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Match Reports

Under-23s suffer 1-0 defeat against Forest in the PL Cup

30 November 2018

Norwich City's Under-23s lost 1-0 against PL Cup group leaders Nottingham Forest after a first-half tap-in from Jordan Lawrence-Gabriel.

First Team players Ivo Pinto and Grant Hanley joined City's Under-23s side, with the latter making his second consecutive appearance for the team while Pinto replaced Ciaren Jones in defence. Josh Coley and Bilal Kamal came in for Ant Spyrou and Nelson Oliveira who both started last week in City’s 0-0 draw against Southampton.

Jordan Thomas and Saul Milovanovic, who both featured for City’s Under-18s on Saturday, were brought into the starting line-up, with Caleb Richards and Adam Phillips missing out, the former having just signed for FC United of Manchester on loan.

Five minutes in, Alex Mighten eased past two City defenders before finding some space for a cross. His dangerous ball into the box was put out of play by Thomas, and the resulting corner was gathered by Billy Johnson in the City goal.

Forest looked threatening throughout the opening exchanges, with Alex Mighten's powerful runs on the right causing City problems.

Fourteen minutes into the game City found themselves a goal behind. A corner from the right saw a scramble in the box, before the ball was met by the foot of Lawrence-Gabriel who put it in from close range.

Mid-way throughout the first half City were still unable to get a hold of the game and struggled to deal with Forest’s width. Mighten went close on two occasions, but neither effort tested Johnson.

Just under 30 minutes in, Adam Idah was left free on the edge of Forest’s penalty area and the striker turned and sent an effort flying towards the goal. However Danny Preston slid in to block Idah’s effort and the ball rolled out for a corner.

With just under 10 minutes of the first half remaining, Yassine El-Neyah was found by Virgil Gomis on the edge of the area, before his dipping shot was well gathered by Johnson.

City got the second half under way, however the visitors carried on to dominate the ball in the opening 10 minutes. Gomis found space 25 yards out, but his shot drifted to the right of the goal causing no problem for the City keeper.

Norwich started to put pressure on Forest and put them on the back foot, and their hard work nearly paid off when Saul Milovanoic was set free to the right of the six-yard box. But the midfielder was unable to keep his shot on target from a tight angle, as his effort went into the side netting.

With twenty five minutes left, Gomis again found space on the edge of the City box but failed to keep his effort on target blasting over. One minute later Jake Taylor tested Johnson from distance, but the City keeper stood firm, catching the midfielder’s effort.

Five minutes later Josh Coley’s fantastic weaving run was ended by a Forest defender, when the midfielder was fouled on the edge of the box. The resulting free-kick was taken by Tom Scully, whose effort forced Jordan Smith into a brilliant save in the top-right corner of Forest’s goal.

Just under fifteen minutes left, the game could have went either way with both teams looking threatening. Gomis, who was a constant threat throughout the second half, saw his curling shot from inside the City box brilliantly saved by the hands of Johnson, who parried away from danger.

Forest saw out the game by keeping hold of the ball, and sitting off Norwich, giving thre Canaries no way past.

City's starting XI: Johnson, Pinto, Thomas, Odusina (c), Hanley, Milovanovic, Scully, Payne, Idah, Coley, Kamal (Power 62).

Unused subs: Jones, Hayes, Thorvaldsson

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