NORWICH City’s Under-18s booked an FA Youth Cup semi-final against Nottingham Forest with a superb 4-2 win over Everton at Goodison Park on Friday night.
Carlton Morris grabbed the headlines after netting a hat-trick, although Josh Murphy provided the assist for all of City’s goals on the night, including a pass for his brother Jacob for the Canaries’ fourth late on.
Chris Long’s brace for the hosts certainly made a game of it, although Ibay Touray’s straight red card for a high tackle on Cameron Norman in the second-half curtailed any realistic hopes of a comeback.
Neil Adams’ side will now take on Forest in a two-legged semi-final, starting on Wednesday night at the City Ground, for a place in the final of the prestigious competition against either Chelsea or Liverpool.
City started where they left off against Newcastle, taking the lead just before the quarter hour through Morris.
Jacob Murphy dipped into space before finding Josh Murphy on the left-wing, who raced to the by-line before squaring a cross that the striker converted easily from inside the six-yard box.
It was a combination that was to prove fruitful on the night for the visitors, but Long demonstrated his threat five minutes later when firing an unexpected shot from wide that William Britt held onto well in the City goal.
After Jonjoe Kenny then headed a Long cross over the bar for Everton, they were punished as City doubled their advantage – Josh Murphy showed his vision and technique by picking out Morris’ run, and the forward’s finish was equally as exquisite as he chipped smartly over Mason Springthorpe.
The Toffees, who City coincidentally beat in the FA Youth Cup Final 30 years ago, responded in the best possible manner, however, as they immediately got a route back into the match through Long.
The striker found space on the right-hand side of the area, and fired a shot underneath Britt that nestled into the corner.
Half-time came and went with the match evenly poised, but City re-established their two-goal cushion as Morris completed his hat-trick.
Moments after shooting just wide, Josh Murphy drove a powerful shot that Springthorpe couldn’t grasp and Morris was on hand to tap home.
Everton endeavoured to get back into the contest in front of 1093 of their own supporters, but after George Waring and Matthew Kennedy went close, they were dealt a blow with the dismissal of Touray.
The full-back went in late and high on Norman, and was clearly distraught as he was giving his marching orders by the referee.
The home team still pushed forward, though, and after Conor Grant tested Britt’s handling with a clever swerve and shot on 68 minutes, they halved the deficit.
Norwich failed to clear from a scramble in the penalty area, and Long took the initiative by stabbing the ball home to send of ripple of anticipative excitement through the small crowd.
City’s man-power soon started to show, however, and they grabbed their decisive fourth with nine minutes left on the clock as Jacob Murphy finished calmly past Springthorpe after a pinpoint pass from his brother.
Skipper Cam McGeehan then poked wide before Everton made a late push, and it was the Canaries who secured the win and moved a step closer to a historic final.
FINAL SCORE – EVERTON 2-4 NORWICH CITY
GOALS: Everton - Chris Long (39, 73). Norwich City - Carlton Morris (14, 37, 53), Jacob Murphy (81)
EVERTON: Springthorpe; Pennington, Kenny, Langton, Touray; Grant, Charsley (Jones 78), Molyneux (c), Kennedy (Johns 83); Long, Waring (Duffus 78). Subs not used: Griffiths, Ledson.
NORWICH CITY: Britt; Norman, McFadden, Toffolo, Wyatt (Barker 90); McGeehan (c); Hall-Johnson (Young 87), King (Randall 78); Jacob Murphy; Josh Murphy, Morris. Subs not used: Lokko, Swattmann.