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29 September 2016

Young Canaries draw Premier League Cup opener

NORWICH City Under-23s' Premier League Cup campaign began with a 0-0 draw against Portsmouth at Carrow Road on Thursday night.

The hosts could perhaps consider themselves unlucky not to have to taken all three points, having struck the woodwork twice during the second half.

However, they also had goalkeeper Ben Killip to thank on several occasions, in what was a keenly-contested clash in Group D of the revised tournament.

Portsmouth had the first clear opportunity of the evening in the early stages, with City captain Killip getting down low in the home goal to deny Harvey Bradbury after the forward was played through one-on-one. 

After Glenn Middleton was denied at the other end, Killip was called into action once more when he made a fine double-save; the latter superbly keeping out Theo Widdrington's close-range effort.

Despite those chances for the visitors, the Canaries were displaying confidence on the ball and smart footwork from Diallang Jaiyesimi midway through the half almost created an opening for Benny Ashley-Seal.

Joe Crowe then had to be alert to ensure Bradbury wasn't able to break clear, making a much-needed recovery tackle before firm hands from Killip kept a fierce Brandon Haunstrup drive out.

Middleton then displayed great touch and awareness to bring down a high pass before racing away on the half-hour mark, only for visiting stopper Alex Bass to eventually smother his drilled attempt.

Having gone into the break level at 0-0, City began the second period with purpose and were unlucky not to go in front when Ashley-Seal flashed Middleton's low cross to flash off the crossbar.

Their misfortune at hitting the woodwork was almost exaggerated on the hour-mark when Pompey threatened, but Killip did well once more to spread himself and block from Calvin Davies.

The home side were generally asserting themselves well however, Middleton testing Bass again with 70 minutes on the clock after good work on the right from Jaiyesimi.

A growing influence on the game was Todd Cantwell, and he was next to try his luck by looking to place a strike low into the corner which Pompey's goalkeeper did well to tip around the post.

They went even closer within a matter of minutes, Cantwell again involved as he spread the ball to substitute Louis McIntosh who in turn laid off the onrushing Jaiyesimi who slammed off the woodwork.

Despite their relative dominance late on and chances for Middleton and Devonte Aransibia, City were unable to find the decisive goal, meaning they had to settle for a 0-0 stalemate.

City have five games remaining in the group stages of the competition, with their next Premier League Cup fixture seeing them travel to Everton in November.

: Norwich City 0-0 Portsmouth

TEAM: Killip (c); Efete, Odusina, Crowe, Ramsay, Grant, Adams (McIntosh, 62), Cantwell (Aransibia, 90), Ashley-Seal, Jaiyesimi, Middleton. Subs not used: Hallett (GK), Wallis, Aarons.

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