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Match Reports

Under-23s draw 3-3 against PL Cup group leaders

25 February 2019

Norwich City’s Under-23s drew 3-3 against Nottingham Forest at the Impact Arena after Anis Mehmeti’s goal 10 minutes from time was cancelled out by a stoppage time equaliser.

City took the lead inside two minutes after Adam Idah latched onto a through ball before sliding past Liam Bossin in the Forest goal. The visitors equalised right at the death of the half, with Brennan Johnson finding the net from the spot.

Forest took the lead in the early stages of the second-half after Jake Taylor’s deflected effort found the back of the net. Gassan Ahadme pulled City back level before Anis Mehmeti’s goal 10 minutes from time meant City took the lead. However, in stoppage time Joe Coveney equalised for the home side which meant the teams had to share the points.

The first change to City’s starting line-up saw Billy Johnson start his first game since returning on-loan from Lowestoft Town as he replaced Jon McCracken in the Norwich goal. Alfie Payne started in a more unfamiliar role at left-back whilst Bilal Kamal started on the opposite flank. Louis Lomas partnered Andrew Omobamidele in the centre of defence.

Tom Scully started alongside Saul Milovanovic in-front of the City back four with Josh Coley and Louis Mcintosh as the advanced midfielders for the Canaries. Adam Idah started up-front alongside new signing Gassan Adhame, who made his first start for the Under-23s.

The Canaries got off to a dream start. A midfield battle between Mcintosh and a Forest midfielder saw the ball played through to Idah who took a few touches to steady himself before coolly sliding into the bottom left-corner to give City the lead.

Five minutes after the goal Idah received the ball on the half-way line with his back to goal. The striker turned before playing a superb pass over the top of the Forest defence to Ahadme. The forward brought the ball down but just before he could get his shot off the referee blew his whistle for offside.

Mid-way through the first half Brennan Johnson looked as though he was going to equalise with a stunning free-kick 20-yards out, but his effort was denied by Billy Johnson with a spectacular diving save from the City ’keeper.

Moments later, Johnson was called into action again for City, this time making a comfortable diving save to his left to stop Yassine En-Neyah’s tame shot on-goal after the winger was played through by Taylor.

A penalty was given five minutes before the end of the first half after Kamal was judged to have handled the ball in the penalty area. The resulting penalty was stuck in by Johnson to equalise and rounding off a strong end to the second half from the home side.

However, In the 45th minute city very nearly went back ahead after Scully’s corner was met by Mcintosh at the back post, however somehow the midfielder missed the target which meant the two sides went in level after an end-to-end opening period.

Forest started the second looking dangerous, and their early pressure was rewarded after Taylor’s strike from the edge of the City box was deflected out of the reach of Johnson and into the Norwich goal to put the home side ahead.

As the first half progressed the heat started taking its toll on the game, as the tempo of the game began to slow down after a hectic first. However, despite shaky start, City started to look more comfortable on the ball with 30 minutes remaining.

With twenty-five minutes left Kamal’s weaving run on the run saw the full-back pull it to Idah before the striker took a touch and blasted well over the Forest bar.

City found an equaliser with 20 minutes to go after a brilliant headed effort from Ahadme. The striker met Payne’s corner at the near before it nestled in the top left-corner to make for an entertaining end to the game.

Going into the final stages City started to look for the winner, and ten minutes later City took the lead after substitute Anis Mehmeti saw his shot go over Bossin, who’s fingertips helped the ball into the back of the net for City to take the lead.

However, like the first half, Forest equalised late on after a scramble in the box saw the ball fall for Joe Coveney who drilled in from close-range which meant City and Forest had to share the spoils.

City starting XI: Johnson; Kamal, Omobamidele, Lomas, Payne ©, Milovanovic, Scully, Mcintosh (Mehmeti  45), Coley (Hondermarck 76), Idah, Ahadme.

Unused Subs: McCracken, Lambert, Keller.


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