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12 July 2014

Lafferty scores on debut as Canaries get off to winning start

KYLE Lafferty marked his first appearance in a Norwich City shirt with the winning goal as the Canaries opened their pre-season schedule with a 1-0 win over a resilient Dereham Town.

The Northern Ireland international, a summer signing from Palermo, volleyed home from close range fifteen minutes from time to earn Neil Adams’ team a merited victory.

City dominated throughout, especially in an opening 25 minutes littered with missed opportunities, but the hosts will be happy that they managed pushed their more illustrious opponents all the way.

The competitive nature of the contest will have pleased Adams though, with his side being tested thoroughly in warm summer conditions in front of a 2000-strong crowd at Aldiss Park.

Norwich fielded a strong starting XI that included their other new recruit Lewis Grabban, while always having the intention to make wholesale changes at the half-time.

Grabban and Gary Hooper combined just two minutes in, with the latter seeing his volley fly well over the bar – but that was just the start of a lively first period of the game for the Canaries.

The impressive Grabban then saw a shot deflected wide before John Ruddy had to be sharp to deny Craig Bussens up the other end.

Further City opportunities through Hooper and Ryan Bennett came and went, and when Grabban was denied once more by Andy Wilton in Dereham’s goal, it looked as though the hosts were to get to the break fortuitously level.

HALF-TIME: Dereham Town 0-0 Norwich City

They did, and with the Canaries making nine changes at the interval, the second period took a while to settle into a rhythm.

Josh Murphy was making inroads down City’s left-hand side, however, and it was his direct play that allowed him to cross for Nathan Redmond, who saw his well-struck drive deflected over.

Lafferty was proving a threat up front too, with his powerful run resulting in another opportunity for Redmond, who this time sliced the ball away from the target.

Murphy forced a smart stop from Wilton from distance before City finally make their breakthrough on 76 minutes.

Redmond played a one-two with Andrew Surman from a short corner, and the winger’s cross deep to the back post was met by Michael Turner, whose header picked out an unmarked Lafferty.

The striker fired the ball home with confidence – a moment of relief for City and of huge disappointment for the Magpies, who had thrown everything into the contest.

Adams’ team comfortably played out the final portion of the game to ensure a winning start to their 2014-15 campaign.

FULL-TIME: Dereham Town 0-1 Norwich City

NORWICH CITY: Ruddy (Rudd 45); Whittaker (Gafaiti 45), Martin (c) (Jacob Murphy 60), R Bennett (Turner 45), Garrido (Surman 60); Tettey (Johnson 45); E Bennett (Howson 45), Surman (Josh Murphy 45); Loza (Redmond 45); Hooper (Lafferty 45), Grabban (Becchio 45).

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