A brilliant turn-out for an under 21s game on a Tuesday night – incentivised by the prospect of free tickets and an entertaining match – watched as Norwich beat Tottenham 3-1, playing some elegant passing football along the way.
Norwich had much the better first half than their youth counterparts after breaking the deadlock early on via a Carlton Morris header that took numerous deflections to evade Luke McGee in the Spurs net. City cranked up the pressure and could’ve been two- or three-nil up by the time they eventually doubled their lead. Spurs could have equalised when they raced through one-on-one with Declan Rudd, but poor finishing cost them dear as Josh Onomah fired well wide.
The Canaries went close again soon after; left back Harry Toffolo’s rifled drive brought a fine save from McGee, with the Spurs shot-stopper in fine form to deny a low drive from Cameron King after a beautifully worked move.
It was King who grabbed Norwich’s second and it brought a standing ovation from the Carrow Road faithful. A cross from the right was missed by Gary Hooper, but Morris was behind him to glance the ball towards goal. McGee pulled off a superb save but lost track of the ball in midair, prompting King to follow in and nod home to put City 2-0 up and comfortable at the break.
Ignasi Miquel nearly scored a spectacular fifty-yard lob shortly after the restart, as McGee rushed out to stop Hooper’s advances and only succeeded passing it straight to Miquel. Kyle McFadden had to block with his body a few times in the first half and he was called into action again in the second, yet he could do nothing as Cristian Ceballos unleaded a fierce left-footed drive that found the top corner of Rudd’s goal.
Spurs’ comeback died dramatically afterwards – they had switched from a 4-3-3 to a 3-4-3 at half time which had pulled them back into the game but when they changed back, Norwich took advantage and regained control. An incisive breakaway led to Reece Hall-Johnson finding King in the area from the left, and the latter had plenty of time to take a touch and pick his spot. McGee didn’t even move.
After that, it became a much more balanced game. Norwich seemed content – and rightly so – with their lead whilst Spurs lacked the cutting edge to break down a resolute pairing of McFadden and Miquel. It finished after Onomah brought a fine save from Rudd from a free-kick on the edge of the Norwich area, with the resulting corner cleared off the line.
An official attendance of 10,405 saw Norwich break the national record for a Barclays Under 21s match, with the news greeted by a massive roar and outbreak of applause.
Man of the match: Ignasi Miquel