Norwich City 6 Coventry City 1
PUBLISHED: 21:41 23 August 2016 | UPDATED: 22:14 23 August 2016
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Norwich City cruised into the EFL Cup third round with an emphatic 6-1 win over League One Coventry City at Carrow Road on Tuesday night.
Canaries’ boss Alex Neil made 11 changes from the side that drew 1-1 in the Championship at bitter rivals Ipswich on Sunday but the hosts still had far too much class for Tony Mowbray’s side.
Kyle Lafferty scored his first Norwich goal since September 2015 in a rare start for the Northern Ireland international before Sergi Canos doubled the lead prior to the break. Ruben Lamerias pulled back one for the Sky Blues from the penalty spot, when Harry Toffolo shoved Dion Kelly-Evans, but Russell Martin and Jacob Murphy put Norwich back in control before Canos and debutant Ben Godfrey completed the rout.
Keeper Paul Jones and midfielder Louis Thompson also made senior debuts for the Canaries. Martin made his first appearance of the season, after a pre-season back injury, alongside Seb Bassong with Steven Whittaker, Sergi Canos and Jacob Murphy all starting after second half cameos at Portman Road. James Maddison was also included against his boyhood club.
Neil’s bench had a youthful feel with Ray Grant joining Godfrey and Josh Murphy in reserve. Maddison spurned the first chance to punish his former club with a 25 yard free kick that flew into die hards in the Lower Barclay.
The City boss made it clear on the eve of battle Norwich’s EFL Cup bow this season was a showcase for those who may have felt marginalised in the opening weeks of the Championship campaign and Bassong appeared eager to impress in the manner he swarmed around Daniel Ayegi in the early exchanges.
Jacob Murphy and Canos were nominally on the flanks in support to Lafferty, but the young duo were keen to dip inside looking for work in a promising move that ended when the one-time Coventry loanee adjudged to have bundled over Lewis Page.
Lafferty looked to have pulled rank on Maddison when Canos was sent tumbling again but the Northern Irishman made a dummy run at a free kick routine that saw Tony Andreu whip a strike at Reice Charles-Cook.
Neil’s agitated body language confirmed this was anything but a gentle break from the ferocity of league combat when Thompson opted to pass back towards Martin rather than turn and trigger a home counter.
The unmarked Whittaker’s looping header from Maddison’s corner had Charles-Cook scrambling before he managed to tip over from the Scot.
Maddison’s influence was evident in a largely sedate opening quarter, with another cushioned pass inviting Canos to burst free but Sam Ricketts was able to thwart the teenager.
Neil’s new look roster finally displayed a ruthless edge to match their territorial dominance in the 25th minute when Jordan Willis lost possession and Canos picked out the unmarked Lafferty, who coolly drew Charles-Cook to finish 16 yards out.
Given so much of the focus remains on City’s transfer striker search it was a timely reminder ahead of next week’s deadline in the right setting and with the right service Lafferty remains an effective potential option.
So too the increasingly impressive Canos, after a vibrant debut as a second-half substitute against Bristol City was topped by a classy finish here in the 36th minute when he surged towards the Coventry box and bent a 20-yard finish around the sprawling Charles-Cook.
Neil may be desperate for reinforcements at the top end of the pitch but that quest for a freshness and heightened level of competition in his squad may already have been achieved with likes of Canos and Alex Pritchard recruited and the Murphys and Maddison returning to their parent clubs. That much was obvious in the aftermath of Canos’ unerring finish when Jacob Murphy tried to emulate his wing rival only for Charles-Cook to save smartly with his feet.
Harry Toffolo’s shove on Dion Kelly-Evans was an unpalatable start to the second period for Neil’s men. Lamerias stepped up to rifle the penalty beyond Jones but Norwich were back in clear water two minutes later when Martin poked Jacob Murphy’s corner past Charles-Cook six yards out.
It was fitting the creator earned his reward with a sublime fourth, backing his man into the Coventry penalty area in an echo of Canos’ first-half goal before curling a right-footed shot around Willis and Charles-Cook.
Back Coventry in a frankly bizarre interlude with Agyei contriving to hit Jones and the post from point blank range before the ball rebounded out of play.
Neil could afford the luxury of dipping ever further into his production line with Godfrey and Josh Murphy introduced and it was Josh Murphy who teed up Canos to make it five before Godfrey marked his debut with a thumping strike into the top corner.
• Norwich: Jones, Whittaker (Godfrey 65), Martin, Bassong, Toffolo, Thompson, Canos, Maddison, Andreu, Jacob Murphy (Josh Murphy 65), Lafferty (Mulumbu 74). Subs (not used): McGovern, Turner, Morris, Grant.
• Booking: Thompson (foul on McCann, 42)
• Goals: Lafferty (25), Canos (36, 80), Martin (58), Jacob Murphy (63), Godfrey (87)
• Coventry City: Charles-Cook, Ricketts, Willis, Harries, Gadzhev, Stevenson (Devon Kelly-Evans 66), McCann, Dion Kelly-Evans, Page, Reid (Lameiras 45), Agyei (Spence 66). Subs (not used): Burge, Haynes, Finch, Tudgay.
• Goal: Lameiras (56)
• Time added on: 2 minutes / 4 minutes
• Referee: David Webb (Lancs)
• Attendance: 10,510