21:42 29th April 2013
by Steve Garland
McGeehan's spot-kick gives the Canaries narrow Final lead
CITY’s under-18s FA Youth Cup dream continued as they grabbed a 1-0 win and advantage in their first-leg Final against Chelsea in front of a packed Carrow Road crowd.
21,595 members of the Canaries faithful turned out on the night, and they were in raptures on 90 minutes as skipper Cameron McGeehan stepped up to fire his side into a lead from the penalty spot, hitting the roof of the net to give Chelsea ‘keeper Beeney no chance.
The Canaries take a narrow one goal advantage to Stamford Bridge for the second-leg on Monday May 13, (kick-off 7.45pm).
Neil Adams was forced into only minor tweaks to the side that saw them into the Final against Nottingham Forest, with Henry Randall coming in to replace the injured Reece Hall-Johnson.
But it was the visitors who started the brighter. With early penalty appeals from Jacob Murphy waved away by Referee Neil Swarbrick after battling with Ake, it was the Blues who initially showed why they had previously won this competition for the last two seasons.
Former Celtic man Islam Feruz was first to send a testing shot towards goal before Lewis Baker and Feruz once again fired shots to whizz past Will Britt’s goal. It wasn’t until the half hour mark that City found their stride, and did so with an excellent flowing move, only for Cameron Norman’s cross to be headed clear with Cameron King ready to head home.
It instantly brought the best from an experienced Chelsea side. Fresh from the Chelsea starting eleven that played Rubin Kazan in the Europa League recently, Nathan Ake managed to get hold of a corner, only to see Will Britt save his initial effort, with Norman coming to the Canaries’ rescue to clear his second attempt off the line.
It was a promising half for the Canaries however as they more than closed the gap on their more expensively assembled opponents; Jacob Murphy soon made the most of a Randall knock-on to shoot just wide just a few minutes later. City were more than proving their worth in front of a 21,595 strong Carrow Road crowd.
The pressure was building however, and the Canaries were soon put under their most stringent test as Feruz fired a shot at goal from a corner only for King to head off the line before the Blues striker picked up the rebound to fire wide.
Half time - Norwich City under-18s 0-0 Chelsea under-18s
It was a positive start to the second half for the Canaries. Quickly coming out of the blocks, Harry Toffolo was the first the threaten as he tried an audacious overhead kick in the area, only to see Referee Neil Swarbrick to bring play back for a foul.
Jacob Murphy was next to take it to the Chelsea defence as he latched onto a Carlton Morris through ball, doing well to shrug off his marker before firing his shot over the bar. Five minutes later a similar chance came his way, this time the recovering Ake just doing enough to force Jacob to shoot wide.
Both sides opted to freshen things up as Lewis Baker and Charlie Colkett made way for the Blues with Charly Musonda and John Swift coming on. City introduced Rod Young into the match for King with 15 minutes to go.
Chances were now at a premium for both sides however, Josh Murphy’s through ball to his brother Jacob a rare chance as Jacob cut inside looking to shoot only for Chelsea to block and clear.
With time running out for either side to take an advantage into the second-leg, Josh Murphy took one last run at full-back Alex Davey, who brought him down inside the penalty area on 90 minutes. Referee Neil Swarbrick pointed to the spot, and City had the chance to take a lead.
It was former Chelsea youth and Canaries' skipper McGeehan who stepped up to take it, firing home into the roof of the net to lift the incredible Carrow Road crowd to their feet and give City a narrow advantage to take to Stamford Bridge on Monday, May 13.
FULL TIME - Norwich City under-18s 1-0 Chelsea under-18s
Teams – Norwich City under-18s: Britt; Norman, McFadden, Toffolo, Wyatt; McGeehan (c); King (Young 74), Randall; Jacob Murphy, Morris, Josh Murphy. Subs not used: Browne, Reading (GK), Hodd, Lokko.
Chelsea: Beeney; Aina, Davey, Ake, Wright; Loftus-Cheek, Colkett (Swift 59), Baker (c); Kiwomya, Feruz (Musonda 72), Boga. Subs not used: Killip (GK), Dabo, Conroy.