Canaries secure dramatic 5-4 win on penalties over ForestNORWICH City under-18s claimed their place in the final of the FA Youth Cup with a dramatic 5-4 penalty win over Nottingham Forest at Carrow Road.
It was Reece Hall-Johnson’s fifth and final spot-kick that did it, slotting home past Forest stopper Jordan Smith to capitalise on Jack Blake’s earlier miss for the visitors, securing a first final in 30-years for the Canaries.
It was by no means easy as Jordan Palmer-Samuels scored the only goal of the second leg tie, blasting a left footed shot into the bottom corner of the net just 11 minutes in to take the lead on the night and level the tie on aggregate.
City’s task was also made harder as Cameron Norman was sent-off for a second bookable offence on 59 minutes, the Canaries played a full 60 minutes a man down before taking the game to penalties.
Under-18s boss Neil Adams chose to stick with the same eleven that saw the Canaries’ into this second leg clash with a narrow goal advantage, but it was the visitors who looked the most lively from the off. Obviously looking to make amends for their first leg performance, ‘keeper William Britt was forced into an early save from Derrick Otim at the near post.
And soon they made their pressure count, levelling the tie on aggregate as Palmer-Samuels made the most of a poor Carlton Morris clearance to fire past Britt and into the bottom corner of the net.
The goal instantly fired City and a 9,690 strong crowd into life though as brothers Josh Murphy and Jacob Murphy turned up the heat on the Forest back four. Jacob first to see a shot blocked before Josh looked to put the ball on a plate for Morris to head home, only for Smith to claim from the corner.
Despite plenty of attacking endeavour from City, especially from the flanks, the clear cut opening just failed to come in the first-half for them to regain their advantage in this tie. Indeed Forest could’ve been ahead just before half-time only for Toffolo to hurl himself at Otim’s shot.
Half time: Norwich City under-18s 0-1 Nottingham Forest under-18s (1-1 aggregate)
The second-half started in much the same vein as Britt was forced into an early save from Wallace. However it happened to be a rare second half sight of goal for the visitors as City started to put the pressure on.
On 56 minutes a determined run down the right saw Jacob Murphy shrug off three challenges from his marker before turning the ball into the box, but brother Josh Murphy and McGeehan couldn’t turn it home.
It was a good spell and soon it was Josh Murphy’s turn to cross, this time finding Morris at the far post only to see his header palmed onto the upright by Forest stopper Smith.
But the task was soon made a lot harder for the Canaries as Cameron Norman received a red card from Referee Stuart Attwell for a second bookable offence for his foul on Forest’s Morgan Ferrier. City were down to ten.
It was to the home crowd’s dismay, and they were soon up in arms once again as Kieran Wallace went in late on ‘keeper Britt, forcing him to land awkwardly; a yellow card the punishment this time on the Forest midfielder. A further flurry of yellow cards followed for the visitors, Fenton and substitute Jorge Grant quickly added their names to Referee Attwell’s book.
A man to the good though, Forest had their chances. First Palmer-Samuels failed to convert a good low cross from Grant, before Gorman headed just over from a corner.
But as the game looked destined for extra-time it was City who pressed, Jacob Murphy’s superb volley blocked on the line to keep the scores level.
Full-time: Norwich City under-18s 0-1 Nottingham Forest under-18s (1-1 aggregate)
The first-half of extra-time proved to be a quiet affair with both teams seemingly fatigued. The chances that did come went in the favour of the visitors, Otim hitting wide before substitute Deimantas Petravicius forced Britt to palm a stinging cross away from danger.
Extra-time first half: Norwich City under-18s 0-1 Nottingham Forest under-18s (1-1 aggregate)
It was much the same during the second-half of extra-time as both sides continued to tire, but the Murphy brothers continued to look dangerous. With just five minutes remaining of extra-time Jacob Murphy latched onto a loose ball from Josh, only for Forest stopper Smith to pull off a good save. Penalties were now a certainty.
Full-time Extra time: Norwich City Under-18s 0-1 Nottingham Forest Under-18s (1-1 aggregate)
The penalty shoot-out was full of quality, both sides had a 100% record with three penalties gone, Toffolo, McGeehan and Josh Murphy all netting for City, with Wallace, Kamaneno and Fenton in response for Forest.
But it was Jack Blake who missed the all important spot-kick for the visitors, denied by City stopper Britt to give Reece Hall-Johnson the chance to win it with the Canaries’ fifth and final kick. He made no mistake slotting home to spark rapturous scenes at Carrow Road.
RESULT – Norwich City Under-18s 5-4 (pens) Nottingham Forest (1-1 aggregate)
Norwich City under-18s: Britt; Norman, McFadden, Toffolo, Wyatt; McGeehan (C); Hall-Johnson, King ((Young 58) Barker 61); Jacob Murphy (Randall 199); Josh Murphy, Morris. Subs not used: Lokko, Reading (GK).
Nottingham Forest: Smith, Hollingsworth, Kamaneno, Blake, Gorman, Fenton (C), Gnahore (Grant 67), Wallace, Otim (Elliott 113), Ferrier (Petravicius 101), Palmer-Samuels. Subs not used: Durrant (GK), Sebastiao.
Attendance: 9,690 (Carrow Road)