Extra-time proves fruitful for City as they progress in Youth CupNORWICH City's Under-18s ran riot in extra-time to eventually thrash Preston North End 6-1 at Deepdale and progress to the Fourth Round of the FA Youth Cup.
Normal time ended with the game all square at 1-1 after Carlton Morris had equalised Jack Ryan's opener for the Lilywhites, with City's title as cup holders in the balance.
What followed was an extraordinary period of four goals in eight minutes in extra-time for City as Harrison Heath, Rhys Browne, Jamie Eaton-Collins and Morris once more secured progression in style.
Ray Grant put the icing on the cake with an assured finish for City's sixth to leave a small but vocal home crowd going home disappointed.
On the contrary, the young Canaries' long journey back to Norwich will be a joyful affair after a clinical display of finishing late in the game.
The Canaries fielded five players who featured in the second leg of last season’s final against Chelsea, with Cameron Norman skippering the team from right-back.
City’s in-form player going into the tie was forward Eaton-Collins, who had netted seven league goals in the first half of the campaign.
It was Lewis Byrne-Hewitt who got Norwich first look on goal on six minutes, though – he was played through expertly by Henry Randall and forced a low stop from Ross Dalton.
Preston started to get themselves into the game and after Joe Whittington and Adam Robinson went close, they took the lead on 12 minutes through Ryan.
The tall striker did very well to control a long ball on his chest, and his finish was equal in quality, lobbing Ben Killip, dipping the shot just under the crossbar.
City responded almost immediately, and it was Morris – who netted a memorable hat-trick at the quarter final stage against Everton last season – who drew them level.
The striker was quickest to react in the six-yard box to a Norman corner, and he deftly flicked the ball over Preston’s standing defenders and into the net.
It was the perfect response from Adams’ troops, but the Lilywhites had a powerful striker of their own in Ryan and he would have given his side the lead once more had he not drifted into an offside position when he headed home on 26 minutes.
As expected in a cup-tie, there were plenty of tackles flying in but the chances dried up for both sides and the half-time whistle blew with the score-line a fair reflection of proceedings up to then.
HALF-TIME: Preston North End 1-1 Norwich City
The first quarter hour of the second period played in a similar fashion, and Adams made his first roll of dice on the hour mark, bringing on Harrison Heath for Byrne-Hewitt.
Heath slotted into central midfield with Randall being pushed out wide, but the Canaries weren’t the attacking force they were in the opening half with neither side at their creative best with a place in the Fourth Round at stake.
The Canaries created their best chance of the half up to then on 72 minutes – Rhys Browne’s pace took him down the left and he squared to Eaton-Collins who, after turning smartly in the box, powered a shot that Dalton palmed clear.
Browne then nudged a shot wide as the Canaries pressed, while the hosts had a penalty shout turned down when Ryan fell in the box.
City forced two corners in stoppage time but there was nothing doing and the tie headed into 30 minutes of extra time.
END OF 90 MINUTES: Preston North End 1-1 Norwich City
Norwich made their first chance count in extra-time to take the lead, however, and it lead to a glut of four goals in just eight minutes.
Firstly, Eaton-Collins’ burst down the right allowed him space to cross for Browne, and while his shot was blocked, Heath was on hand to nudge the Canaries’ into the lead.
Browne then deservedly joined the scorers himself, making no mistake from close range after Morris’ header had been blocked, before Eaton-Collins powered home a Norman cross to put things beyond doubt for City.
Norman turned provider again for Morris to notch his second on 101 minutes, smartly turning the ball home first time, before he was withdrawn for Ray Grant at half-time of extra-time.
It was Grant who notched the Canaries’ sixth in some style with seven minutes left – the ball fell to the substitute 20 yards from goal and he hit it first-time, with his left-footed drive going in off the post.
FULL-TIME (AET): Preston North End 1-6 Norwich City
GOALS: Preston North End: Jack Ryan (12) – Norwich City: Carlton Morris (16, 101), Harrison Heath (93), Rhys Browne (95), Jamie Eaton-Collins (97), Ray Grant (113).
PRESTON NORTH END: Dalton; Gray, Anderton, Scott, Sampson (Magolis 102), Roscoe, Robinson (Livesey 45), Holmes, Ryan, Forbes (c), Whittington (Boyd 76). Subs not used: Hudson (GK), Hagon.
NORWICH CITY: Killip; Norman (c), Wyatt, Lokko, Scales; Hodd, Randall (Efete 110); Byrne-Hewitt (Heath 59), Eaton-Collins, Browne; Morris (Grant 105). Subs not used: Oxborough (GK), Burgess.