Norwich City Under-18s got their pre-season started in a tense 4-4 stalemate to Eastern Counties League Premier Division side Wroxham Football Club on Monday.
Steve Weaver’s side began the game in the best possible way after Tony Springett was brought down in the home side’s 18-yard box just two minutes into the 90. Making no mistake on the spot, the young forward tucked his shot into the bottom corner with power to give his team the lead early on.
The early deficit inspired Wroxham in their attempt to find a goal of their own to level scoring in the opening minutes, but a compact backline and defensive midfield managed to shut out any offence with relative ease.
Compact then turned into counter when City managed to catch the Yachtsmen on the break, Abu Kamara getting behind the defensive line to get himself one-on-one with the ‘keeper. Approaching with a calm temperament, Kamara kept his cool to tuck his shot past the shot-stopper, doubling City’s lead.
Increasing their efforts, Wroxham still struggled in the first 20-minutes, their closest effort coming by way of a free half-volley outside the box, the effort screaming over the bar.
As the young Canaries countered once more, a foul was drawn on the edge of Wroxham’s box. Tom Dickson-Peters stepped up to the free-kick, his effort dipping nicely over the wall as it darted to the bottom corner, but the ‘keeper was there to save the shot without much difficulty.
All this action and it was still only the 25th minute, but the back-and-forth continued. The Yachtsmen managed to scrape a goal back after a corner deflected off City midfielder Nelson Khumbeni, the own-goal taking the gap down to just one.
Just ten minutes later, Kamara struck again, earning his brace and taking the lead back up to two. A long-effort shot from Jon Rowe was fumbled by the ‘keeper, rolling back out into a packed-out box. Kamara was the first one to jump on the opportunity, burying it into the netting to increase the gap further.
Despite a quiet period to the end of the first-half, Sam Blair couldn’t let his guard down as he was called into action on the stroke of half-time, pulling out a fast-reflex save to keep the scores unchanged.
Coming out for the second-half, City were the brighter team in the opening exchanges. Springett looked to bag his second of the night with a shot to the ‘keeper’s near post, unfortunately making it a bit too easy for the man between the sticks as it was another textbook stop.
When all seemed quiet, Wroxham struck with a top-quality goal, burying an overhead kick past Blair from close-range in the 18-yard box to reduce the deficit to a single goal once more.
Just minutes later, the 60th exactly, Wroxham struck once more to level the scoring. Catching City on the counter, Blair was lost in the midfield, encouraging the Yachtsmen to strike from distance to take the scores to 3-3.
After a City mistake came a Wroxham mistake, when they took Kamara down in the box for the game’s second penalty shout. Rowe fancied getting himself on the scoresheet, lacing one from the spot to the left side, beating the ‘keeper to restore the lead.
From then on the Canaries were cruising, bringing creative one-touch passing football, as well as compact defending. A lapse in concentration between substitutions was the only downfall, however, when Wroxham capitalised on an open backline to sneak one past City to take a draw in the closing stages of the game.
Norwich City XI: Blair (Truman, 80), Pitcher (Okeowo, 80), Stewart (Hills, 75), Brown, Warner (Shipley, 75), Khumbeni (Alidor-Hamilton, 80), Springett, Jackson (Duffy, 72), Kamara, Dickson-Peters (Hills, 75), Rowe
Goals: Springett (3), Kamara (14, 35), Rowe (61)
Subs not used: N/A