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28 July 2015

80 years of Carrow Road marked by friendly

WEST Ham United edged Norwich City out 1-0 in their special friendly played to mark 80 years of football at Carrow Road.

The two sides met in the first match at the Canaries' home ground back in 1935, with City winning 4-3 on that occasion, and the Club put on a number of events to commemorate the special anniversary.

It was Londoners who came out on top this time around, however, after Harry Toffolo deflected Dmitri Payet's cross into his own net eight minutes prior to the final whistle.

City will welcome Brentford to Carrow Road on Saturday for their final warm-up game before the Premier League season kicks-off against Crystal Palace on August 8.

Neil made sweeping changes from the 2-1 win at FC Augsburg, with Gary O'Neil captaining a team that included only John Ruddy, Toffolo and Alex Tettey from Saturday's game in Prien.

West Ham, with one eye on Thursday's Europa League third qualifying round first leg match against AFC Astra, rested the likes of Mark Noble and Enner Valencia but still fielded a strong eleven.

Morgan Amalfitano fired narrowly wide within the first minute but City grew steadily into the game after the Hammers' lively start, with Ryan Bennett nodding into the Adrian's arms from a Gary O'Neil corner.

After a minute's applause spread in the tenth minute to recognise the first ever Carrow Road goal 80 years ago, Tony Andreu nearly got lucky as he charged down a clearance and the ball flashed narrowly over the bar.

Modibo Maigo headed straight at John Ruddy from an Amalfitano corner, but Andreu went close again for the Canaries, forcing Adrian into a low save when he struck from outside the box.

The game carried an intensity from both sides not usually associated with pre-season friendlies, but it was City who should have carried the advantage into the interval.

Ricky van Wolfswinkel got the better of West Ham's high line to race onto Michael Turner's clearance, but despite having the time to pick his spot the striker was thwarted by Adrian.

HALF-TIME: Norwich City 0-0 West Ham United

Jonny Howson replaced Alex Tettey and Andreu made way for Nathan Redmond in Norwich's two second half changes, and Neil's men started well with van Wolfswinkel steering Vadis Odjidja's pass wide inside two minutes.

Redmond found himself with space to run into moments later, though his finish lacked composure and he rifled his shot into the side-netting - then Ruddy was called into action up the other end.

The opportunity opened up for Hammers winger Matt Jarvis on the left-side, but Ruddy produced a strong hand to deny the former Wolves man and the deadlock remained unbroken.

Slaven Bilic made nine changes on the hour mark and one of his substitutes, Cheikhou Kouyate, saw a deflected effort drift wide of Ruddy's post on 67 minutes.

Elliott Bennett tried his luck from range moments later, his drive whistling wide of Adrian's post, but then West Ham nearly edged ahead.

Ruddy should have done better when he palmed a cross at the feet of Valencia, but the Canaries' goalkeeper redeemed himself, spreading himself to keep out the Ecuadorian forward's stab at goal.

He then made a save from Mauro Zarate after he was found by Payet as West Ham pressed for a winner, but on the counter van Wolfswinkel went close when Adrian was forced to turn over his looping header.

With eight minutes left on the clock, another West Ham attack brought the game's decisive goal in unlucky circumstances for City's young defender.

Van Wolfswinkel headed Payet's corner back to the Hammers' summer signing, and his return ball was inadvertently turned into his own net by Toffolo after both Ruddy and Odjidja had failed to clear.

FULL-TIME: Norwich City 0-1 West Ham United

GOALS: Hammers: Harry Toffolo og (82)

NORWICH CITY: Ruddy; E Bennett, R Bennett, Turner, Toffolo; Tettey (Howson 45), O'Neil (c); Odjidja Ofoe, Hooper (Josh Murphy 78), Andreu (Redmond 45); van Wolfswinkel (Loza 90). Subs not used: Rudd (GK), Jacob Murphy, Hall-Johnson, McGrandles.

REFEREE: Kevin Friend


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