Norwich City Under-18s were left frustrated after only taking a point against Leicester on Saturday afternoon.
Academy Manager Steve Weaver continued his coaching of the U18s, as Paul Williams is suffering illness.
The game started relatively quiet, with neither team really able to leave a mark on the other. Leicester seemed to be the livelier of the two sides, as they made early efforts on attack, leaving the young Canaries no choice but to defend the chances. Whilst City accomplished this well, it wasn’t the best way to start, as whilst defending there was no chance to score for themselves.
This early defending wasn’t something the City side weren’t used to, often in games they find themselves having to get a feel for the ball, the foundation of their play stemming from the back. This was proven once more, as from the 20-minute mark the Canaries started coming on nicely, finding themselves out of their own half and creating more and more to trouble the Foxes.
An early disaster struck in the 28th minute, when a penalty was given in Leicester’s favour. The call felt controversial, coming shortly after Sam Blair dived on the ball to keep it from danger. Confusion from those on and off the pitch resounded, as the referee claimed his decision came from an earlier Sean Stewart tackle.
Sidnei Tavares stepped up to the spot, nicely slotting it away as Blair dived the wrong way. The goal was a difficult one to take on the chin, but it had to be forgotten as play resumed.
And forgotten that goal was, with Tyrese Omotoye opening City’s account rapidly. The forward took the ball in his stride, slipping past the ‘keeper before tapping the ball into an open net, taking the scores back to level pegging nice and quickly.
The gates were well and truly open from this point onwards, with Leicester striking again just minutes after the second goal, making it the third goal in five minutes. The goal was textbook, as Kasey McAteer struck a squared ball first-time past Blair. Just when City thought they’d pulled it back, Leicester made sure to keep their lead.
The Canaries liked to make it hard to keep up, scoring once more before the end of the first-half. A routine set-piece from a corner was scrappily deflected out of the Foxes’ 18-yard box, seeing the ball fall to Reece McAlear. The midfielder took it on nicely, passing three or so players before tapping it in Tom Dickson-Peters direction, leaving the forward no better choice than to lace it. The ball hastily passed the Leicester ‘keeper once more, taking the scores back to 2-2 once more to end the first-half.
After a breather, the second-half resumed. The break was for nothing, as tensions shot up straight away. Luckily for the Canaries, the tensions were going their way. Zak Brown, a defender, became quite an expert in going forward when he took on four players successfully, getting the ball to the edge of the Foxes 18-yard box. The defender took a glance up before squaring it to Jon Rowe, who smashed it to the back of the net for an early advantage.
After a much-deserved quiet period, the game slowed ever so slightly, dropping a gear as the teams went back to feeling each other out, trying their best to find weak spots in the squads.
The Canaries were quick to work the Foxes out first yet again, after a fired effort rung off the crossbar. The ball came crashing down quickly to the head of Dickson-Peters, who tried to right the wrong, just to see it saved once more. It was a scrappy affair but was put to bed soon when the ball fell to Abu Kamara, who wasted no time in netting City yet another goal.
Two goals up, looking for another, it felt like a field day for the Canaries. Less than 20 minutes remained, and it seemed like an easy ride to the 90th minute to pick up much-needed three points. That, however, is when it all went wrong.
One coming in the 80th, the other in the 83rd, both goals were crushing. The first came from a lovely run by Kian Pennant, the young forward dribbled nicely into the Canaries box, smashing it into the far corner from a tight angle past Blair.
The second a rushed set piece, which had been troubling City all afternoon. The Canaries defended well, deflecting the ball out of danger. The result fell to McAteer, who took a distanced effort, heartbreakingly just escaping the gloves of Blair as Leicester scraped a point.
City tried their best to get the late goal once more, but all efforts meant nothing when the referee blew the whistle to round-off the game, sharing the points between the sides.
Norwich City U18s: Blair, Pitcher, Stewart, Tomkinson, Brown, Dronfield (c), Springett, McAlear, Omotoye (Kamara, 45), Dickson-Peters, Rowe (Duffy, 75)
Subs not used: Shipley, Rose, Shakepoke
Goals: Omotoye (30), Dickson-Peters (42), Rowe (50), Kamara (71)
Bookings: Rowe (52)
Leicester City U18s: Bosworth (c), Barrett, Aisthorpe, Godsmarkford (Yfeko, 66), Sams, Tavares, Maswanhise (Fitzhugh, 70), Loughlin, K. Pennant, McAteer, T. Pennant (Russ, 85)
Subs not used: Weeks, Flynn
Goals: Tavares (28), McAteer (33, 83), Pennant (80)
Bookings: Sams (39)
Referee: Mark Ames
Kick-off time: 12:00pm
Venue: Lotus Training Centre