Norwich City U21s briefly topped the U21 Premier League this evening after an early Carlton Morris goal but Everton equalised in the final stages of the game to leave City frustrated with just a point.
Once again there was a big crowd at Carrow Road to watch the U21s tonight as four first team players were named in the starting line-up. Elliott and Ryan Bennett both started as well as Vadis Odidja-Ofoe and Jamar Loza resulting in a very strong U21 side. Norwich began the better team, controlling the ball for long periods and working most of their play through the ever-present Ray Grant. Loza’s constant energy meant that the Everton defence was often stretched leaving room for Cartlon Morris to often go unmarked and find pockets of space.
The early stages also offered the fans some time to see how the senior players were doing after returning from injury. Elliott Bennett looked the most lively controlling the right hand side of the pitch well and often making bursting runs to stretch the defence and deliver crosses. Despite Bennett’s good start the same couldn’t be said for Vadis who struggled to control the pace of the game and often found himself being dispossessed of the ball and misplacing passes.
The opening goal of the game was for Norwich though as Loza raced onto Emanuel Vasi’s pass down the line and won the challenge with Browning, before the ball fell to Morris who stepped inside and finished via a deflection beyond Russell Griffiths. It was all Norwich deserved after making the better start of the two teams.
Everton tried to find a way back into the game but the mixture of youth and experience was the perfect recipe for composed football to take Norwich into half time leading this fixture.
Half Time: Norwich City U21s 1-0 Everton U21s
Norwich re-entered the field of play with the chants of ‘we are top of the league’ echoing Carrow Road as the fans displayed joy with their youth team performing so well this season.
Norwich were once again the quickest out of the blocks with Bennett and Vadis combining to setup the goalscorer Morris who this time couldn’t find the target and blasted wide.
Norwich continued to hold strong as Conor McGrandles battled hard in the middle of the park and Vadis started to find his feet making some tough challenges to deny Everton time on the ball.
Ryan Bennett was substituted after 75 minutes on the pitch after a solid game at the back. It’s clear to see that Bennett is gaining fitness quickly and should be ready for the play-offs if things go that way.
Norwich were undone in the 78th minute though after some poor defending from a drilled Walsh corner allowed Browning to rise high and head home to the delight of their manager and staff.
Cameron Norman tried to win the game late on for Norwich with a rasping free-kick but it clipped the wall and flew out for a throw in.
In all it was a good performance from Norwich U21 who are playing some nice football this season and nearly ended tonight top of the U21 premier league. One negative was Vadis’ performance though who looked off the pace and sloppy on the ball. Everyone else can be proud of their performances though especially Ray Grant who controlled the game with real leadership qualities.