Canaries Youth Cup defence over after defeatNORWICH City's Under-18s conceded three goals in the first 21 minutes against Watford as they were knocked out of the FA Youth Cup after a 3-1 defeat at Vicarage Road.
The Canaries were stunned in the opening minute of the game as Alex Jakubiak fired the hosts ahead, before Josh Dohery converted a penalty to double their lead.
George Byers' stunning long range effort left Neil Adams' team with a mountain to climb, and although they were the more threatening side for the rest of the match, they could only score once through Rhys Browne.
The result means City will not defend the title they so memorably won last season with a 4-2 aggregate victory over Chelsea in the Final.
Adams made two changes from the 6-1 win over Preston in the previous round, with Reiss Awuah slotting into central defence and Ray Grant starting in midfield.
Cameron Norman, Ben Wyatt, Harvey Hodd, Henry Randall and Carlton Morris were the survivors from last season’s 3-2 victory in the second leg of the final at Stamford Bridge.
City couldn’t have got off to a worse start, however, as the hosts took the lead within the first minute.
Randall’s heavy touch gifted Watford possession and they moved the ball swiftly to Jakubiak, who broke into the box and powered his shot past Ben Killip.
The shock showed for the youngsters as they struggled to settle into the game, and they misery was compounded on 12 minutes when Wyatt collided with an attacker to concede a penalty.
Doherty confidently dispatched the spot-kick to leave City reeling so early in the game, and two became three on 21 minutes in stunning fashion.
Byers had no qualms about shooting first-time on the half volley from 30 yards, and his well-struck effort curved away from Killip and nestled into the corner.
Adams responded by matching Watford’s 3-5-2 formation, replacing Ray Grant with Ben Burgess.
City then had their best spell of the game as Jamie Eaton-Collins tested Daniel Wilks from distance, before the same player looked to have been tripped in the box, but referee Nigel Lugg waved away their protests.
Kevin Lokko and Browne then had half chances but City needed to take one before whistle for half-time blew, and it was Norman who came closest, forcing a superb reaction save from Wilks.
HALF-TIME: Watford 3-0 Norwich City
Eaton-Collins forced the first save of the second half after excellent work from Morris, before Lokko had another header that was a comfortable collection for Wilks.
Harrison Heath replaced Henry Randall with half an hour left on the clock, and City deservedly got on the scoresheet three minutes on through Browne.
The diminutive forward was quickest to react in the box to Lokko’s header, and he turned the ball home to spark faint hopes of an unlikely comeback.
Heath then should have scored when he met Norman’s free-kick, but he somehow managed to clear the bar with his shot before Eaton-Collins’ finish lacked composure on 77 minutes.
Hope was fast running out for the Canaries and their threat diminished as the second half drew to a close, and as the final blew they relinquished their FA Youth Cup crown.
FULL-TIME: Watford 3-1 Norwich City
GOALS: Hornets: Alex Jakubiak (1), Josh Doherty (pen 12), George Byers (21) – Canaries: Rhys Browne (63)
WATFORD: Wilks; Barnum-Bobb, Doherty, Byers, Johnson (c) (Hall 69), Young, Dillon, Hope, Jakubiak, Rosenthal (Lewis 61), Kyprianou. Subs not used: Martin, Cox, Bawling.
NORWICH CITY: Killip; Norman (c), Awuah (Efete 85), Lokko, Wyatt; Hodd; Randall (Heath 60), Grant (Burgess 25); Eaton-Collins; Morris, Browne. Subs not used: Oxborough (GK), Byrne-Hewitt.
REFEREE: Nigel Lugg