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Academy News

Under-23s – The season so far

22 April 2020

After looking back on Norwich City’s Under-18s season up until the postponement of football, it’s only right to take a look at the Under-23s next.

Seeing many new and changing faces in an extremely young U23s squad, here is how their season has gone so far… ⬇

August – A good start to the league

The U23s first game of the season wasn’t the ideal way to kick-off a season, being edged out of taking any points after losing just 1-0 to Swansea City.

But all was not lost, as they came back stronger in the following weeks, going on to then beat Sunderland a tight 2-1, as well as drawing 1-1 with Aston Villa and 2-2 with Middlesbrough (Who sit seventh and fifth respectively).

September – A tough month to crack

September wasn’t a good month by any means in terms of the results for the U23s, having weeks away almost as soon as the season had just begun.

A comeback against Newcastle was thwarted, after they regained their lead once more in the last 15 minutes, ensuring the Canaries took no points from the game.

Two difficult fixtures in the last weeks of the month saw the Canaries take two separate 2-0 defeats, coming from fourth-place Stoke and second-place Manchester United.

October – Battling for points

Coming back after having yet another three weeks away from any competitive fixtures, the U23s then faced third-place West Brom. It was a close game with a high goal count, but it was West Brom who came out on top in this 4-2 fixture, as they took all three points.

The next game was no break from the tense fixtures, as the U23s came up against West ham, losing 4-1 to the league leaders.

Questioning why the performances didn’t match the results, U23s Head Coach David Wright claimed he needed to ‘make a plan on how to improve individually and collectively’, in order to start earning points from their hard work.

November – Getting places

November started out just as tough as October ended, with the U23s deserving more points than they were getting from their 90 minutes of hard work, losing out to Fulham in a 2-1 scoreline.

However, there were signs that Wright’s aforementioned new plan was getting the team places, as they came up against Reading.

This game was a close one, each team coming dangerously close to scoring, practically going end-to-end, hoping to find the winner. All seemed lost for both teams by the 90th minute, until City’s Adam Idah forced an error between the Reading ‘keeper and defender, squaring it to Gassan Ahadme to shoot at an open goal to win the game.

The U23s could finally breathe a sigh of relief, knowing that their performance payed off with a deserved amount of points.

December – Finding their feet

A significant change could be felt after that win against Reading, all of a sudden, the dynamic of the U23s had completely changed. Whilst the play style never changed, the shape Wright wanted from them could clearly be seen with a lot more pace too.

This was put to the test once more against Swansea. Whilst it worked for a large majority of the match, the score remaining 1-1, Swansea struck gold with a free-kick given on the edge of the City box in the 93rd minute.

The last kick of the game proved a decisive one, as the free-kick zipped straight to the top corner, seeing Swansea win it in the last second.

All was not lost for the month however, as the young Canaries then went on to host Sunderland at Carrow Road.

The U23s found their rhythm in this game, scoring themselves goal after goal, only conceding one in their 3-1 win. Josh Martin, now of the first-team, even scored a beauty of a goal!

January – On a roll

The Christmas break clearly didn’t faze the City side, who were coming up against Middlesbrough in their first game of 2020. It was an admittedly close game, both teams raising a high tally of goals, but City came out on top despite Boro’s best efforts to equalise in this 4-3 win.

Just four days later, the Canaries were now hosting Aston Villa at the Lotus Training Centre. This was yet another decent challenge, but City weren’t looking to lose their streak, as they toppled the Villans 2-1 thanks to a brace from Shae Hutchinson.

Finally raising a good tally of points, nine from the last three games, City were climbing the table in the home-stretch of the season.

It was an unfortunate end to January, when the Canaries met Manchester United once more. Improving on their last game, just not enough to topple them, City had to take a hard to swallow loss as the Red Devils continued their climb in the table.

March – A loss to West Ham

Due to a postponement in the West Brom game, the U23s had no fixtures in February, leaving them eyeing up the West Ham game as it approached next.

Similarly to the Man United game, the U23s were hoping to come back with a bang and bag themselves a better result than the last meeting with the Hammers, but it wasn’t meant to be as their last game before the break was a loss to the league leaders.

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