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REPORT: U21s 0-0 SUNDERLAND

13 April 2015

City held by ten-man Black Cats

NORWICH City's Development Squad were held to a 0-0 draw by ten-man Sunderland in a feisty affair at Colney Training Centre in the Barclays Under-21s Premier League on Monday.

Paul Wilkinson's side dealt with some early Sunderland pressure well, before steadily growing into the game and asking questions of their opponents.

The visitors saw Thomas McNamee dismissed early in the second half, but held firm in the face of increasing City pressure as the game wore on.

It was Sunderland who threatened first on seven minutes, with Remi Matthews on hand to rush out and clear after a long clearance can come close to finding dangerman Duncan Watmore.

Barely moments later City countered for their best opportunity of the opening exchanges; Becchio heading Sam Kelly's cross at Jordan Pickford following a quick free-kick from Cameron Norman.

With 13 minutes played an excellent team move offered Reece Hall-Johnson the chance to shoot, but his effort was blocked before Becchio fired over.

The Black Cats then came within inches of opening the scoring on 13 minutes as Watmore capitalised on a defensive slip to round Matthews, only to see his shot from the angle cleared off the line by the retreating Ignasi Miquel.

Matthews then produced a fine save midway through the half to keep the score at 0-0, stooping low to his left to palm a Martin Smith free-kick wide.

The Canaries ended the opening period strongly following further sporadic attempts from Sunderland, with a precise Conor McGrandles free-kick from deep narrowly eluding Carlton Morris on 42 minutes.

HALF-TIME: Norwich City 0-0 Sunderland

City began the second half how they had ended the first, and a surge down the right from Hall-Johnson culminated in McGrandles sending a deflected effort at Pickford five minutes after the restart.

Within 60 seconds they went close again; a smart turn from Morris allowing the forward to move into the penalty-area before firing over.

It was then that the major incident of the game took place, with a lunge from McNamee on Becchio on halfway in the 53rd minute leading to both sets of players confronting each other on the pitch.

McNamee saw red for a combination of the tackle and his involvement in the aftermath, with Morris also cautioned.

Despite their numerical disadvantage, Watmore went close for Sunderland again on the hour-mark, this time sending wide having been put through one-on-one with Matthews.

The introduction of Ray Grant to midfield saw the hosts steadily begin to stretch Robbie Stockdale's men however, and a fizzing low delivery from the right by Hall-Johnson flew across the face of goal on 64 minutes.

Shortly after, Grant's measured delivery following a quickly-taken corner picked out Miquel in the box, only for the defender to nod firmly down into Pickford's grasp.

There was still time for Sunderland to test Matthews, with City's goalkeeper on hand to expertly punch away a whipped Smith free-kick with a dozen minutes remaining.

City pressed for a winner, but were forced to settle for a point after being restricted well during the closing stages by their opponents.

FULL-TIME: Norwich City 0-0 Sunderland

NORWICH CITY: Matthews (GK); Hall-Johnson, McFadden (c), Miquel, Efete; Wiltshire (Grant, 58); McGrandles, Norman; Morris, Kelly; Becchio. Subs not used: Oxborough (GK), Crowe, Black, Byrne-Hewitt.

SUNDERLAND: Pickford (GK); Cartwright, Robson, Agnew (c), McNamee, Beadling, Gooch, Smith, Watmore, Honeyman, Greenwood (Robson, 58). Subs not used: Talbot (GK), Blinco, Wright, Nelson.

REFEREE: C Pollard

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