Norwich City Under-21s 0, West Brom Under-21s 1
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Mark Robson’s young Canaries slipped to a first defeat in four Premier League development tussles on Thursday night against West Brom’s Under-21s at Carrow Road.
Samir Nabi pounced just past the hour mark for the Baggies who also missed a first half penalty through Alex Jones and struck the crossbar with Mani O’Sullivan’s long range piledriver in a dominant opening period.
City’s line up featured Josh Murphy and Jamar Loza who was eligible to feature for the Canaries at development level under the terms of his loan with League One Orient, but Robson had no arguments with the final outcome.
“A very disappointing result and performance,” he said. “We started off well the first 10 or 15 minutes but after that I thought West Brom were probably the better team. They used it much better in possession. I was hoping one or two of our players who motivate the rest and that didn’t happen. I think a few would be disappointed in themselves. The side didn’t play well. We expected more from one and two and we didn’t get that.”
Robson’s side forced the pace early on with Murphy slamming an angled strike into the side netting. Albion were convinced they should have had a penalty in the 13th minute when Kyle McFadden tangled with Jones but referee Porter remained unmoved.
Remi Matthews bailed out Murphy when his errant pass spiralled straight to Jones who unleashed a right foot strike from 20 yards destined for the bottom corner before the Canaries’ keeper pushed it around the post. O’Sullivan then smashed the crossbar midway through the opening period with Matthews beaten.
Jamar Loza sidefooted at Jack Rose with Norwich looking to get back on the front foot. Norwich cut through again just past the hour mark when Reece Hall-Johnson fed the overlapping Rod Young but the midfielder lashed off-target. Loza and Murphy worked a cute short corner routine but McFadden was unable to direct the driven cross goalwards. Albion earned a penalty in first half stoppage time when Jones was upended by Adel Gafaiti but the Baggies’ frontman lifted his set piece over the bar.
Albion took the lead in the 61st minute Nabi exchanged passes with Jones to slot a first time right foot finish from 16 yards. Loza led the fightback with a mazy run through the heart of Albion’s defence but his curling effort drifted wide of Rose’s far post before Harry Toffolo lashed a yard wide from long range. Albion continued to be a threat on the counter with Joe Ward miscuing on his right. Loza again threatened to drag Norwich level in the closing stages with a penetrative burst but swinging shot on his left that flew wide.
• Norwich City U21s: Matthews, Barker (Browne 87), Toffolo, Grant, McFadden, Gafaiti, Young (Norman 62), Hall-Johnson, Morris (Hodd 69), Loza, Murphy. Subs (not used): Killip, Wyatt.
• Booking: Gafaiti (dissent, 45)
• West Brom U21s: Rose, Donnellan, Francis, O’Neil (Pace 51), Howkins, Jones, Ward, Birch, Jones, O’Sullivan, Nabi. Subs (not used): Wedderburn, Palmer, Wright.
• Goal: Nabi (61)
• Referee: W Porter