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17 December 2014

Canaries match Liverpool to share the points at Carrow Road

AN even contest between Norwich City's Development Squad and Liverpool ended with the sides sharing the points at Carrow Road in the Barclays U-21 Premier League.

Jamar Loza opened the scoring for City with an impressive solo effort, only for Liverpool's busy No. 9 Jack Dunn to prod home after a goalmouth skirmish late on and ensure the sides took a point apiece.

Ryan Bennett, captaining City's U21s for the night, received a warm welcome from the 8,830 vociferous supporters gathered under the Carrow Road lights as he made a long-awaited return from injury, and put in an assured performance alongside fellow senior defensive partner Ignasi Miquel. Mark Bunn in goal and Javier Garrido rounded out the senior contingent of City's young side with equally solid showings.

And it was Bennett who came closest to opening the scoring for City in a first half of few chances. Murphy's 17th-minute free kick evaded everyone in the box but Bennett was close enough to glancing a header goalwards that it drew expectant noise from the crowd.

While the threat to both goals was limited in the opening 45 minutes, it was City who could claim the lions' share. A low Cameron Norman cross was almost deflected into his own net by Liverpool defender Lloyd Jones, while Murphy rifled an effort narrowly wide after a jinking, skilful run rolled the visitors' defenders onto their heels. A piledriver was blocked, Cameron Norman lifted an effort over the bar and a 40th minute sprint on goal by Murphy was dramatically foiled by the head of onrushing Liverpool keeper Dan Ward.

At the other end an over hit back pass from Miquel had Bunn back-peddling under pressure before hacking it clear, while the City keeper made a fine diving save to deny a powerful strike from Dunn.

HALF TIME: Norwich City 0-0 Liverpool

Momentum shifted in the second half as Liverpool rose into the game and began to dominate possession. Long periods of pressure almost paid dividends for the visitors on 61 minutes. Lively winger Brad Smith broke free on the left before driving a perfect low cross to the feet of Dunn in front of City's goal, but his timing let him down and he swiped at air.

It was against the run of play that City took the lead. Jamaica international Jamar Loza - substituted on for Cameron King 10 minutes earlier - latched onto a nodded pass and surged forward, bamboozling his marker with quick feet before fizzing a rising strike over the advancing Ward.

Adel Gafaiti came on for Sam Kelly shortly afterwards and moved into a defensive midfield position in front of the back four as City looked to hold onto their lead. But the introduction of the dynamic Ryan Kent added extra zing to Liverpool's forward momentum and he almost equalised with a 25-yard curler that flew close.

A minute later Liverpool had their goal from a corner, Dunn the quickest to the ball after an unfortunate deflection fell into his path as City attempted to clear in front of goal.

Camerons Norman and McGeehan almost combined with cross and header respectively to threaten for City, while Dunn again failed to connect with a precise cross with the goal beckoning. With time ticking away Liverpool's pressure mounted.

Crucial interventions from Bunn in the closing minutes - a fingertip save to deflect a rising Kent strike over the bar and a smart stop at his near post to deny McLaughlin - were enough to see out the game and earn a deserved point for the Canaries.

FULL TIME: Norwich City 1-1 Liverpool

GOALS: Canaries: Jamar Loza (69) - Liverpool: Jack Dunn (83)

NORWICH CITY: Bunn; Hall-Johnson, R Bennett (C), Miquel, Garrido; Norman, McGeehan, McGrandles, Kelly (Gafaiti 71); King (Loza 59), Josh Murphy. Subs not used: McFadden, Beauchamp (GK), Aransibia

LIVERPOOL:  Dan Ward, Dan Tricket-Smith (Ojo 45), Joe Maguire (Kent 77), Dan Cleary, Lloyd Jones (c), Kevin Stewart, Ryan McLaughlin, Cameron Brannagan, Jack Dunn, Marc Pelosi, Brad Smith. Subs not used: Randle, Fulton, O’Hanlon,



Millwall - Friday December 26, 3pm

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