Young Canaries lose out at Carrow Road
DAVID Fox and Jamar Loza were both on target as Norwich City’s Under-21s slipped to a 4-2 defeat against Arsenal at Carrow Road on Monday night.
Scott Marshall’s Canaries put in a positive performance, but a clinical Gunners were too strong and were able to see out the victory.
Cjuba Akpom put the visitors ahead on 15 minutes, capitalising on a defensive error, before Loza levelled with a superb left-footed effort a minute later.
Two Thomas Eisfeld goals either side of half time made it 3-1, but Fox pulled one back from the penalty spot, only to see Kristoffer Olsson’s volley seal the victory in the 74th minute.
U-21s manager Marshall told Canaries.co.uk afterward: “I think it’s tough when you’re playing against the quality they have. If you switch off at any time then they will take advantage of any gaps that you leave, and they did.
“We had to be bright and on occasions we just weren’t bright enough tonight and they got a couple of chances which they took, so it was a tough one.
“Jamar Loza has steadily been improving, and it was a good turn and shot on his weaker foot - he struck it well, a good finish.”
Fox, Leon Barnett, and Marc Tierney all started as overage players for Marshall’s side at Carrow Road, who were captained by midfielder Michael Clunan.
The Arsenal side meanwhile featured Serge Gnabry, who appeared as a substitute at Carrow Road for the first team in their 1-0 defeat to Grant Holt’s goal earlier this season.
It was City who came closest to breaking the deadlock in the third minute though through Barnett, who stayed forward from a corner and got on the end of a cross from deep, only to see it go just over the bar.
After a good start the Gunners were gifted a goal on 14 minutes as Rudd hesitated with a back pass and hit his clearance into Akpom at close range, and could only watch as the ball rebounded back into the net.
The Canaries hit back in less than a minute though, with a beauty from Loza. He did brilliantly to win the ball before curling a 20-yard effort past Damien Martinez with his left foot to make it 1-1.
The more experienced Gunners then began to apply the pressure and after goal-scorer Akpom was guilty of some wasteful finishing, it was left to number ten Eisfeld to put the visitors back in front on 32 minutes.
He latched onto a perfectly timed through ball from Jernade Meade and made no mistake in dispatching the ball past Rudd for 2-1.
Despite the best efforts of Josh Murphy, who fired a powerful left-footed rive just wide from 25 yards, the half ended with the Gunners leading by a goal.
HALF-TIME: Norwich City Under-21s 1, Arsenal Under-21s 2
The Gunners started the second half on the front foot, forcing a succession of corners which were well cleared by an imposing Barnett in the City defence.
However City were only able to hold out for another few minutes, as Eisfeld broke free on the left and curled a sublime right footed shot into the bottom corner past Rudd to make it 3-1 and grab his second goal of the game.
City tried to muster a response through Josh Murphy on the hour mark, but after doing well to dispossess the defender, his driven effort was parried to safety by a flailing Martinez.
In the 71st minute another penetrating run from Josh Murphy caused problems for Arsenal, and resulted in a nasty foul from Sead Hajrovic inside the area, giving the referee no choice but to point to the spot.
It was Fox who was on penalty duty for the Canaries, and he made no mistake from 12 yards, sending Martinez the wrong way.
However all City’s good work was undone just two minutes later when Kristoffer Olsson’s instinctive volley from 15 yards hit Rudd’s post and went into the net, restoring Arsenal’s two-goal cushion at 4-2.
Marshall’s young charges chased the game, but when Jacob Murphy put brother Josh’s cross the wrong side of the post with five minutes to go, it proved to be the last meaningful chance of the match as City were condemned to back-to-back defeats.
FULL-TIME: Norwich City Under-21s 2, Arsenal Under-21s 4
CITY: Rudd, Durojaiye, Tierney, Fox, McNeil, Barnett, Jacob Murphy (Morris 82), Clunan (c), Loza, King (Hall-Johnson 64), Josh Murphy
SUBS NOT USED: Gafaiti, Matthews, Toffolo
ARSENAL: Martinez, Angha (Jebb 90), Bihmoutine (Monteiro 84), Mugabo (Ormonde-Ottewill 58), Hajrovic, Miquel (c), Olsson, Meade, Akpom, Eisfeld, Gnabry
SUBS NOT USED: Charles-Cook, Jeffrey