City youngsters suffer Senior Cup defeatNORWICH City's defence of their Norfolk Senior Cup title came to an end as they were beaten 2-0 by Gorleston in their semi-final at Emerald Park.
Two second half goals from Christy Finch secured a hard-fought win for the hosts as City's youngsters struggled to cope with an uneven playing surface and the no-nonsense approach of their opponents.
The Canaries' best chance was Harry Toffolo's header late in the first half that was cleared off the line, but they couldn't create many further opportunities after the break.
Gorleston will now face Wroxham in the final of the competition at Carrow Road on May 15.
Professional Development Coach Jerry Gill said afterwards: "We struggled tonight because we couldn't play the football we wanted on this type of pitch.
"In the end though it's about putting the ball in the back of the net, and we struggled to create enough chances and we didn't defend our goal well enough. Gorleston made it very difficult for us tonight because they worked very hard."
The Canaries were aggressive in their formation, with an attacking midfield three of Cameron Norman, Reece Hall-Johnson and Harvey Hodd supporting Carlton Morris and Jamar Loza up front.
Gorleston played at a high-tempo in the early stages, putting City under pressure on a pitch that certainly didn’t make short, fast passing on the ground a simple task.
They switched to a more direct style early in the first half and Loza soon forced the first testing save from Elliot Pride with a low drive from the edge of the box.
Ray Grant’s speculative effort almost squeezed into the far corner as the Canaries got on top, but Gorleston were a threat from set-pieces and City had Harry Toffolo to thank for a magnificent block on the goal-line from a powerful shot.
A foul on Morris led to a confrontation involving players from both sides as tempers spilled over in a competitive cup tie.
Toffolo had a header cleared off the line at the back-post on 41 minutes from Grant’s corner, but the hosts will have gone in at the break happy with their work in the first half.
HALF-TIME: Gorleston 0-0 Norwich City
Morris took one touch too many when played in by a fantastic cross-field ball from Norman early in the second period, and Andy Howell was able to intercept any danger.
Moments later, Grant’s corner found its way into the net but was disallowed for a foul on Pride, and Gorleston took advantage up the other end.
Some hesitant defending from Reiss Awuah allowed Finch to nip, take the ball around Remi Matthews and slot into the empty net.
Norwich were struggling to put any pressure on in the final third and Finch netted his second – the prolific forward picked up the ball on the edge of the box and his shot had enough velocity to beat Matthews and nestle in the corner.
His goals proved the difference as City’s defence of their title ended in the last four of the competition.
FULL-TIME: Gorleston 2-0 Norwich City
GOALS: Greens: Christy Finch (58, 72)
GORLESTON: Pride; Poppy, Taylor, Hinton, Howell (c), Armes, Garrod (Middleton 78), Sandford, Stone, Finch (Bell 90), Hough. Subs not used: Moughton.
NORWICH CITY: Matthews (c); Barker, Awuah (Lokko 73), Toffolo, Wyatt; Grant (Browne 82); Norman, Hall-Johnson, Hodd (Young 82); Morris, Loza. Subs not used: Randall, Killip (GK).
REFEREE: Mark Chalkley