Norwich City Under-23s struggled as they fell to a 4-0 defeat at Carrow Road against Fulham.
David Wright made three changes to the side which was beaten by Stoke City last Monday in the PL2. Louis Lomas replaced Ciaren Jones in defence, Devonte Aransibia dropped to the bench and was replaced by 18-year old Saul Milovanovic. Wright’s last change saw Isak Thorvaldsson come in for striker Adam Idah.
Prior to kick-off, a minute’s silence was observed following the events at Leicester City on Saturday.
Fulham put pressure on the home side straight from the off, their wide players getting on the ball in the opening couple of minutes, but the City defence stood firm.
Thorvaldsson broke away into the Fulham half, before playing an acute through ball to striker Anthony Spyrou, the City striker was able to get a hold of the ball but was unable to find space in the box before Cottagers’ defender Jerome Opoku swept up and reclaimed possession for the visitors.
The visitors were dominant through the opening 10 minutes, but were unable to test Jon McCracken in the Norwich goal.
Saul Milovanovic curled in an early cross from the right, which was put out of play for a corner. Tom Scully’s resulting corner was swung in towards the near post and headed on to the top of the crossbar by Opoku.
This sparked a positive spell of pressure for the Canaries. The cross was put out of play for a corner, City started to press Fulham, forcing them in to a long ball forward. Thorvaldsson and Spyrou linked up well, but were unable to force Luca Ashby Hammond into a save.
McCracken was called into action for the first time 30 minutes in, a weaving run on the right from right-back Cody Drameh saw the defender dribble past two City men before sending a low drilled shot towards goal. The City keeper blocked the shot with his leg, before the ball was eventually cleared.
Bilal Kamal played Thorvaldsson in to space on the right hand side, the striker used his pace to power through the Fulham back line. A challenge from a Fulham defender allowed the ball to kindly fall for Alfie Payne on the edge of the box. Payne’s curling shot from the edge of the area was tipped over the bar.
The visitors took the lead in the 36th minute, midfielder Tyrese Francois found space on the left of City’s penalty area, a cross was whipped into the box, which was tapped in by Cameron Thompson, and the strike was helped in via a deflection.
Four minutes later, Fulham doubled their lead. A cross again from the left-hand side was met by the hands of McCracken, who was unable to get a firm grip on the ball. Arriving midfielder Matthew O’Riley took control of the ball on the penalty spot before slotting home to give the visitors a two goal cushion.
Fulham stayed in control for the remainder of the half, forcing the City keeper into some routine saves.
The visitors start the second half as they had left off in the first, Jayden Harris driving a teasing cross from the right hand side, missing everyone in the penalty area.
Following the early chance for Fulham, the Canaries came out confident on and off the ball, Thorvaldsson and Spyrou pressuring the Fulham defence, after a series of through balls from substitute Aransibia.
In the 56th minute, against the run of play City found themselves 3-0 down. The ball was bouncing to the right of City’s penalty area, Drameh found himself with plenty of space and saw McCracken off his line. The Fulham full back went for an audacious half volley, and subsequently lobbed the City keeper.
Five minutes later, Ashby-Hammond was forced into another excellent save. A scramble in the penalty area saw the ball fall for Thorvaldsson on the edge of the six-yard box. The striker sent the ball towards the Fulham goal, but was met by the strong hands of the Fulham goalkeeper.
In the 65th minute, there was a stoppage in play due to an injury to players of either side.
With 20 minutes to go, Payne’s free kick from the left-hand side was curled dangerously towards goal, and put out for a corner by Mundle-Smith. This led to a series of corners, none of which came to any clear cut opportunities for the home side.
75 minutes in, Aransibia’s creativity allowed him to find Josh Coley’s, who’s long distant effort looked to be goal-bound, however the ball was blocked by a Fulham defender before going out for a corner to City.
Five minutes later Norwich found themselves fall further behind. Thompson got his second of the game, finishing from within the six-yard box to extend the visitors lead at Carrow Road.
Despite being 4-0 down, City carried on to push forward and try to put Fulham under pressure. Aransibia and Coley both saw shots from the edge of the area put over the bar in the final few stages.
City starting XI: McCracken, Bilal Kamal, Caleb Richards, Louis Lomas, Timi Odusina C, Milovanovic, Scully (Aransibia 45’), Payne, Spyrou, Thorvaldsson, Coley.
Unused Subs: Johnson, Jones, Omobamidel, Dronfield.