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Match Reports

Under-23s round off season with victory at Villa Park

23 April 2018

Norwich City Under-23s' Premier League 2 season came to a close on Monday night with a 1-0 win away to Aston Villa.

Needing victory to keep their hopes of securing a play-off spot alive, Matt Gill's youngsters rose to the challenge with an impressive performance in the second city.

Controlling proceedings from the off despite chances initially being at a premium, they took a deserved lead on 21 minutes when Alfie Payne's deflected strike wrongfooted goalkeeper Matija Sarkic.

Simon Power progressed well down the right before cutting inside to feed the central midfielder, with his effort from distance hitting a sea of bodies before bouncing into the net.

Villa spurned a couple of chances to equalise soon after, with Rushian Hepburn-Murphy the guilty party on each occasion ahead of Jordan Lyden's free-kick going just over the crossbar.

City, slick it in the final-third, then had a glorious opportunity to double their lead with the interval looming only for Savvas Mourgos struck the woodwork from deep inside the box.

The visitors steadily reassumed control in the second half, going within inches of a second on 57 minutes when Devonte Aransiba's low drive grazed the base of the post.

With a quarter of the game remaining, Villa threatened again as Hepburn-Murphy wriggled into the box before skewing wide after losing his balance.

From thereon chances of note were few and far between, with the Canaries doing a thoroughly professional job to get themselves across the line by closing down the game.

Despite an impressive victory, results elsewhere left a place in the top six of Division Two beyond them - bringing an end to their competitive schedule for this year.

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