As the postponement of all sporting events continues nationally and across the majority of the world, we thought we’d take a look back on the Norwich City Under-18s season so far.
From the lows of a heavy cup game defeat to the highs of going unbeaten for months in the league, let’s start from the beginning of the season… ⬇
August – The beginning of a new season
The U18s kicked off the start of the season in a respectable fashion as they drew to both Fulham and Leicester, who currently sit first and fourth in the table respectively, so taking points from these games was nothing to look down upon.
They were handed their first defeat in the third game of the season, losing to Tottenham Hotspur in a humbling 4-0. Brighton also took all three points from the Lotus Training Centre after winning 4-2, a game the Canaries put a bit more fight into, just struggling get it over the line.
September – Testing times
September didn’t make a pleasant start from the end of August. Aston Villa came to the Lotus Training Centre and knocked two past City in the first eleven minutes to take a 2-1 win.
The next game fast-approaching was their second away day of the season, as they travelled to London to face West Ham. Another humbling 4-1 defeat meant lessons had to be learned soon for the U18s, if they wished to pull together some better results.
A break from the league saw the potential of fighting for silverware arise, as the Canaries met Fulham for the second-time in a month in the group stage of the Premier League Cup. Much like the first meeting, neither team could crack the other, seeing a point shared in a 1-1 draw.
October – That first win
Coming back into the league after the cup game wasn’t something the U18s seemed to focus on, as they took their biggest loss in the league to this day, losing out 5-0 to Southampton.
This loss put the U18s in gear however, firing them up for a big clash against Chelsea, who were undefeated at the time. It was an unbelievably close game as City put on a late comeback for the draw, thanks to two great goals from Jon Rowe, but it was just too late as they had to take the 3-2 loss.
By the end of October, their second group stage game of the Premier League Cup had come round, seeing the Canaries take on Sunderland. Something clicked for the Canaries, who stormed through the side 3-0 after a brace from Tyrese Omotoye and a late-goal from Abu Kamara.
November – Finding their stride
Travelling to London as they faced Fulham a third time in the season, this game was truly a goal-fest. Five goals in the first 23 minutes more than summed up the game, as Fulham went on to win 5-3 in a game the Canaries no doubt felt they deserved more from.
A week later, the U18s travelled to Warwick University to meet Swansea U18s halfway for their match. It was a game the Canaries knew they should’ve won, instead finding themselves needing an equaliser in the last minutes. Omotoye was a man for the occasion, lacing a sweet volley on goal in the dying seconds of the game to secure a point.
Turning their attention back to the Premier League Cup, the U18s were in a tight spot, needing to beat their opponents Everton to guarantee progression.
It was no easy ask to beat the third-placed Merseyside team, but the Canaries came with a solid determination to do just that, taking the side apart 3-0.
Next up to finish the month was Reading. The U18s found their feet in this game, beating the side in a high goal count game of 5-3, including a stunner from Dronfield!
Oh, you beauty! 😍— Norwich City Academy (@NorwichCityAcad) November 30, 2019
Here’s the video of U18s captain Zach Dronfield’s unbelievable strike against Reading earlier today! pic.twitter.com/MJSN4Mzxso
December – FA Youth Cup progression
December wasn’t much of a busy month, but it was still a big one for the Canaries, as they entered the third round of the FA Youth Cup. Coming up against Newcastle and being hosted at Carrow Road, it was bound to be a special night for the youngsters.
For one player, it stood out even more, however. Josh Martin, who normally could be found in the Under-23s, came in for the game and scored a hat-trick in the 3-2 win, including a long-range screamer to top it off.
The U18s booked their place in the fourth round of the tournament, where they would face Manchester United.
January – Lessons to learn
Coming back from an extended break for Christmas clearly had it’s impact on the Canaries, who were forced to settle for a draw from both Leicester and Brighton in the first games back.
Just three days after a lengthy trip from Brighton then came the big test against Man United in the FA Youth Cup. An incredible 3,241 fans showed up to support the Canaries, but it wasn’t meant to be as a highly-organised Man United won 2-0.
Fast forward another four days and the young Canaries were due in yet another cup game, the Premier League Cup knockout stage against Stoke City. The game wasn’t meant to be at all for the Canaries, losing the game an unheard of 8-0 to exit the tournament, a game the City side would’ve liked to forget.
February – Back to consistency
Meeting with Tottenham Hotspur for the second-time this season, the game was brought down to the wire after what seemed to be a winner in the 86th minute from Spurs, until Dronfield scored the equaliser in the 91st to take a point from nothing.
Next up was the north London team’s rivals Arsenal, who put up a bit more of a fight in an extremely close 2-2 draw after goals from Tom Dickson-Peters and Dronfield yet again in the last-minute.
The last game the U18s played all season was to Aston Villa, a game which saw both sides clearly want the three points badly.
Goals spread throughout the game saw it end 3-3 in neither side’s favour, after ex-Barcelona wonderkid Louie Barry scored his second in the 88th minute to recover a point.
Although it was a draw, the game meant that to this day the U18s have remained undefeated in the league since November!