Norwich City Academy took a tough 3-0 loss to Gorleston FC on Tuesday night, in a friendly match at Emerald Park.
Conditions were not on the Canaries side from the beginning of the game, a very wet pitch meant that City would often find themselves losing control of the ball, as it slipped away from their feet. Gorleston were thriving in the Canaries’ shortcomings, with two dangerous attacks just barely missing the woodwork early on.
With constant attacks, it was inevitable one effort would find itself on-target. A 22nd minute fast-paced counter from Gorleston caught City on their heels, and a wonderfully curled effort from distance by Fletcher Hedge beat Billy Johnson to the back of the net. Not the end of the world, especially with how City were coming forward, it felt like the disadvantage could be recovered.
City started to look a lot more comfortable as the game progressed, by the 30th minute the Canaries were pressing hard, putting together neat passes to progress further afield. Unfortunately for City, the final-third lacked the end-product pass to even think about a leveller.
After adapting to the conditions, getting settled in the game and starting to get some leverage, it went back to square one for the young Canaries. A low-driven corner from Gorleston in the 45th minute should have easily found the hands of Johnson, but a lack of communication meant the ‘keeper didn’t go for it, instead leaving it to be cleared by a fellow teammate. The home side capitalised on this error, with Eddie Short finding his head to the ball, seeing the gap opened by two.
The end of the first-half was near, just three minutes of injury time were added. City started to let the press go, winding down for what they thought was the end of a difficult half. But just as they started to sit back and relax, disaster struck. Gorleston caught the Canaries on the break once more, with striker Connor Ingram making a spectacular run, beating three City players before tucking the ball away in the far corner nicely. Two goals were already hard enough to catch up to, but three just made it an even bigger ask. The first-half ended, leaving the teams going back to the dressing room to do some thinking.
As the second-half kicked off, it was clear City were buzzing with energy. Something must have clicked for the Canaries, who finally found their feet and were playing with a lot more structure. The press was winning the ball more often, the passes were tidied up and the coordination between players looked well-rehearsed. The same couldn’t be said for the home side, who were dominant in the first 45 minutes. Perhaps the three-goal advantage led to complacency, or City’s new-found form was enough to out-perform them.
The first meaningful effort for City came in the 71st minute. A deflected shot flew to the sky, to be met by the laces of Tom Dickson-Peters on its decline, blistering the shot at the Gorleston number one. Even with the volley being straight at the ‘keeper, it was a struggle to tame, with the shot stopper nearly fumbling the ball into the Gorleston net for the first-time of the game.
It’s hard to believe that the young Canaries couldn’t find a single goal in the match, they even managed to find the elusive final-third play. The only thing stopping any familiar names etching themselves on that scoresheet was the ‘keeper, or off-target shots. Constant attacks from City kept Gorleston from coming forward for the last 30 minutes of the half, but the coastal side held on as tight as they could, keeping the score at 3-0 in a goalless second-half.
Norwich: Johnson (Blair), Jackson, Warner, Richardson, Ahmadi (Shipley), Hondermarck (Okeoweo), Pitcher, McAlear (Alidor-Hamilton), Kamara, Dickson-Peters, Shakpoke (Duffy)
Subs not used: Hills
Gorleston: Full lineup not known
Subs not used: Full lineup not known
Goals: Hedge (22), Short (45), Ingram (45+3)
Kick off time: 7:30pm
Venue: Emerald Park