line up from the side that lost 1-0 in League One on Saturday at Sheffield United, which included one-time City loanee Jimmy Smith.
Cuellar appeared willing to embrace his senior role alongside McFadden with the Spaniard keen to organise City’s backline in the first few skirmishes.
But Rudd was required to parry Gwion Edwards’ drilled effort in the fourth minute after Surman was robbed by Conor Henderson.
Jacob Murphy responded, forcing Brian Jensen to parry his angled strike behind in a vibrant first salvo from Adams’ new-look side.
Josh Murphy crafted a perfect pass through the Reds’ defence but Loza’s cut-back was cleared by Ryan Dickson. Cuellar was momentarily caught out at the opposite end by a long clearance only for Izale McLeod to over-run the ball.
City opened the scoring through debutant Jerome in the 14th minute but it owed as much to Whittaker’s attacking instincts and Jensen’s weak parry, which was slammed home from point blank range by the ex-Stoke striker.
Crawley continued to attack with a refreshing sense of purpose and McLeod’s first time curling effort drifted onto the top of Rudd’s netting after Whittaker failed to halt Lewis Young’s adventurous burst.
City’s young brigade were clearly enjoying the exposure in front of the home fans, with Loza’s back heel pounced on by Jacob Murphy after Surman had triggered the move from deep, but the teenager’s finish lacked the precision of the build up.
Cuellar’s anticipation foiled McLeod at his near post with a diving clearance as the big striker sensed a chance from Smith’s teasing delivery.
Town earned a series of corners around the half-hour mark they looked to probe for any signs of weakness, with Dickson hammering over at the far post after Smith’s clever deep set piece exposed the hosts’ slack marking.
Jerome thundered forward before unleashing a 25-yard strike Jensen opted to palm over in the Crawley keeper’s first intervention since gifting City the lead.
Jacob Murphy then rolled his marker but scuffed a left footer wide, which left Jerome suitably unimpressed stationed on the edge of the Town 18-yard box.
Rudd kept City in front in the 35th minute after McLeod’s pace in behind had again caused the hosts’ trouble, but the young keeper was out sharoly to narrow the angle and save with his legs.
Norwich heeded the warning and Bennett spurned a chance to double City’s advantage when he arrived perfectly on cue only to volley Martin’s cut-back over from 10 yards out.
Josh Murphy offered a glimpse of his undoubted potential four minutes from the interval when he exchanged passes with Jerome but pulled a left-footed strike two yards wide before repeating the trick with the same frustrating outcome in stoppage time prior to the interval.
The wide player’s persistence finally paid off four minutes after the restart when he controlled a wonderfully precise angled 40-yard pass from his twin before embarrassing Lanre Oyebanjo for pace and rifling his shot into Jensen’s bottom left-hand corner from just inside the Crawley box.
But the visitors earned a lifeline barely four minutes later courtesy of Cuellar when his sliced clearance dipped under Rudd’s bar despite a despairing one-handed attempt from the home keeper to claw out the Spaniard’s touch from Henderson’s cross.
Cuellar’s night deteriorated further when he was booked for upending Gavin Tomlin as the Reds tried to launch another raid urged on by their small pocket of travelling fans.
Crawley’s urgency was creating space for City’s young legs to exploit with Loza racing through only to be denied by a last-ditch block from Dean Leacock before the newly-arrived Reece Hall-Johnson’s far post touch diverted the ball back into Jensen’s grasp.
Martin then powered past Loza but a heavy final touch allowed Jensen to retrieve the situation but much of City’s ragged work in coughing up cheap possession was merely offering Crawley late encouragement entering the final stages.
Cuellar again denied Town when he tracked McLeod’s run to produce another vital intervention.
Jerome departed to generous applause with Becchio making his first senior appearance of the Adams’ era.
Josh Murphy tried to repeat his earlier strike but Jensen gathered at the second attempt before McLeod powered into the Norwich area but miscued wildly.
City escaped twice in the 89th minute when Josh Murphy bundled McLeod’s header off his own line before Rudd produced a superb point-blank stop to foil Tomlin.
Loza then slammed a rebound against Crawley’s right-hand post from seven yards in the opening minute of stoppage time after Josh Murphy smuggled his way through to test Jensen, but the Town keeper was left grasping at fresh air when the youngster burst through once more to crash a right-footed strike into the roof his net to seal a hard-fought cup win.
• Norwich: Rudd, Martin, Cuellar, McFadden, Whittaker, Jacob Murphy (Hall-Johnson 65), E Bennett, Surman, Josh Murphy, Jerome (Becchio 80), Loza. Subs (not used): Ruddy, Johnson, Toffolo, McGeehan, Awuah.
• Bookings: Cuellar (foul on Tomlin, 59); McFadden (foul on McLeod, 70)
• Goals: Jerome (14), Josh Murphy (50, 90)
• Crawley Town: Jensen, Oyebanjo, Leacock, Walsh, Dickson, Edwards, Smith, Henderson, Bawling (O’Connor 64), Young (Tomlin 52), McLeod. Subs (not used): Bradley, Rose, Harrold, Banya.
• Booking: Leacock (foul on Loza, 70)
• Goal: Cuellar og (54)
• Added on time: 1 minute / 4 minutes
• Referee: Darren Deadman (Cambs)
• Attendance: 14,414