Norwich City U21s 0, Everton U21s 2
Archant © 2012
Scott Marshall’s Canaries slipped to a first Carrow Road defeat of their Premier League development season tonight against a slick Everton outfit.
Senior trio Marc Tierney, Simon Lappin and David Fox all played the full 90 minutes for the hosts in a bid to push their claims for further first team involvement after the international break.
Lappin looked particularly keen to impress in a central midfield role after missing the last five weeks with the ankle injury that marred his goalscoring display in the Capital One Cup win over Scunthorpe. The Scot showed plenty of appetite to break forward with Fox anchoring the midfield alongside him. The cultured playmaker dictated Norwich’s tempo for most of the contest, but it was the Toffees who carried the greater potency with Apostolos Vellios and Conor Grant beating Jed Steer twice after the interval.
Fox has had limited chances under Chris Hughton so far, but produced a typically efficient cameo with his best moment coming just short of the hour mark when he triggered a flowing counter before finishing with a cheeky lob that drifted a couple of yards over Jan Mucha’s bar.
Everton’s roster had plenty of familiar faces with the likes of Sylvain Distin, Magaye Gueye and traillist Thomas Hitzlsperger in the Toffees’ line up. The visitors’ started the brighter with Conor McAleny dipping inside Harry Barker only to slam into Steer’s side netting.
Gueye tried his luck on the opposite flank when he drove at Tierney but dragged wide. Vellios then carved a left foot strike off target following clever set up play from the bright McAleny. Josh Murphy spurned the hosts’ first sighter midway through the opening period when he pulled an angled shot across Mucha’s six-yard box before Jamar Loza’s stinging drive from 20 yards forced the Everton number one into a sharp stop.
The Czech keeper then acrobatically denied Jacob Murphy on 30 minutes when he clawed out a long range hit destined for the top corner. Steer passed a far more comfortable test when Vellios tamely lifted over Norwich’s wall after Barker was adjudged to have hauled down McAleny.
The 20-year-old’s evening was abruptly cut short five minutes before the interval with a suspected ankle injury after twisting awkwardly trying to pressurize Barker. Grant’s looping close range header struck the top of Steer’s bar seconds after the restart but there was no such reprieve for City when Vellios lashed home from point blank range after City failed to clear Ibou Torau’s initial corner.
Jacob Murphy’s trickery set his brother free, but Josh opted to ignore Cameon King’s support run inside and the chance was gone when Everton’s retreating defence crowded him out.
Lappin pulled rank when Gueye was cautioned for hacking down King, but the free kick drifted aimlessly into the empty terraces. Mucha reacted smartly to paw away Jacob Murphy’s fizzing effort in the 78th minute which took a heavy deflection off Hitzlsperger. Grant doubled the visitors’ lead with a superbly controlled volley from just inside the area after City were undone by a quick counter triggered by the pacy Gueye. Marshall’s side responded gamely with Mucha’s reflexes again tested to the full by Fox advancing to the edge of the Everton penalty area before Loza was denied in the closing seconds.
• Norwich City: Steer, Barker, Tierney, Fox, McNeil, Sherif, Jacob Murphy, Lappin, Loza, King, Josh Murphy (Hall-Johnson 76). Subs (not used): Clunan, Matthews, Morris, Norman.
• Everton: Mucha, Browning, Touray, Lundstram, Distin (Pennington 45), Duffy, Gueye, Hitzlsperger, Vellios, McAleny (Hope 45), Junior (Grant 45). Subs (not used): Taudul, Forrester.
• Goals: Vellios (48), Grant (81)
• Booking: Gueye
• Attendance: 514