SUMMER signing Jacob Butterifeld got his first 90 minutes under his belt as Scott Marshall’s Norwich City under-21s suffered their first defeat of the campaign.
A Lawson D’Ath hat-trick secured a comfortable win for the Royals at Colney with a quick double putting the Royals two goals to the good with just seven minutes on the clock.
City’s immediate response saw in-form Jamar Loza hit the upright before Hall-Johnson was denied by a smart save from ‘keeper Jonathon Henly. The Canaries continued to create chances as they looked to reduce the deficit, but it was Reading who made sure of the win as D’Ath slotted home a Uche Ikpeazu cross late on.
On the result Marshall said: “We gave them two pretty soft goals early which gave us a real mountain to climb straight away. We had the chances the 15 minutes following that to get back into it.
“We hit the post and there were a few other chances in there to get us straight back in it, but it wasn’t to be.
“The lads have worked ever so hard in this first month we’ve all been together and maybe it just caught up with them a little bit today. But they’ll learn from it and we’ll look forward to the next one.”
With the likes of Butterfield and Korey Smith in their line-up, it was City who got the game underway at Colney but started in the worst possible manner as the visitors took the lead through D'Ath. Breaking the offside trap the former Yeovil loanee made no mistake as he slotted home past Jed Steer at the far post.
Just two minutes later Reading and D'Ath doubled their tally. This time the young Royals midfielder picked up an excellent through ball from Dominic Samuel before calmly firing past Steer for his second. City's U21s were two down in seven minutes.
But the young Canaries were straight on the attack looking to put things right; in-form Loza denied only by the upright as he hit a delightful left footed effort.
Hall-Johnson was the next to take up the challenge, first being denied by stopper Henly once again before placing a good header wide of goal from a good Jacob Murphy cross.
The Royals almost made it three through substitute Ikpeazu as he got the better of captain Ramil Sheriff at the back, his shot just deflected past the post as the City skipper did well to recover in the end. City finished the half with ten men as defender Adel Gafaiti went off for treatment.
Half Time – Norwich City U21s 0-2 Reading U21s
The former Rangers man wouldn’t make the second half and was replaced by Kyle McFadden at the back, and City immediately went on the attack looking to reduce the deficit.
First midfielder Butterfield’s shot went just wide of the near post before Loza called Reading ‘keeper Henly into action once again with an excellent strike from the edge of the area.
The Royals stopper was called into action once again as Butterfield found the target with a 25-yard effort, the resultant corner just cleared off the line by Nick Arnold as Loza looked to turn it home for a fourth goal in three games.
But with just under 15 minutes to go, the Royals made sure of the win as D’Ath completed his hat-trick by turning home a low Ikpeazu cross. The powerful substitute robbed City midfielder Olumide Durojaiye of the ball before providing the hat-trick for D’Ath.
FULL TIME – Norwich City Under-21s 0-3 Reading Under-21s
Norwich City U21s - Steer, McNeil, Barker, Durojaiye, Gafaiti (McFadden 45), Sheriff (King 73), Ja Murphy, Smith (McGeehan 30), Loza, Butterfield, Hall-Johnson. Subs not used: Josh Murphy, Matthews.
Reading U21s - Henly, Arnold, Webb, Tshibola, Gunnarsson (C), Partridge, Taylor, D'Ath, Samuel, Tanner (Ikpeazu 20 (Oliyide 87)), Lossaso. Subs not used: Cooper, Lincoln, Jenkinson .