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15 July 2014

Canaries storm to friendly victory in Essex

NORWICH City produced a clinical display to thrash Braintree Town 6-1 in their pre-season friendly at the Amlin Stadium.

The Canares were fast out of the blocks with Andrew Surman scoring after just seven minutes, before Kyle Lafferty bagged his second in as many games with a sublime free-kick.

Ricky van Wolfswinkel scored twice in an open second period that also saw City net through Bradley Johnson and Nathan Redmond as well, with Sean Marks getting the Iron's consolation.

The creativity in the final third will have delighted Neil Adams and the Canaries' supporters on show, with the victory setting the squad up nicely for the tour of Italy and France that they fly out for this Friday.

Adams named a strong starting eleven that included first appearances of pre-season for Martin Olsson and Wes Hoolahan, while Saturday’s goalscorer, Lafferty, began up front with Gary Hooper.

Braintree named City Academy product Sam Habergham in their line-up for the 7.45pm kick off.

Johnson’s low free-kick just a couple of minutes in was the first chance of a productive early stage of the game for Norwich, with it warranting the game’s opening goal.

Wes Hoolahan found himself in space in the box, with the Ireland international lifting his head to find Surman, who finished calmly past Nick Hamann on seven minutes.

Gary Hooper and Johnson both went close as they pushed for a second, but the hosts almost drew level when Sean Marks got in behind City’s back four, only to see his effort beat John Ruddy but flick off the outside of the post.

City’s confidence was high though and so was Lafferty’s, as demonstrated when he bagged the second goal of the game on 24 minutes.

He had no hesitation in taking command over a 25-yard free-kick that left Hamann with no chance as it flew into the left corner.

Ronnie Hawkins found the sidenetting for Braintree soon after but Lafferty was proving a thorn in their defence alongside Hoolahan and Hooper, and he hit the bar with a header from Elliott Bennett’s delivery on 38 minutes.

HALF-TIME: Braintree Town 0-2 Norwich City

Adams made eight changes at the break which included maiden bows of pre-season for Mark Bunn and van Wolfswinkel, and it was the Dutchman who got the Canaries’ third just two minutes into the second half.

Hamann came rushing out of his goal to clear but missed his kick, leaving van Wolfswinkel the simple task of walking the ball into the back of the net.

Redmond’s drive from distance on 54 minutes found the net for the Canaries’ fourth before Johnson rifled home from the edge of the box to add another two thirds of the way into the game.

Braintree showed their resolve by deservedly getting on the scoresheet themselves through target man Sean Marks when he netted from close-range after Kenny Davis’ cross 69 minutes.

City were soon back on the front foot, however, and saw van Wolfswinkel flick a header wide after he was accurately picked out by Steven Whittaker.

He bagged his second and the Canaries’ sixth four minutes from time thanks to Josh Murphy’s superb work down the left, leaving him a comfortable finish from inside the six-yard box.

FULL-TIME: Braintree Town 1-6 Norwich City

NORWICH CITY: Ruddy (Bunn 45); E Bennett (Whittaker 45), Martin (c) (Ryan Bennett 45), Turner (Gafaiti 60), Olsson (Garrido 45); Johnson (Loza 67); Howson (Hoolahan 60), Surman (Redmond 45); Hoolahan (Josh Murphy 45); Lafferty (Grabban 45), Hooper (van Wolfswinkel 45).

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