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20 May 2015

City battle back for a point at Carrow Road

JACOB Murphy scored both goals to earn Norwich City's Under-21s a comeback 2-2 draw in their final match of the season against Chelsea.

Murphy, only recently returned from a successful loan spell with League One survivors Colchester United, backed up his stunning first strike with the equaliser 20 minutes from the end of this Barclays Under-21s Premier League encounter.

Strikes from Tammy Abraham and Charly Musonda had put the visitors in control, but the Canaries fought back to secure a sixth-place finish in the division, and with it European football for next year via the International Cup.

The result also means City have completed the entire campaign with an unbeaten home league record, winning six and drawing five of their 11 matches.

Coach Paul Wilkinson said after the game: "I'm delighted for them today, they showed great character and attitude again.

"Sometimes in the last game of the season you can take the easy way out, but not one of them did that. It's been a terrific second half of the season for us, the lads have done really well."

Chelsea started brightly in front of a small City Stand crowd at Carrow Road, and they went ahead after just five minutes.

Abraham beat the offside trap to run onto a through ball, and although Kyle McFadden was close to retrieving before it crossed the line, he narrowly lost the race.

Carlton Morris almost struck back immediately but unluckily fired against the inside of the post and Chelsea held on to their early advantage.

City stopper Remi Matthews denied Kasey Palmer with a strong save at his near-post, but the hosts were well in contention in an open match and Morris' dipping volley kept Mitchell Beeney on his toes.

Palmer guided a shot over for the Blues, before Murphy tested Beeney with a sublime curling effort that the 'keeper did well to tip clear at full stretch.

It proved a timely save as Chelsea doubled their lead on 37 minutes, with Musonda jumping on a loose ball before running at goal and finishing beyond Matthews.

Just three minutes later, however, Murphy got Norwich back in the contest with a fine effort of his own.

After initially being forced away from goal, the winger found space on his left side to rifle home an angled drive that flew in off the far post.

HALF-TIME: Norwich City 1-2 Chelsea

Wilkinson changed his defence at the break, with Joe Crowe and Adel Gafaiti stepping on for McFadden and Reiss Awuah.

After a quiet opening 15 minutes of the second half, Michee Efete defended well to divert Isaiah Brown's effort but then City began to press for the goal that would bring the teams level.

Their cause was helped on 69 minutes when, after a foul on Cameron Norman, Jake Clarke-Salter was given his second yellow card and subsequently his marching orders.

City took full advantage a minute later - Ray Grant was the provider, calmly sliding a pass that Murphy slotted home from the edge of the box.

Ten minutes on, substitute Louis Ramsay divered a decent chance wide from six yards, and there was even more action in stoppage time.

Firstly, Matthews made an excellent reaction stop from Abraham before up the other end Morris saw two efforts cleared off the line.

Beeney had the final say, keeping out Murphy and then Conor McGrandles just seconds before the final whistle, and in the end a vibrant City had to a settle for a point.

Speaking after Murphy's brace and his twin brother Josh's hat-trick against Liverpool last week, Wilkinson added: "Going out on loan has done Jacob and Josh the world of good.

"It gives them a different outlook on football, and they've both come back and improved and that's all you can ask for.

"The 'keeper made three great saves from Jacob before, but I said to him at half-time that if you keep putting the ball on target you'll get your rewards, and he did."

FULL-TIME: Norwich City 2-2 Chelsea

: Canaries: Jacob Murphy (40, 70) - Blues: Tammy Abraham (5), Charly Musonda (37)

NORWICH CITY: Matthews; Hall-Johnson, McFadden (c) (Crowe 45), Efete, Awuah (Gafaiti 45); Grant, McGrandles, King (Ramsay 76); Norman, Jacob Murphy, Morris. Subs not used: Killip (GK), Couzens.

CHELSEA: Beeney; Dabo, Conroy (Colkett 61), Clarke-Salter, Aina, Scott (Sammut 86), Brown, Houghton, Abraham, Musonda, Palmer (Solanke 71). Subs not used: Collins (GK), Muheim.

REFEREE: Ian Fissenden

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