Norwich City Under-23s produced a valiant display despite going down 2-0 against Portsmouth’s first-team in their first pre-season friendly on Saturday morning.
Two first-half free-kicks from Lee Brown and Ronan Curtis gave Pompey the victory but City could be pleased with their performance, creating a host of opportunities in the second-half in particular.
It was nip and tuck in the opening 20 minutes but a great chance fell for City when Simon Power crossed from the right. Debutant Matthew Dennis tried to convert from close range but Pompey did well to prevent a goal with their ‘keeper scrambling.
Portsmouth then went close for the first time – John Marquis forcing a good save from Jon McCracken after a cross was delivered from the left.
Despite a more than admirable display from the Canaries early on, Pompey took the lead on the half hour mark when Brown squeezed home a low free-kick inside the post.
Their lead was doubled shortly after when Curtis fired home from another free-kick.
There was a glorious chance for City to reduce the deficit shortly after the restart. A low Aidan Fitzpatrick cross evaded everyone in the area until an unmarked Zach Dronfield smashed towards goal – somehow substitute goalkeeper Craig MacGilivray managed to block.
A super move on 75 minutes almost brought that elusive goal. Reece McAlear sprayed a diagonal to find Tony Springett and his cross was met by Tom Dickson-Peters, however MacGilivray was there once again to save.
City continued to dominate the second-half and Josh Giurgi was played through with ten minutes to play, however MacGilivray once again produced an important intervention.
It ended in defeat for the young Canaries, but they could certainly be buoyed by their endeavours.
Norwich U23s: McCracken, Thomas (c) (Vaughan, 65), Omobamidele, Tomkinson, Lomas (Nizet, 46), Dronfield (Earley, 80), McAlear (Jackson, 80), Power (Hondermarck, 46), Dennis (Springett), Fitzpatrick (Giurgi, 62), Omotoye (Dickson-Peters, 70)
Subs not used: Rose (GK)
Venue: Behind-closed doors
Picture: Portsmouth FC / Max Swatton