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25 February 2014

Howson makes return as Under-21s beat Toffees

JONNY Howson played an hour for Norwich City's Under-21s as Jamar Loza's late goal earned them a 2-1 victory over Everton at Carrow Road.

Midfielder Howson has been missing since mid-December with a back injury but successfully came through his first match action since returning to full training last week.

Luciano Becchio also featured as Mark Robson's side won thanks to Loza's 85th minute effort and Josh Murphy's deflected strike in the first half.

Tyias Browning had levelled for the visitors early in the second period, but the Canaries grasped the initiative to earn maximum points at the final whistle.

Howson said afterwards: "I'm delighted to be back. It's been a frustrating time, the last couple of months or so.

"It was one of those things where you don't realise what you've got until it's gone because you miss it so much. I was just glad to be back out there and playing a part."

Mark Robson included Murphy in his starting eleven, while second-year scholar Cameron Norman began the night on the right-hand side of a midfield four.

Everton’s line-up was littered with a few names from the side that City’s Under-18s beat in the FA Youth Cup quarter-finals last season, including forward Hallam Hope.

They almost broke through after just 40 seconds when Matthew Kennedy drove forward and shot, but Remi Matthews was his equal as he turned it around the post.

Howson made his first notable contribution on ten minutes as a beautifully-weighted pass played in Jamar Loza, but Everton’s defence retreated and successfully dealt with the danger.

Moments after Conor McAleny had rattled the crossbar for the visitors, the Canaries took the lead on 23 minutes.

Murphy picked up possession outside the box, and his effort deflected off an Everton defender before looping over Mason Springthorpe into the net.

Springthorpe then had his hands stung by Reece Hall-Johnson’s drive as City pushed for a second, but the rest of the half played out with no further chance and the Canaries led at the break.

HALF-TIME: Norwich City 1-0 Everton

Ibou Touray replaced Ben McLaughlin for Everton at half-time but it was Norwich who had the second half’s first opportunity through Murphy, who drilled a shot wide from the edge of the box.

Everton levelled things up on 53 minutes – Matthews looked to be in control of McAleny’s set-piece, but City’s stopper fumbled with the ball and skipper Browning pounced to the turn the ball home from close range.

Howson was replaced on the hour mark by Ray Grant, with the midfielder having made a solid contribution in his first game back from his back injury.

Becchio was withdrawn ten minutes later along with Harry Barker – Carlton Morris and Rod Young were introduced as Mark Robson looked to swing momentum back in his side’s favour.

It worked, but it was one of the players who started the game who scored it – Loza’s mishit his first effort but his second went in off the post from the edge of the box, much to the crowd's delight at Carrow Road.

It left the Canaries five minutes to play out, and they managed to do that and hold on for all three points to keep above their opponents in the Barclays Under-21s Premier League.

Robson added after the game: "We're very pleased. I thought it was a really good game actually. I thought Everton were a decent side and they put us under a lot of pressure early on.

"There was passion from both sides, so all in all we're delighted with the win, and I'd say we had the most chances in the game so we deserved it."

FULL-TIME: Norwich City 2-1 Everton

GOALS: Canaries: Josh Murphy (23), Jamar Loza (85) - Toffees: Tyias Browning (53)

NORWICH CITY: Matthews; Barker (Young 70), McFadden (c), Gafaiti, Toffolo; Norman, Howson (Grant 61), Hall-Johnson, Josh Murphy; Loza; Becchio (Morris 70). Subs not used: Oxborough (GK), Hodd.

EVERTON: Springthorpe; McLaughlin (Touray 45), Garbutt, Ledson, Pennington, Browning (c), Kennedy, Williams, Hope, McAleny (Walsh 86), Donohue (Charsley 68). Subs not used: Griffiths (GK), Duffus.


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