City off colour in home defeat to BaggiesUNDER-21s coach Mark Robson was disappointed with his side’s display as they lost 1-0 to West Bromwich Albion at Carrow Road on Thursday evening.
Samir Nabi’s well-taken shot on the hour mark was enough to earn the dogged visitors all three points, even though they missed a penalty through Alex Jones just before half-time.
Norwich threatened most in the opening stages of the game – with Carlton Morris, Jamar Loza and Rod Young all having chances – but their attacking verve faded as the match wore on.
“It was a disappointing result and a disappointing performance. We actually started off well, but then after that I thought West Brom were the better team,” said Robson after the final whistle.
“When they were in possession of the ball they used it much better than we did. We ended up giving the ball away too often and not creating as many chances as we’d have liked.”
Josh Murphy returned to Robson’s starting line-up, while there was also a place for Loza who is eligible for selection despite currently being on loan at League One side Leyton Orient.
Morris volleyed over for the Canaries in just the second minute as they made a bright start to the game, with the returning Murphy smashing a shot into the side-netting soon after.
West Brom had their first real opening on 20 minutes, but they had Murphy to thank for a misplaced pass straight to Jones - thankfully Remi Matthews was fast down to his right to make the save.
Mani O’Sullivan then rattled the crossbar with a fine effort from 25 yards, before Loza’s flick at the other end from a set-piece almost caught Jack Rose unaware.
Young shot just over the bar at City began to take control later in the half, and after a stunning ball from Murphy moments on, his drive once again lacked composure.
The Baggies finished the half the stronger, however, and were gifted a golden opportunity to take the lead when Adel Gafaiti felled Jones in the box in stoppage time, with the referee pointing straight to the penalty spot.
Jones lifted himself up to take the spot-kick, but lofted it over the crossbar and kept the game goalless going into the break.
HALF-TIME: Norwich City 0-0 West Bromwich Albion
The first quarter of the second half passed without action but the visitors took the lead on 61 minutes after a swift move.
Nabi advanced with the ball, played a fast one-two with Jones and then curled the ball around Matthews to edge the Baggies in front.
Harry Toffolo’s long-range effort flew narrowly wide as City tried to respond, but their play was lacking fluidity in the final third and it looked as though West Brom were going to hold out for all three points.
They nearly grabbed a second through Joe Ward before Loza pushed a shot wide with five minutes left on the clock, one of the few times they’d broken through a stubborn Baggies defence.
Josh Murphy jinxed past four defenders in a valiant effort to forge a leveller in the final moments, but it wasn’t to be and Robson’s side slipped to their first defeat of the calendar year.
FULL-TIME: Norwich City 0-1 West Bromwich Albion
GOALS: Baggies: Samir Nabi (61)
NORWICH CITY: Matthews; Barker (Browne 87), McFadden (c), Gafaiti, Toffolo; Hall-Johnson, Grant; Young (Norman 62), Loza, Josh Murphy; Morris (Hodd 69). Subs not used: Killip (GK), Wyatt.
WEST BROM: Rose; Donnellan, Francis, O’Neil (c) (Pace 51), Howkins, Jones, Ward, Birch, Jones, O’Sullivan, Nabi. Subs not used: Wedderburn, Palmer, Wright.