Devonte Aransibia and an Adam Phillips penalty ensured Norwich City’s U23s battled back from a slow start to draw 2-2 away at Newcastle United at St. James’ Park.
Luke Charman and Macauley Gillesphey gave the hosts a two-goal lead inside 20 minutes but City responded well and were the better team for the rest of the contest.
Aransibia got their first just after the break with a thumping strike before Adam Phillips comfortably rolled home from the penalty spot on 82 minutes to complete the turnaround.
Head coach Matt Gill handed Pierre Fonkeu and Savvas Mourgos their first league starts with Emmerson Sambu coming in at right-back and Glenn Middleton returning on the wing after international duty with Scotland’s Under-19s.
City began well in possession but found themselves two goals down inside the opening 20 minutes. First, Jonjo Shelvey’s long ball was finished well by Charman before Gillesphey doubled their lead, heading home Dan Barlaser’s corner.
The central midfield trio of Phillips, Mourgos and Todd Cantwell looked tidy despite the team going behind. The three combined on 22 minutes with Cantwell feeding Middleton on the right but his shot flew just over.
Ten minutes later, City had their best chance to get on the scoreboard. Aransibia, playing on the left-hand side, whipped a brilliant delivery into the six-yard box but Fonkeu headed agonisingly over the bar.
Just before half-time City went close again. Mourgos broke through Newcastle’s midfield line and slotted the ball wide to Cantwell who couldn’t get a clean connection on his shot.
City carried on the momentum into the second half and pulled a goal back on 49 minutes. Again, Cantwell and Mourgos linked up well on the edge of the area with Cantwell feeding Aransibia on the left to smash the ball past Freddie Woodman.
Chances were few and far between in the second half with Newcastle defending deep and City having to be patient.
Gill made some changes and one of them, Kieran Higgs, was involved for City’s equaliser. The energetic midfielder was fouled in the penalty area on 82 minutes and up stepped captain Phillips to fire home to spot-kick and deservedly complete the comeback.
Fonkeu went close to giving the City all three points in the final ten minutes but, after a slow start, the Canaries were well worth their point at the final whistle against an experienced Newcastle side.