Norwich City’s Under-18s lost to Brighton & Hove Albion in the U18s Premier League after conceding three goals inside the opening 18 minutes.
Daniel Barden started in between the sticks for the Canaries, after starting last time the Under-18s were in action against Preston North End in the FA Youth Cup. Andrew Omobamidele is currently on international duty and Louis Lomas was away with the Under-23s, which allowed Matthew Richardson and Anthonius Berekely start in the centre-back positions, whilst Ethen Vaughan and Arash Ahmadi both started in the full-back positions.
The midfield saw one change from the side that started in the FA Youth Cup, with Saul Milovanovic replaced by Josh Martin. The rest of the midfield saw William Hondermarck, Denzelle Olopade and Zach Dronfield start and complete a midfield four. Kole Lambert started up front alongside Tom Dickson-Peters.
In the opening six minutes City started the better side, and were nearly in-behind the City defence when Hondermarck played a through-ball to Olopade, but the midfielder was judged to be offside just before he could get his shot away.
Two minutes later City found themselves behind after Brighton’s first shot on-target. Ben Wilson received the ball on the edge of the area with plenty of space to turn and place into the bottom left-corner to give the visitors the lead.
Wilson got his second of the game seven minutes later. The ball bounced up for the Brighton striker before he back-heeled the ball on the half-volley into the top left corner to give Brighton a two goal cushion.
Three minutes later, City went further behind. Steff Vukoje's free kick was parried by Barden, but only as far as Kacper Lopata who was on hand to tap the ball in from close range and go three goals ahead within 18 minutes.
City didn’t fold under the pressure, and grew stronger as the half went on. Lampert teed up Olopade on the edge of the Brighton penalty area, but his shot was blasted over the Seagull’s bar.
In the final stages of the first-half Dickson-Peters could have had a brace, but neither of his efforts managed to force Rees Roco into a save. His best chance came to the right of the six-yard box in the 41st minute, but the striker could only squeeze his shot into the side-netting.
Despite a positive end to the first-half City were three goals down at the break. City started the second-half as they had finished the first – on the front foot. Vaughan’s driving run down the right saw a cross pulled back to Dickson-Peters, but his flick rolled wide of Roco’s goal.
Brighton were defending well and keeping City outside of their penalty area, forcing them into longer range shots. Olopade produced two efforts from the edge of the box, with the second attempt brushing past the ‘keeper’s right hand post.
With 10 minutes of the first half remaining, substitute Tony Springett nearly got on the score sheet for the Canaries. Although his tame shot from the edge of the Brighton area was comfortable for Roco and the goalkeeper collected with ease.
The visitors got their fourth of the game in the final stages, with Vukoje squaring the ball to Lorent Tolaj who tapped into an empty net.
City’s Starting XI: Barden; Vaughan, Berkeley, Richardson, Ahmadi, Hondermarck (Springett 60), Dronfield, Olopade, Martin (Khumbeni 82), Dickson-Peters, Lambert (Omotoye 82).
Unused Subs: Warner, Blair (GK)