Norwich City Under-21s guaranteed progression through to the knockout stages of the EFL Trophy after beating League Two side Newport County 5-0 on Tuesday night.
David Wright’s U21s saw three changes from the last EFL Trophy outing, first-team starlets Josh Martin and Bali Mumba replacing Josh Giurgi and Ethen Vaughan respectively for the trophy tie, whilst Daniel Barden replaced Jon McCracken.
The Canaries had the dream start in just two minutes when Martin set man-on-form Tyrese Omotoye through on goal behind the defensive line. The striker saw his first shot skied as the ‘keeper was called into action early, but made no mistake on the rebound as he coolly slot it into the bottom corner for the opener.
Just minutes later, Martin was once again the playmaker, this time setting Matthew Dennis through on goal. The summer signing rounded the ‘keeper and tucked his chance away for City’s second goal, only to have it ruled out for offside.
Newport weren’t without their chances in the first-half, capitalising on a ten-man Canaries side after Zach Dronfield was forced to the sideline for medical attention. Kevin Ellison fired wide as the striker approached Barden just shy of the 30th minute.
Continuing his strong presence on the field, Martin looked to turn from provider to scorer, beating two County players with fancy footwork before firing on goal, forcing Tom King to tip his shot out wide for a corner.
Attempting to level once more, the hosts found their second and last chance of the half. Saikou Janneh was the recipient of the opening but fired high and wide of Barden.
The second-half started in the exact same way the first had began, Omotoye finding the back of the net. A cross on the left-flank of the 18-yard box from Rob Nizet reached the striker at an extremely tight angle, the forward expertly flicking it past the ‘keeper at the near post to double City’s lead.
Relentless in their efforts to kill the game off, Reece McAlear then fired from distance ten minutes later, his shot saved well by King.
Having seemingly knocked the wind out of the County side, Dennis then went on a ruthless run through the opposition box, beating three players before firing just over the crossbar in the 59th minute.
Going for his second shot of the game, Martin then fired directly at the ‘keeper from a tight angle inside the box.
Newport’s first chance of the half came in the 65th minute, breaking from City’s press and hitting them on the counter. The young Canaries did excellently to track back into the box, forcing a lofted shot over the top to fire out of play.
Skipper Andrew Omobamidele then had what was possibly City’s closest chance of the second-half, heading the ball marginally wide of the top corner after catching a corner ball cleanly.
Becoming more end-to-end in the latter stages of the match, Janneh looked to make up for his earlier miss, catching a volley nicely from distance, unable to dip low enough as it landed on the roof of City’s netting.
Just minutes later, Omotoye completed his hat-trick. Picking the ball up from Martin on the edge of the box, the striker showed he can finish with both feet, curling his shot from the edge of the 18-yard box and into the top corner to give the Canaries a three goal cushion in the 75th minute.
As if three goals wasn’t enough, Dennis made it four just a minute later. Picking the ball up on the edge of the box and firing from distance, the forward emulated Omotoye’s third, curling it home into the bottom right corner.
Continuing the rampant scoring habit they’d found in the second-half, substitute Josh Giurgi then won a penalty after being brought down in the box on the stroke of the 83rd minute. Martin stepped up to the spot and converted with a cool composure, burying his shot into the bottom left corner expertly.
Unforgiving in their determination, even when five goals up with a clean sheet on the horizon, Mumba fired on goal in the 88th minute, his shot just off-target as City hunted the sixth of the night.
Unable to find the sixth, the Canaries were more than happy settling for give goals in what can only be described as an incredible win over senior League Two opposition, guaranteeing progression through to the knockout stages of the EFL Trophy.
Norwich City XI: Barden, Mumba, Omobamidele (c), Tomkinson, Nizet, Dronfield (Khumbeni, 39), McAlear, Martin, Omotoye, Dennis (Josh Giurgi, 78), Hondermarck (Rowe, 83)
Subs not used: Vaughan, McCracken, Springett, Warner
Goals: Omotoye (2, 48, 75) (Dennis, 78) (Giurgi, 83)
Bookings: Martin (66)
Newport County XI: King, Twamley, Webb, Ryan-Phillips, Woodiwiss, Baker, Bennett (Maher, 31), Willmott (Bright, 78), Janneh, Ellison, Amond (c) (Hillier, 66)
Subs not used: Dolan, Abrahams, Brain
Bookings: Woodiwiss (21)