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REPORT: UNDER-21s 2-0 IPSWICH

3 August 2015

Josh Murphy brace seals friendly victory

TWO goals from Josh Murphy gave Norwich City Under-21s a 2-0 victory over their Ipswich Town counterparts at Colney Training Centre on Monday.

In what was Dmitri Halajko's first game since being confirmed to the manager's role on a full-time basis, the Canaries produced a polished performance to convincingly see off the challenge of their East Anglian rivals.

The hosts started brightly, and threatened to go in front as early as the fourth minute when Josh Murphy's low cross from the left was diverted over the bar by brother Jacob Murphy.

Operating on the opposite flank, Jacob Murphy then looked to turn provider as his fizzing cross flashed across goal and narrowly beyond the stretching Michee Efete.

City steadily began to ramp up the pressure, and midway through the half Jamar Loza was only denied by a goalline clearance after rounding the Ipswich goalkeeper.

That proved merely a stay of execution for the visitors however, with the Canaries offered the chance to open the scoring on 24 minutes when Jacob Murphy was illegally felled in the box.

Josh Murphy stepped up to take the resultant spot-kick, confidently dispatching the penalty to give his side a deserved lead.

Halajko's youngsters quickly pushed for a second, with Loza going close just after the half-hour before Joe Crowe headed straight at the Town goalkeeper having been picked out well by Conor McGrandles.

With half-time looming, City eventually made the pressure count however, with Josh Murphy doubling the advantage on 43 minutes.

Breaking down the left flank in pursuit of a long pass from Louis Thompson, the winger cut inside ahead of angling a measured shot into the net via the woodwork.

The Canaries began the second period on the front foot, and could have moved further in front on 50 minutes had it not been for some resilient defending preventing Loza and McGrandles from having clear sights of goal.

Excellent combination play between Cameron King and substitute Jake Hallahan then looked set to release Michee Efete soon after, only for the move to break down at the crucial stage.

While the hosts were having much of the play, they remained vigilant defensively too; Reece Hall-Johnson reading playing intelligently to stall an attack before Ben Killip saved a speculative Town effort from distance.

At the other end, Hall-Johnson was proving a threat with his precise delivery from wide - an 82nd minute right-wing cross finding Josh Murphy, who came within inches of a hat-trick as his driven effort rattled off the post to safety.

City pushed hard for a third, but were prevented from adding to their tally by a succession of fine saves from the Town goalkeeper.

None were more impressive than a double-stop to keep out quick-fire efforts from Jamie Eaton-Collins and Efete in the closing moments, with both denied from point-blank range by the 'stopper to ensure the game ended at 2-0.

The young Canaries will now travel to Colchester United's Florence Park on Tuesday, August 4 (2pm)  for one final pre-season friendly as they round off their preparations for the 2015-16 season.

FULL-TIME: Norwich City 2-0 Ipswich Town

GOALS: Canaries: Josh Murphy (24 pen., 43)

NORWICH CITY: Killip; Hall-Johnson, Coker, Crowe, Efete; Jacob Murphy (Josh Murphy, 70), McGrandles, Thompson (Grant, 73), Josh Murphy (Jake Hallahan, 45) King (Norman, 73), Loza (Eaton-Collins, 77). Subs not used: Oxborough (GK).

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