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11 May 2015

Josh Murphy hat-trick helps rescue dramatic point

NORWICH City's Development Squad produced a stunning fightback to rescue an improbable 4-4 draw away to Liverpool at Anfield on Monday night.

The Canaries had trailed 3-0 at the interval, but showed tremendous character to bring themselves level during the second half thanks to a brace from Josh Murphy either side of Carlton Morris' strike.

Even then, they faced a tough task when losing Reece Hall-Johnson to a red card which saw them go 4-3 down late on, but Josh Murphy completed his hat-trick to salvage a thoroughly deserved point.

The Murphy twins returned to Paul Wilkinson's squad after loan spells at Colchester United and Wigan Athletic respectively, and their inclusion had the desired effect in an incredible game.

City started brightly, with the width offered by the young flankers allowing Morris an early sight of goal only for the striker to fire over.

However, shortly before the midway point in the first half the hosts went in front when Jordan Williams reacted quickest at the back-post to convert following a Ryan Kent corner.

Kent himself then got on the scoresheet soon after, latching onto a precise pass from Harry Wilson before bending an effort beyond Remi Matthews via the post.

Liverpool stretched their lead ahead of the interval, with the effective Cameron Brannagan firing home a rasping strike into the bottom corner from distance.

HALF-TIME: Liverpool 3-0 Norwich City

Wilkinson's side responded well after the restart, and deservedly reduced the deficit on the hour-mark through Josh Murphy.

The young winger used his pace to race onto a lofted ball over the top of the Reds' defence, before smashing in at the near-post to give City a lifeline.

Within moments, the advantage was cut further; Morris this time finding the net as he tapped home from close-range.

Suddenly, the Canaries smelt blood, and remarkably they found themselves back on level terms just minutes later.

Once again, the Murphy twins were at the heart of the action as they combined fluently; the move culminating in Josh netting his second of the game.

Having latched onto a pass over the top of the Reds' defence the youngster displayed a ruthless touch to smash in at the far-post with a classy finish.

The away side appeared the most likely to go on and win the game from that point, only to suffer a cruel twist late on which seemed to leave them destined for defeat.

A goal-bound shot from Sheyi Ojo was deflected away by Hall-Johnson, with the referee awarding a penalty for handball and dismissing the City defender.

Ojo himself stepped up to take the spot-kick, and calmly beat Matthews to put his team back in front against the run of play.

Once more though, City rallied, and incredibly dragged themselves level when Josh Murphy completed his hat-trick with another superb finish by lashing beyond Danny Ward emphatically.

That goal would prove to be the final one of the evening, as the Canaries claimed a fully merited point in the Barclays Under-21s Premier League while ending Liverpool's title hopes.

FULL-TIME: Liverpool 4-4 Norwich City

LIVERPOOL: Ward; Randall, Maguire, Williams, Cleary, Stewart, Wilson, Brannagan, Yesil (Canos, 68), Ojo, Kent. Subs not used: Vigouroux (GK), Trickett-Smith, O'Hanlon, Hart.

NORWICH CITY: Matthews; Hall-Johnson, McFadden, Crowe, Efete; Grant (King, 45); Norman, McGrandles; Jacob Murphy, Josh Murphy; Morris. Subs not used: Killip (GK), Cantwell, Couzens, Ramsay.

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