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14 July 2015

City hit double figures at Top Field

NORWICH City eased to a 10-0 win over Hitchin Town in a special friendly to celebrate the Hertfordshire town's 150th year of football.

1,777 were at Top Field to witness the Premier League Canaries take on their Southern League Premier Division hosts, who share the same colours and nickname.

City marked the occasion by revealing and playing in their new 2015-16 away kit, and after a competitive first half with Cameron Jerome's two goals the difference, they powered through the gears in the second period.

Tony Andreu scored a hat-trick, with Gary Hooper, Wes Hoolahan, Gary O'Neil twice and Steven Whittaker finding the net as the Canaries secured a second big victory from their opening two pre-season matches following Saturday's 7-0 win at Gorleston.
They will now travel to Cambridge United on Friday (7.30pm) before flying out to Germany and Austria for a week's training camp at the weekend.

Neil's men walked out at Hitchin donning their new Errea design, with supporters present at the ground the first to catch a of glimpse of the 2015-16 design.

Alex Tettey and Jamar Loza started for their first appearances this pre-season as Neil once again elected to field a different starting eleven in each half.

Hitchin were a match for their more illustrious opponents in the opening ten minutes, defending strongly whenever City came close to threatening near their box.

But the visitors took the lead with an opener fashioned out of nothing on 15 minutes, and it was the Gorleston goal-getter Jerome who bagged it.

Norwich's leading scorer from their Championship promotion campaign pounced on a free ball to hit a snapshot from 20 yards that sneaked by Charlie Horlock at his near-post.

Two minutes later, Hitchin would have been level but for a fingertip save by John Ruddy - it was Matt Lench who had sprinted onto a through ball, but he found City's 'keeper in sharp form as he turned his shot over the bar.

Jerome could have extended his team's lead on 20 minutes when he broke free with Josh Murphy, but Horlock was fast off his line to close down the angles and the hosts steadied themselves once more.

City were beginning to move the ball between feet faster, however, and Loza almost scored when cutting in off the right flank but Horlock got a strong right-hand to the ball.

Graham Dorrans then saw a close-range effort deflected past the post, and it fell to Jerome, almost inevitably, to get the next goal on 27 minutes.

This one stemmed from quick interplay between Elliott Bennett and Loza, with the latter's reverse ball finding the striker, who finished for his fifth goal from the two warm-up matches.

Josh Murphy dragged a left-footed effort wide as Neil's men searched for a third, with Bradley Johnson and Jerome also seeing half chances come and go.

Jonny McNamara could have done better when he got inside Bradley Johnson on the right wing, but the Hitchin man's control let him down before he got another chance - though this time he found Sebastien Bassong in his way.

HALF-TIME: Hitchin Town 0-2 Norwich City

City's second half team saw pre-season bows for Whittaker, Russell Martin and Hoolahan after their delayed returns from internationals, while supporters in attendance also saw Youssouf Mulumbu in yellow & green for the first time.

Six minutes after the break, another man who had impressed at Gorleston - Andreu - got the Premier League side's third.

Hooper, playing in a lone front role, teed up the Frenchman on the edge of the box and he swept the ball low into the net beyond Horlock.

Then for the fourth three minutes later, their roles were reversed as Andreu picked out Hooper in the six-yard box, leaving the forward with the simplest of finishes.

Hooper then, almost immediately, missed past the post as Norwich upped the ante in the final third, and they got a penalty on 57 minutes.

Jacob Murphy was tripped by Horlock after a swift move involving Andreu and Hoolahan, and it was the Republic of Ireland midfielder who found the net from 12 yards.

Murphy was involved again in City's sixth on 62, crossing for Andreu to convert at the back post, before Gary O'Neil added his name to the scorers with a fine first-time finish two minutes later.

Horlock twice prevented Andreu netting a second half hat-trick before the former Hamilton man got his third, finding the left corner after racing in behind Hitchin's defence.

There was still time for O'Neil to sweep home his second on 85 minutes and Whittaker to net the tenth, but despite their superior fitness and class eventually shining through it still proved a memorable night for opponents Hitchin.

FULL-TIME: Hitchin Town 0-10 Norwich City

GOALS: City: Cameron Jerome (15, 27), Tony Andreu (51, 62, 75), Gary Hooper (54), Wes Hoolahan (pen 57), Gary O'Neil (64, 85), Steven Whittaker (90)

NORWICH FIRST HALF XI: Ruddy; E Bennett, R Bennett, Bassong, Johnson; Tettey, Dorrans, Thompson; Loza, Josh Murphy, Jerome.

NORWICH SECOND HALF XI: Rudd; Whittaker, Martin, Turner, Toffolo; Mulumbu, O'Neil; Andreu, Hoolahan, Jacob Murphy; Hooper.

Referee: Keith Stroud

Attendance: 1,777

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