Late leveller rescues point for young Canaries
JACOB Murphy’s late strike earned Norwich City’s under-21s a well-deserved point against top-of-the-table Arsenal at Underhill Park on Monday night.
The Gunners took an early lead through Sanchez Watt in the first half, however after several spells of pressure, the Canaries finally broke through the Arsenal defence though Jacob Murphy six minutes from time.
Summer signings Alexander Tettey, Mark Bunn, and Michael Turner all played 90 minutes for the Canaries, whilst striker Chris Martin also started of one of City’s overage players.
The result ended Arsenal’s 100 per cent record in the Barclays U21 Premier League Group One, and saw Scott Marshall’s side move to an impressive seven points from four games.
Manager Marshall told Canaries.co.uk after the match: “I’m really pleased and glad we got the goal and point we deserved.
“After going 1-0 down, I was pleased with the response and the way we came out in the second half.
“We were putting them under pressure when they were on the ball, and to get the equaliser, the lads did really well.
“The overage lads did really well too. They got 90 minutes under their belts and I was pleased. There are all good professionals, slotted in really well as you’d expected, and came through it no problems.”
It was the Gunners – featuring French international defender Sebastien Squillaci, who were quickest out of the blocks at Underhill, the home of Barnet Football Club, as Watt teed up Chuba Akpom in the second minute, only for the youngster to shoot wide.
City soon grew into the gave though, with twins Josh and Jacob Murphy threatening constantly down each flank – the latter beating Jernade Meade and Conor Henderson all ends up and firing a low effort inches wide on 11 minutes.
Despite that it was Arsenal who struck first through Watt, when Craig Eastmond nodded Henderson’s corner kick into the path of the 21-year-old, who couldn’t miss from four yards and made it 1-0.
The Canaries did their best to muster a response, and almost got it when Josh Murphy headed his brother Jacob’s cross against the upright before less than a minute later Jacob then fired a fine 25-yard effort just over the bar.
HALF-TIME: Arsenal Under-21s 1, Norwich City Under-21s 0
A determined and spirited Norwich came out much the stronger of the two sides after the break, and immediately set about putting the hosts under pressure with a series of set pieces
However both sides were finding it difficult to create too many clear-cut chances, as Akpom went close for the Gunners, and Jacob Murphy saw a great effort well-blocked by Squillaci for City.
Determined not to travel back to Norfolk empty-handed, the persistent Canaries finally levelled affairs in the 84th minute.
Gunners captain Ignasi Miquel’s attempted clearance cannoned back off substitute Reece Hall-Johnson and fell into the run of Jacob Murphy, who closed down on goal before placing a neat right-footed effort past Damian Martinez to make it 1-1.
FULL-TIME: Arsenal Under-21s 1, Norwich City Under-21s 1
ARSENAL: Martinez, Bellerin, Squillaci, Miquel, Meade, Eisfeld, Henderson, Eastmond, Olsson, Akpom, Watt
SUBS NOT USED: Charles-Cook, Bihmoutine, Hakrovic, Ebecilio, Ress, Neita
CITY: Bunn, McNeil, Turner, Sheriff, Barker, Jacob Murphy, Tettey, Josh Murphy (Hall-Johnson 60), Clunan (Durojaiye 70), Loza (King 80). C. Martin
SUBS NOT USED: Steer, Gafaiti