Norwich’s U21 side conceded in stoppage time after battling hard against an experienced Southampton side, losing 3-2 in the U21 Premier League.

Southampton were the dominant side in the first half, and within two minutes Josh Sims had dragged a shot just wide of Ben Killip’s post. After controlling possession for 20 minutes and holding off Norwich, Killip was forced into his first save of the match, diving low to his left to turn away a shot from Jake Hesketh. Killip was called into action again shortly after, with Olufela Olomola forcing a save down low after shooting from seven yards out.

Norwich’s resilience was broken just before the half-hour mark as a dubious penalty was awarded to Saints. Joe Crowe fouled Hesketh on the edge of the area, and replays seem to show that the contact was in fact outside the penalty box. Nonetheless, the penalty was given Southampton’s way, and Killip was shown a yellow card for his protests about its award. England U21 captain James Ward-Prowse was calm as he slotted the ball into the bottom corner to make it 1-0 to Saints.

Saints continued to pressurise Norwich, with Sims forcing another save from Killip. Norwich’s first chance of the game came from a Benny Ashley-Seal header, which he flicked narrowly wide after Ray Grant’s free kick into the area.

Southampton doubled their lead on the stroke of half-time. Michee Efete missed his kick after a long ball came his way, which allowed Sam Gallagher to cut inside and expertly guide the ball into the far corner.

More of the same continued for the first 25 minutes of the second half, with lots of Saints pressure and the odd Norwich chance on the break.

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Norwich finally stole a goal back after Ben Godfrey’s corner was headed down by Joe Crowe towards the feet of Efete who backheeled the ball towards the line. The shot was saved by Paulo Gazziniga, however, defender Alfie Jones hacked the ball into his own net whilst trying to clear.

Norwich completed their comeback when the same corner routine paid off again, with Crowe’s header being blocked on the line, and Efete bundling the ball over with his chest.

Southampton had a huge chance to steal victory in the 86 minute, with Gallagher pouncing on a spilled cross by Killip, however, he hacked the ball wide of the post.

Disaster struck for Norwich when in the second minute of injury time, Southampton scored after Sims hit the back of the net from close range following a corner, to break the hearts of the Norwich youth players who worked incredibly hard.

Norwich nearly stole a point as Benny Ashley-Seal’s header bounced off the post whilst the goalkeeper was frozen to the spot.

The win puts Southampton clear of relegation, and makes Norwich’s task to avoid it even harder.

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