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15 January 2015

Academy side lose out to Saints

NORWICH City's Development Squad were eliminated from the Barclays U-21s Premier League Cup following their defeat to a strong Southampton side at St Mary's.

The Canaries made two changes from the team which drew 1-1 against Manchester United last week, as Louis Ramsay and Benny Ashley-Seal came in for Cameron McGeehan and Jamar Loza with the pair having recently completed loan switches to Cambridge United and Yeovil Town respectively.

Meanwhile, the hosts handed a first start of the season to goalkeeper Will Britt, who represented City during the Club's FA Youth Cup success of 2013.

The pace of Ashley-Seal caused problems for the Saints early on, with Bevis Mugabi earning a third minute booking after being spun on the edge of the penalty-area by the visiting frontman.

Southampton looked to respond, and with ten minutes gone Ryan Seager looked to have played in Josh Sims only for Canaries goalkeeper Remi Matthews to read the danger well and race off his line to clear.

City continued to create opportunities of their own, and with quarter of an hour gone were only denied the lead by a fine save from Britt at full-stretch to divert a Ramsay shot wide following excellent work from Conor McGrandles.

Despite that, it would be Southampton who took the lead midway through the opening period when Seager was on hand to convert a Jake Sinclair cut-back at the end of a move started by midfielder Sam McQueen.

McQueen himself then broke through the middle before trying his luck on the half-hour mark, but saw Matthews equal to his effort as he stooped to gather low at his near-post.

Chances were at a premium for both sides, until Josh Sims' energetic break from midfield on 42 minutes saw a back-tracking Kyle McFadden dig deep to prevent an accurate cross being delivered.

That would come at a cost however, with McFadden forced off with injury shortly before the interval to be replaced by Nathan Fox; with the last action of the half seeing Ray Grant booked for a foul on halfway.

HALF-TIME: Southampton 1-0 Norwich City

Having taken a slender lead into the break, Southampton were first to threaten following the restart on 47 minutes when Seager found himself in space, but the striker could only chip narrowly wide of the post.

City were determined to get themselves level, and barely moments later came close to doing so when Ashley-Seal sent his effort just off-target from a Grant corner.

After being unable to restore parity, the visitors then had the offside flag to thank with Seager deemed to be in an illegal position as he tried to reach a dinked McQueen cross on 58 minutes.

Southampton continued to push for a second goal, and shortly before the hour-mark went close once more when Sims raced clear only to curl wide of the target having got himself into a promising position.

The away side then made their second change of the evening, with McGrandles replaced by Awuah for the final half-an-hour of play.

It was the hosts looking mostly likely to extend their lead though, with Matthews called into action again on 65 minutes to deny McQueen after the 19-year-old had tried to curl into the top-corner having cut in from the left flank.

In an effort to change the rhythm of the play, Lewis Byrne-Hewitt was introduced in place of Ashley-Seal four minutes later, but the Saints soon ensured further work for Matthews as he kept out a Seager header from a Sims cross before denying Sinclair with another fine save.

A steady flow of pressure from the home side eventually resulted in them doubling their advantage with eight minutes remaining, with McQueen on hand to curl into the net after Seager had struck the post.

Cameron Norman tried to bring his side back into the contest with a series of jinking runs down the right as time ticked down; Josh Debayo being cautioned for bringing down the homegrown winger as he tried to break clear.

However, it wasn't to be the Canaries' day, as the hosts saw out the game to set up a quarter-final meeting with Watford despite a last-gasp Norman free-kick clipping the crossbar.

FULL-TIME: Southampton 2-0 Norwich City

GOALS: Southampton: Ryan Seager (22), Sam McQueen (82)

SOUTHAMPTON: Britt (GK), Flannigan, Mugabi, Cook, Debayo, Gape (c), Little, Sims, McQueen (Slattery, 90), Sinclair (Willard, 88), Seager (Barnes, 90). Subs not used: Johns (GK), Mason.

NORWICH CITY: Matthews (GK); Hall-Johnson (c), Efete, Ramsay, McFadden (Fox, 44), Gafaiti, Norman, McGrandles (Awuah, 60), Grant, Ashley-Seal (Byrne-Hewitt, 69), Kelly. Subs not used: Beauchamp (GK), Cole.

Cardiff City - Saturday January 17, 3pm


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